The city of Riviera Beach is warning residents about a South Florida company now under investigation as a possible business contractor fraud.
The city said on Thursday it received several complaints that a company called, “Florida Upgrades,” also known as “Florida State Upgrades” has been reaching out to city residents.
“It’s very disturbing that people potentially are being taken advantage of,” Mayor Gregg Weiss tells CBS12’s Luli Ortiz. (WPEC)
The company, according to the city, is telling residents the hurricane safety standards have changed in the county and that homeowners may be eligible to get their roof and windows replaced for free or at a limited cost.
Palm Beach County Mayor Gregg Weiss voiced his concerns due to the wording on the notice, it states: ‘the county approved a program put in place to protect South Florida Homeowners after the devastation that Hurricane Ian caused.’
“It’s very disturbing that people potentially are being taken advantage of,” Mayor Gregg Weiss tells CBS12 News.
Florida State Upgrades, Inc. is an active business, according to Florida Division of Corporations – Sunbiz.org.
“We’re a full-service home improvement company that specializes with roofing windows and doors,” Florida State Upgrades Co-Owner Matt Carson tells CBS12 News by phone. “The reason that we give out the homeowner’s notices is because a lot of people are unaware of what’s happening with the home insurance crisis that’s going on in Florida.”
Carson adds, “on the homeowner’s notice, we never at any point say this is a FREE, or government grant program.”
CBS12 News informed Carson his company is now being investigated.
“I’m not surprised. It is a little bit intense,” he responded regarding the flyer.
According to Carson, the company’s mission is to education homeowners about Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, home improvement loan program.
“As the rise in cost of everything go up, for roofing and windows especially, people can’t afford to do the stuff on their own. So, there is a program that’s out there. It’s called the PACE program,” explained Carson. “In fact, we really make it clear, once we speak to homeowners, that is not a free program.”
The PACE program is meant to help people finance upgrade and its paid with the homeowner’s property tax bill, and according to Mayor Weiss, the county has strict protocols on how its utilized.
“They’re probably a lead generation company. Once they get a lead, then take it to a contractor and get paid by the contractor for that,” mayor Weiss said. “It’s something that in our PACE ordinance, that we have specifically identified as a violation and we have a criminal penalty assigned with it.”
The City Administration and the Riviera Beach Police Department have been made aware of the situation and The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is investigating the legitimacy of the company.
Riviera Beach police said if the company reaches out to you, call 561- 845-4123.