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Polk County sheriff warns homeowners about fraudulent contractors

The recent arrest of a Polk County couple posing as contractors had the sheriff warning his community about people that could scam them.

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A Polk County couple was arrested in January after investigators say they posed as licensed contractors and stole thousands from people.

Richard Lineback and Adena Lineback face charges of grand theft and contracting without a license. The couple is accused of doing unlicensed home renovations. 

Credit: Polk County Sheriff's Office

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said they are also investigating the couple. 

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said what makes this case criminal and not civil is the fact the Linebacks said they were licensed and showed a license number to clients, when they are actually unlicensed.

"First and foremost, if you’re going to have any work done make sure you have a licensed contractor and the reason for that is because you can run into someone like this," Judd said. 

Former clients explained the couple stole tens of thousands from them. 

One woman hired Lineback Home Services to remodel most of her house. 

"They took us for $45,700," a former client in Plant City, Jessica Andrews, said. 

Another family explained they are in debt after hiring Lineback Home Services to renovate their master bathroom. 

"We actually ended up having to pull a loan," a former client in Lakeland, Ruthie Kimmons, said.

Another former client of theirs said she is financial hurting after hiring the Linebacks as well. 

"When I spent $28,000 with you, I expect the work to be professional," Mackenzie Jones from Lakeland said. 

These three women told 10 Tampa Bay the Lineback’s said their company had the correct licensing to do home renovations.

"They said they had a contractor’s license for mold remediation but not for electrical work or plumbing or traditional work," Judd explained. 

Former clients said that mold remediator license was on the back of the company's truck.

"Whenever they tell you they are licensed and show you documents they are licensed and they are not, that makes it a criminal event," Judd said.

10 Tampa Bay Reporter Shannon Clowe took the license number that was on the company truck and found out the mold remediator license belongs to a family member of the Linebacks.

Richard and Adena Lineback don’t have a contractor license. Now knowing that, former clients said it makes sense why a lot of the work done was incorrect. 

"We have water that stands in our shower because when he did the work he didn’t do it correctly," Kimmons said. 

Jones explained she experienced a lot of plumbing issues as well. 

"The kitchen flooded twice," Jones said.

Judd emphasized people need to verify everything about a contractor before signing anything. 

"The key to it is get everything in writing," Judd said.

He also urged everyone to go online and verify the license number to see who it belongs to.

Also, ask the contractors about permits they are pulling to verify they have the correct license to do so legally. 

"To the Linebacks and people like them, don’t violate the law," Judd said. 

Richard and Adena Lineback will be in court in May.

10 Tampa Bay reached out to the Linebacks for comment and I haven’t heard back.

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