A Key West man claimed he was a contractor. One couple took his word for it, cops say

A Key West man was jailed after police said he swindled a Marathon couple out of $14,000 by pretending to be a contractor looking for roof work.

Mark O. Morales, 54, was arrested Wednesday on felony charges of grand theft and working as a contractor without a valid license.

He was released from jail within one hour after posting a $35,000 bond.

The Marathon couple found Morales, who claimed to be an employee of “Key West Roofing,” on a Facebook page called Marathon Yard Sale. They hired him in September to work on their roof and gave him a $14,000 deposit. The total estimate was $27,849.

Morales asked that the $14,000 check be made out to “Julie Moore,” but he later returned and asked for a new check made out to him instead, police said.

About three weeks later, Morales came and stripped the entire roof but has done nothing since, said investigators for the Monroe Sheriff’s Office.

Morales has never been a licensed contractor in Florida, according to the arrest report.

The investigation into Morales remains ongoing, said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Adam Linhardt. Any Keys residents who may dealt with Morales may contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-292-7000.