SPRING HILL — Check by check, the bill for air-conditioning repairs grew to a staggering sum.
Over 18 months, investigators say, a Spring Hill woman and her elderly mother paid Joshua Ryan Green nearly $80,000 for repairs, yet the woman's house remained hot. In comparison, the woman's entire property on Horizon Drive, including her four-bedroom home built in 1980, is worth $94,943, county property records show.
"The mom used money she'd set aside for her funeral to help her daughter out," said Hernando sheriff's Detective William Horvath, who investigated the case.
Green of Spring Hill turned himself in on Sept. 9 after he found out he was wanted on a warrant for one count of organized scheme to defraud. He remains in the Hernando County Detention Center in lieu of $100,000 bail and has a status hearing today in Hernando Circuit Court.
The amount Green took in the alleged scheme bumps the charge to a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Horvath's report gives this account:
The woman first met Green when he worked for Crystal Air Corp. of Spring Hill. Then he offered to do work for the woman on the side so she wouldn't have to pay for a service call.
Between December 2011 and May of this year, the woman wrote Green 81 checks totaling $79,495.00. The checks ranged from a couple of hundred dollars to $5,200. The last one was for $900 to add freon to the system. Green asked the woman to make the checks out to cash.
Crystal Air owner George Haynes told Horvath that Green worked for him for about five years before he was terminated in July 2012. Haynes said he made his last legitimate service call to the woman's house in April 2011.
Haynes said Green lived with Haynes' son for a while but was asked to leave in 2011 because he had a drug problem.
Horvath subpoenaed bank records and surveillance video that showed Green cashed the checks.
After Green's arrest, a Brooksville woman told investigators she paid him $12,762 for work done on nine service visits between July 8 and Aug. 30. The woman said she has known Green since he was a boy and trusted him when he offered to check her air-conditioning unit. She had to pay another company $5,000 to fix the damage Green caused. That case could result in another charge.
In both cases, a technician told Horvath the duct work was damaged or shoddily done.
"Their air-conditioning unit was running, but it was just cooling off the attic," Horvath said.
State records show Green has one prior arrest in Florida — a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge that was later dropped.
News researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Tony Marrero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1431. Follow @tmarrerotimes on Twitter.