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Contractor arrested for Fraud, Grand Theft

On Thursday, July 6, 2023, Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Property Crimes Detective Nicholas Austin arrested James Michael Johns (W/M, DOB: 03/09/1976) for two counts of Contractor Fraud and two counts of Grand Theft.

On March 6, 2023, Deputy Linsey Mendoza responded to a report of contractor fraud at a home in the 10000 block of SW 87th Terrace, in Ocala. The victims advised they signed a contract in December 2022 with Johns’ company, Freaky Fast Construction, for a new roof. Johns required that the victims provide a $3,000 deposit for the job and claimed it would begin in January 2023. When work did not begin on schedule, the victims tried to contact Johns multiple times without success. He eventually responded and claimed he was in the hospital. Johns told the victims that he would refund their money, but he never did.

On April 13, 2023, Deputy Mendoza responded to a similar call for service in the 9800 block of SW 101st Place. The victims in that case stated they entered into a contract with Freaky Fast Construction in October 2022, after which Johns required a $3,500 deposit. Johns told the victims that the job would be completed in December 2022, but the work was never started. Johns gave a similar excuse for the lapse in time and advised the victims he would refund their deposit. However, after sending several certified letters demanding a refund or for the work to begin, the victims received neither and had no further contact with Johns.

Through his investigation, Detective Austin confirmed that James Johns was the owner of Freaky Fast Construction and that he received payments from the victims in each case. Detective Austin conducted an interview with Johns, during which he admitted to entering into contracts with the victims and receiving the deposit payments. Johns claimed he purchased materials, but had no explanation for where they were. He also stated he never had an injury that would prevent him from completing the jobs. Detective Austin also determined that Johns was operating his business without a licensed contractor.

Johns was arrested and transported to the Marion County Jail, where he remains.

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