Customer of Jacksonville contractor angry, calling plea deal a ‘slap on the wrist’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A former Jacksonville contractor at the center of a three-year News4Jax I-TEAM investigation – who at one time faced 20 felony charges of forgery, fraud, and grand theft — has now been sentenced on a single misdemeanor charge after reaching a plea deal.

Wyatt Green appeared in person in court Monday morning following his guilty plea last week to the misdemeanor charge of false representation as a licensed contractor. As part of his deal, Green was sentenced to one day in jail with credit for time served, resulting in no additional jail time. He had spent a total of 11 hours in jail following his 2019 arrests in this case. Also as part of the agreement, the 42-year-old brought $50,000 in restitution to his sentencing hearing, and that money will be split among five of his former customers.

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But one of those five calls it a slap on the wrist.

“Very unhappy with how the court system handled it,” said former customer Letticia Lee. “I know being in jail wouldn’t get us any funds or anything, but this man got a slap on the wrist and it’s like, they are saying it’s ok to steal from people, it’s OK.”

The I-TEAM first spoke with Lee in 2019. She says Green’s $10,000 payment to her won’t cover her expenses. She says she’s disappointed that Green isn’t facing more of a punishment.

Following the sentencing, Green gave a prepared statement to the I-TEAM.

“For almost three years, this case had been kicked from prosecutor to prosecutor and not one would listen, not one took the time to understand the law and what really happened here,” Green said.

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After his arrest in April 2019, Green told us, “I fully intend to make it right. And any other wrongdoings that I have done, I take full responsibility for.”

Green’s attorney maintains her client is innocent.

“It’s not a crime, what happened here is not a crime,” said attorney Ruth Ann Hepler.

Green said he sold his now-defunct business Storm Restoration Specialists, or Storm RS, and his contracts to another roofing company. Green said that company is on the hook for completing the jobs he was originally hired to do.

Former customer Lori Cooper is not one of the five receiving restitution from Green, but said she is out $8,000 and her roof has not been completed. She said Green’s company, Storm RS, cashed her insurance check right around the same time Green sold it, and she turned over all of her documentation to investigators.

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“I have a 3-inch binder of stuff. I gave them a mountain of information. My case alone should have locked him up, and then you’ve got all these others. I’ll never understand it,” Cooper said.

She blamed the fact that the case kept getting handed from one prosecutor to another.

“I got the impression every time a new prosecutor was assigned to the case that they became less familiar of what occurred. I just don’t’ think they recognized the gravity of the case,” said Cooper.

She said she even wrote State Attorney Melissa Nelson four times, asking her to reassign the case to a prosecutor with more knowledge about the case, but Cooper said Nelson didn’t respond.

In an email from the state attorney’s office to customers who had complained, prosecutors explained why they could not pursue felony charges, writing in part:

“Ultimately this is not an easy decision. Every customer who didn’t get their roof done is a victim in some sense. Every customer deserves to have their money back and roof fixed. It is a huge let down to have a case pending for this many years and end up at this resolution; but ultimately, we must follow the law and the facts. Both of which preclude us from moving forward criminally with the evidence we have.”

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Green is now living in Alabama, and Florida corporation records show he is now involved in the operations of Florida Premier Roofing.

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