Tree Service Operator Charged with Price-Gouging

By: Jacksonville - AP
By: Jacksonville - AP

A Jacksonville tree service owner is charged with price-gouging in the wake of Hurricane Charley.

Attorney General Charlie Crist says Brian Tuten of Strong Arm Industries charged 10 times the going rate to cut up trees felled by the hurricane in Volusia County. He allegedly gave a $1,500 estimate to a resident for removing a damaged tree limb from her yard.

Tuten is charged with grand theft and insurance fraud. Crist says estimates from three other companies averaged about $155 for the same job.

Officials say Tuten actually wrote out two invoices, one with the $1,500 cost and one for $2,000 to give to an insurance company. The investigation began after the state got calls about Tuten's high prices.


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