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Saturday, March 11, 2023

City of Leesburg official helps 90-year-old ripped off by unscrupulous contractor

Tristan Sabatino
Tristan Sabatino

A City of Leesburg official provided valuable assistance to a 90-year-old resident ripped off by an apparently unscrupulous contractor.

Tristan Sabatino, 38, of Summerfield, who has been doing business as Sabatino Customs LLC, was arrested Tuesday.

A Leesburg police detective had obtained a warrant for Sabatino’s arrest after investigating a complaint from the 90 year-old man who had paid Sabatino $3,160 to repair a roof on an addition to his house and remove a tree. Sabatino cut down the tree, but left it in the man’s back yard where it blocked the back door.

A City of Leesburg Building Department official helped the man by contacting Sabatino several times about the work he had been paid to complete. She furnished several emails to the detective in which Sabatino acknowledged he had been paid for work he was supposed to have completed in September, including roof repair prior to Hurricane Ian. Ian’s heavy rains caused severe damage to the man’s house.

The building official was able to get some volunteers to cut through the tree so the man could use his back door.

The elderly man injured himself while attempting to repair the home and was hospitalized. The electricity on the home had to be cut off as the meter was attached to a portion of the home which would have to be torn down, so the elderly man was placed in a nursing home.

While he was in the nursing home, the volunteers removed part of a dilapidated addition at the home, cleaned the house and yard of debris and restored the electrical service.

The detective discovered that Sabatino’s company had been dissolved while he was continuing to receive checks from the victim.

Sabatino was charged with exploitation of the elderly (less that $10,000) and theft from a person older than 65 between $300 to $10,000.

Sabatino was being held at the Lake County Jail on $4,000 bond.

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