Originally published at WFLA |
PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – One of the key defendants in a massive roofing scam uncovered by an 8 On Your Side investigation pleaded guilty in a Pinellas courtroom to organized fraud Friday morning.
Circuit Judge Nancy Moate Ley ordered Hillsborough resident Stacy Dunko, 42, to repay nearly 100 victims across Tampa Bay area $631,000 and to pay investigative and prosecution costs amounting to $8500 for her role in the NBRC Construction scheme that ripped off homeowners. Dunko kept business records in her name and received paychecks as cover for her husband who was trying to disguise his involvement.
NBRC obtained an “assignment of benefits” then cashed insurance checks for storm damage and either failed to do the work or failed to pay subcontractors who then placed liens on victims’ homes. Dunko’s husband Carlton was the mastermind of the operation and was sentenced last year to two years in prison along with his partner Frank Martin Pureber after their guilty pleas.
They had recruited bank tellers as part of their operation to make it easier to illegally cash homeowners’ insurance checks.
In 2013, 8 On Your Side investigation revealed that Dunko and Pureber previously ran another company, American Shingle that ripped off homeowners in 11 other states in the same kind of insurance scam they later pulled in Florida. That scheme reportedly raised $65 million before it fell apart and prompted Dunko and Pureber to set up shop with a new company in Florida.
Our investigation and broadcast reports alerted Florida’s Department of Insurance Fraud where detectives aggressively pursued criminal charges and eventually arrested Carlton Dunko and Frank Martin Pureber in Connecticut where they were running the third version of their roofing scheme. Both men still face prosecution in Missouri and Connecticut.
After pleading guilty in court Friday Stacy Dunko declined to apologize or express any remorse to the victims. She wouldn’t comment to 8 On Your Side other than to say she plans to write a book about the case.
Along with the restitution, the judge ordered Dunko to serve 10 years probation and pay back victims a minimum of $100 a month. At that rate, it would take her almost 526 years to pay back the money she, her husband and others who ran the NBRC Construction scam stole from unsuspecting homeowners who thought they were getting a “free” roof through insurance coverage.
Dunko faces up to 30 years in prison if she violates her probation. She is prohibited from getting involved in the roofing or restoration business again and cannot travel outside of Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pinellas County without permission.