SWFL contractor arrested after failed home build

Reporter: Peter Fleischer
Published: Updated:

A southwest Florida contractor has been arrested and now faces multiple charges, including theft.

WINK News detailed some of the complaints against Jeffrey Burch and his company, First Choice Home Builders, last April during an exclusive investigation. Now, Burch will have to answer for himself in court.

A 9-page affidavit from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office details the accusations Burch is facing from one customer.  He’s been charged with two felonies: one is a financial crime specific to contractors and the second is theft.

The project that got him in trouble started more than three years ago. Records show Burch agreed to build a single-family home on two lots in North Port back in September 2020. The client signed a letter of intent and provided Burch with a check.

But the construction process never got started. More than two and a half years later, in April 2023, documents show the North Port Police Department contacted the city after being approached by the client and their attorney.

WINK News spoke with several frustrated First Choice customers for a 2023 investigation

NPPD discovered Burch had never pulled any permits for work and only purchased one of the two lots he was supposed to build on. The client claims they’ve paid First Choice more than $87,000.

WINK News has reached out to Burch and First Choice to offer a chance for comment, but we have not heard back. Fleischer’s past reporting was specifically mentioned in this affidavit.

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