Action 9 confronts contractor with lengthy criminal history

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Action 9 investigates a contractor whose records show has been cheating consumers for 30 years.

His most recent victims claim unless something is done, they won't be the last.

Action 9's Todd Ulrich confronted the man who kept changing company names but not the way he did business.

Every new window in Steve Moore’s Ormond Beach home had to be ripped out and replaced. He claims the contractor fiasco cost him $10,000.

“You got to be kidding me.  This can't be real.  This can't be happening,” said Moore.

A mile from that house, another homeowner claims that same contractor took him for nearly $3,000 for a disastrous paint job.

“You sue him, he changes his name and nobody can stop him,” said the homeowner who wanted to remain anonymous.

The contractor they’re talking about is Larry Deaton, who owns A-One Classic Painting and LD Painting in Ormond Beach.

Ulrich confronted Deaton after finding several recent complaints against his company.

“Todd Ulrich from Channel 9. Can I ask you some questions?” said Ulrich.

“No," said Deaton.

“I've got consumers who say you took money but didn't do the job?” said Ulrich.

“Talk to my lawyer,” answered Deaton.

“They say you botched jobs,” said Ulrich. 

“Who are they?” asked Deaton.

Deaton has been caught doing jobs without a state license, like the job at Moore's home.

“Has he done unlicensed work at your home?” asked Ulrich.

 “Of course, yes. Over and over and over again," Moore said.

Deaton is currently serving probation for unlicensed contracting just six months ago.

And that's just the start; Deaton's criminal history covers nearly 30 years. Most of the arrests, guilty pleas, convictions and sentences involved consumers who felt cheated.

In 1986, south Florida investigators charged Deaton and others with running a $15 million roofing scheme targeting victims statewide. He pleaded guilty, served probation and then moved into Brevard and Volusia counties in the late 90s.

The latest victims can't understand how it keeps happening.

“This guy really has a license to steal,” said one of his past customers.

“It's been about 30 years, and you have all these complaints,” said Ulrich.  

Deaton's company only has an occupational license, not any kind of contractor’s license.

Deaton promised Action 9 both customers would be paid back, but that has not happened.