Pensacola contractor Matt Banks was in debt to more creditors Wednesday after Escambia County ordered him to refund more customers’ money.
The bank, which is accusing a contractor of paying for a home remodel he never completed, has been the subject of complaints from dozens of homeowners in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, who are facing criminal charges of fraud and could face hefty fines totaling more than $1 million.
The amount rose after a Wednesday meeting when the Escambia Contractor Qualification Board ordered banks to pay six customers a total of $161,948.21 in refunds and another $86,350 in fines.
While banks continue to compile a refund list of customers, Escambia County Prosecutor Christy Hankins noted during the meeting that the qualifying panel does not have the authority to compel banks to repay customers.
Growing Recovery: Pensacola contractor Matt Banks faces $300,000 amid complaints
More money, more problems: Contractor Matt Banks is facing a new $540,000 restoration bill after nine more customer complaints
criminal cases: Prosecutor files first criminal complaint against Pensacola contractor Matt Banks
“Bankruptcy courts will make all decisions about what happens with reinstatement,” Hankins said. “We are under a suspension and cannot enforce it.”
The banks filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy on Aug. 9 before the case resumed under Chapter 11 on Aug. 11.
That same week, banks revoked their licenses in both Escambia and Santa Rosa for allegedly fraudulently failing to complete a home renovation after receiving more than 50% down payment. Since then, fines and bank reinstatements between Santa Rosa and Escambia counties have topped the seven-figure mark and continue to rise.
Further complaints against banks are expected to be received by the Competence Committee in the coming weeks.
Also, on August 10, the Pensacola Police Department issued a warrant for Banks’ arrest and he was arrested by officers from the Okalosa County Sheriff’s Office. He was originally charged with theft for allegedly failing to refund a customer, but the charge was changed to fraud under a Florida law covering funds received from contractors.
In late September, prosecutors filed charges against Banks.
The Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement has been investigating the banks for several weeks, and OALE officials said there were about 70 victims in the massive consumer protection investigation.
Benjamin Johnson at [email protected] or 850-435-8578. can be contacted at