NBC 6 Responds Catches Up With Unlicensed Contractor After Families Lose Thousands

Following an NBC 6 Responds investigation, an unlicensed contractor has pleaded guilty in court.

Daniel Darby pleaded guilty to two counts of contracting without registration or certification in Palm Beach County Criminal Court.

Last year, NBC 6 Responds spoke with two South Florida homeowners who say they lost thousands of dollars after signing contracts with Darby.

Both Robert Desisto and Lilly Krause say they connected with Darby on the Home Advisor website.

The company says it provides a pre-screening process that connects consumers with "service professional businesses" that "carry any applicable state-level trade licensing."

Desisto told us he gave Darby $2,962 but he never showed back up to do the home renovation project.

Krause said she paid him $8,350. She said he did half of the job but never returned to finish it.

Our investigation revealed the State of Florida revoked Darby's contractor license in 2016.

At the time, Home Advisor told us he "provided an invalid license that mistakenly got through our screening" and that the company has "created further safeguards internally around license verification."

After being contacted by NBC 6 Responds, the company reimbursed both Desisto and Krause the money they paid.

At the time, we weren't able to find or contact Darby about the homeowner's complaints.

But he did show up to court to plead guilty to the charges he faced.

When we asked Darby if he was operating without a license he said he was not.

Desisto was in court when Darby faced the judge.

"Today justice was served," Desisto said. "They finally caught him."

He now has advice for other homeowners hiring a contractor.

"I'd say really check out who you are dealing with because there are a lot of people, especially in Florida, trying to take advantage of you," Desisto said.

Darby was sentenced to one year of probation and was ordered to pay back money to Desisto and another family who had paid money. As of now, there is no word on how the court will handle that since Desisto already received reimbursement from Home Advisor.

Another requirement of Darby's probation is to prove to the court he is working for a licensed company and under licensed individuals.

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