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Report: Construction Fraud Case Highlights Disturbing Trend in Florida


According to a report from Action News Jax, a luxury home builder with an otherwise reputable track record is facing more than a dozen complaints from residential customers. Prosecutors contend that the Pineapple Corporation—and its owner, Spencer Calvert—improperly took in millions from customers. Within this article, our Miami FDUTPA lawyer discusses the report—and the law—in more detail.

The Allegations: Home Builder Accepted Funds, Never Completed Projects 

On February 29th, 2024, Spencer Calvert—owner of Pineapple Corporation, a home building company in Florida—was arrested for embezzling over $15 million from clients. The clients in this case were residential homeowners/homebuyers. Most of the clients were seeking to build new homes from the ground up. According to the allegations, Pineapple Corporation took in millions in funds from clients between 2019 and 2023. Mr. Calvert accepted deposits for home constructions in Nocatee’s Vista neighborhood. Nocatee is a fast-growing community in St. Johns County, just outside of Jacksonville. However, these projects were abandoned and the homes were left unfinished. Nearly two dozen civil lawsuits were filed against the company and its owner.

A Warning From Florida Officials: Do Homework On Contractors 

Following the Pineapple Corporation fraud allegations, Florida officials urge residents to thoroughly vet contractors before hiring them. To safeguard against fraud and ensure project completion, they recommend that all residential homeowners/homebuyers do their “homework.” Here are four tips:

  • Verify the contractor’s license and insurance.
  • Read reviews and check references;
  • Get multiple bids for comparison; and
  • Insist on a detailed contract.

 Finally, Florida officials also recommend that consumers be cautious about “pre-paying” for all of a contractor’s services. In the Pineapple Corporation construction fraud case, the company solicited pre-payment from clients before eventually abandoning projects.

 Consumers Can Bring an FDUPTA Claim Against a Contractor 

In Florida, consumers who have been wronged by contractors may seek recourse through the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA). It is a legal avenue that allows individuals to file claims against contractors who have engaged in deceptive, unfair, or fraudulent practices. The law contains a provision that is known as a private right of action—as such, any person can file a lawsuit on their own to remedy unethical business practices. Through an FDUTPA claim, a plaintiff—including a consumer—may be entitled to recover compensation for their full value of their actual losses.

Note: An FDUTPA claim may not be the only cause of action that a residential property owner or a commercial property owner has against a contractor. An attorney can help you explore every option to get compensation for your damages.

 Set Up a Fully Private Case Review With an FDUTPA Lawyer in Florida

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida deceptive and unfair trade practices attorneys are skilled and sophisticated advocates for clients. If you have any questions about your rights or your options, we are here as a legal resource. Contact our law firm now to set up a completely confidential case evaluation. With an office in Miami and an office in West Palm Beach, we take on FDUTPA cases throughout Florida.



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