Charges of contractor fraud are piling up for Keys couple

Monroe County Sheriff's Office

A couple already charged with contractor fraud in the Florida Keys have ripped off at least one more homeowner, state prosecutors said Wednesday.

Mark O. Morales, 54, who has been racking up contractor fraud arrests since July 2018, and Julie Moore, 58, were arrested Jan. 14 on several charges related to three separate cases.

On Jan. 18, both Morales and Moore were charged by the Monroe County State Attorney’s Office with more allegations related to contractor fraud.

On Wednesday, Morales and Moore were locked up at the Stock Island Detention Center. His total bond is $140,000 and hers is $175,000.

A Key West woman told a state investigator she hired Morales on April 14, 2018, to fix her roof. The couple billed themselves as part of a company called Affordable Roofing.

They signed a deal for $16,550 to repair the roof and on April 21, 2018, the woman gave Moore an $8,250 check as a deposit. But months went by without any repairs, although $800 worth of roofing materials were dropped off at the woman’s house on Trinity Drive.

On Sept. 19, 2018, Morales went to the woman’s house and picked up another $1,500 to get a city building permit for the work. But the Key West Building Department never issued a permit and Moore and Morales are not licensed to contract by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, state investigators said.

Overall, the victim paid Moore and Morales $9,750 for work that was never done.

Gov. Rick Scott declared a statewide state of emergency on Sept. 4, 2017, days ahead of Hurricane Irma, which struck the Florida Keys on Sept. 10, 2017, as a Category 4 storm. The state of emergency was still in effect when Moore’s and Morales’ alleged crimes occurred.

Gwen Filosa covers Key West and the Lower Florida Keys for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald and lives in Key West. She was part of the staff at the New Orleans Times-Picayune that in 2005 won two Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of Hurricane Katrina. She graduated from Indiana University.