Arrest Made in Local Restaurant Scam

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A man is in custody after scamming more than 10 Dothan restaurants.

The arrest comes after the Dothan Fire Marshal's Office held a sting at one local business.

A local business helped to lure the man to its restaurant to pick up a check, and that's when police stepped in to make the arrest.

Chief Danny Appling with the Dothan Fire Marshal’s Office, said, "We've had a case with a company coming to town and not certified to do the work. This causes a danger for businesses and residents."

The incidents have been going on for five years and the fire marshal's office wants to make sure other illegal businesses understand they will be prosecuted.

"We've taken legal measure and we’re encouraging all businesses to call if they want to know if a business is certified," Appling added.

Every one of the businesses that were targeted paid almost $200 dollars per visit thinking the inspections were legitimate and necessary.

Asst. Fire Marshal Garrett with the Dothan Fire Marshal's Office, said, "The main businesses being targeted are Chinese and Mexican because they speak little English and don't know what's going on."

The chief fire marshal says this is not the first time a non-licensed business has posed as a legitimate business to swindle money out of restaurant owners.

They are encouraging all businesses to verify through the fire marshal's office that inspectors are licensed.

The state fire marshal's office believes this non-licensed business has been operating around the state of Alabama for years.

They are now checking with other cities to see if more charges can be brought against the owner. Enough charges could result in the owner being sentenced to federal prison.

If you think this non-licensed inspector has targeted your business you can contact the Dothan Fire Marshal's Office at 615-4522.

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