The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Lake Wales contractor on fraud and theft charges after he was paid $23,500 up-front last year for work on a Davenport residence, then never began the work.
After a warrant was obtained for his arrest, 45-year-old Don “Stephen” Wildmon turned himself in at the PCSO Sheriff’s Processing Center in Winter Haven, and was charged with Obtaining by Fraud (F2) and Grand Theft (F2).
He then bailed out of jail on two $5,000 bonds.
“Stephen Wildmon made no effort to do the work he was hired to do. The investigation showed that he didn’t even apply for a building permit until June of 2021, but didn’t get it because he didn’t pay for it. He did no work, and made no effort to repay the victim. Thoroughly research anyone you plan to hire, it could save you big headaches and big money,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
The victim first contacted Wildmon through his business Wildmon Construction, in January of 2021. The victim wanted an addition to his Davenport residence, and a contract for the work was signed on February 12, 2021. At that time, the victim paid Wildmon a down payment of $23,500, which was half of the project’s value.
The agreement called for work to begin in April of 2021 and be completed within 90 days.
The victim contacted the PCSO in October of 2021 after the job was months overdue, and no work had been started.
After being contacted by a PCSO detective, Wildmon said that he would repay the money, which satisfied the victim, and the investigation ceased. By February 9, 2022, the victim still hadn’t received any money from Wildmon, so he contacted the PCSO again and renewed the investigation.