North Port builder arrested for alleged fraud and misappropriation of funds

Writer: Derrick Shaw
James Michael Willis (Photo provided by NPPD)

A North Port builder was arrested Thursday and faces multiple felony charges.

The North Port Police Department said James Michael Willis, owner of Elk Ridge Custom Homes of North Port, collected at least $130,000 in payments from customers but did little to no work for them.

Willis, 52, was investigated for months, NPPD said, for scheming to defraud and misappropriating construction funds. At least 13 victims are reported, but the agency said there may be more.

NPPD said that in some cases, Willis would collect funds, pull permits and do little to no work. In other cases, he would collect funds, never apply for the correct permits and do no work.

Elk Ridge Custom Homes filed for bankruptcy in December 2019, but continued to collect large down payments in the months leading up to filing, according to police.

If you believe you may be a victim of Willis, contact the North Port Police Department at 941-429-7300.

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