Businesses across the country continue to deal with the impacts of what prosecutors said was a complex fraud scheme based in DeLand.
The chief suspect killed himself, and the case against him is closed, but the headaches continue for business owners.
“Where can an obituary be found? I’m going to have to submit all the documentation I can find to have our invoices from one of his so-called ‘companies’ voided with our accountant,” one business owner wrote in response to a The Beacon article.
James E. Parrish, 48, owned and operated CWI Maintenance Inc. at 305 E. New York Ave. He was facing charges of felony racketeering, and died after shooting himself in the head as deputies from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office attempted to serve the warrant Sept. 10, 2022.
Prosecutors said Parrish’s business was the center of a complicated scheme involving forged insurance documents and the use of dead people’s Social Security information to operate a network of shell maintenance companies.
In 2021, an investigation of the State of Florida Bureau of Insurance Fraud uncovered dozens of fraudulent certificates of liability insurance issued by 18 shell companies owned by Parrish.
Prosecutors allege that from 2011 to 2020, Parrish used those uninsured companies to bid on contracts for maintenance work at department stores nationwide, but then subcontracted the work to other companies and handymen.
According to a financial analysis by the state Bureau of Insurance Fraud, Parrish profited more than $6 million over a nine-year period.
While the case was winding its way to trial, Parrish allegedly forged the signature of Judge Jay Cohen of the 5th District Court of Appeal on a bogus court document, dated March 2, 2022, stating that Parrish had been found not guilty of racketeering.
Parrish then allegedly used the forged document to claim to a Florida company, Vista Point Services, that his criminal charges had been cleared, in order to sell them what he said were “valuable contracts with Walmart to provide services for maintenance and improvements to Walmart stores throughout the United States,” according to a Sept. 2 charging affidavit.
The charging affidavit notes that the Walmart documents provided by Parrish were fictitious.
Parrish’s bond was revoked, and a warrant was issued. However, according to a Sept. 10 incident report by the Sheriff’s Office, when officers arrived at Parrish’s north DeLand home around 10 a.m. that day, Parrish fled into a wooded area. Confronted by officers, “James put a pistol under his chin and immediately fired a round,” according to the report. He was pronounced dead at 10:50 a.m.
The racketeering case against Parrish has been closed, due to his death.
The list of companies listed as victims in the 2021 fraud case are:
ZZZ Maintenance; VF Outlet Inc.; Global Facility Management & Construction Inc.; Lane Valente Industries Inc.; DWM Inc.; Craig Realty Group-Hillsboro LLC; National Maintenance & Build Out Company; and Acline Consulting Inc. (Payroll Company).
The list of companies owned and operated by Parrish are:
Claude Walker Inc.; CWI Maintenance; Parrish Properties LLC; Brutis Construction Inc.; Ed Contracting Inc.; Steelcity Repairs Inc.; Backwoods Repairs Inc.; Citywide Repairs Inc.; South Repairs Inc.; TX Construction Inc.; Coal Construction Inc.; Midwest Contracting Inc.; Hillside Contracting, Inc.; Mountainview Construction Inc.; Downsouth Contracting Inc.; Stormfront Construction Inc.; G&M Maintenance Inc.; and MJP Maintenance Inc.
The full report is viewable here:
Note: The Beacon has made redactions to the incident report to remove names and identifying information of juveniles.