Florida man swindles $8K from couple after promising construction work in handwritten contract: affidavit

A Florida man is accused of swindling a couple out of thousands of dollars by falsely committing to concrete construction work in a handwritten contract, according to an affidavit. 

On Monday, Marion County deputies arrested Anthony Silvestris, 33, of Mount Dora, on a warrant for fraud and grand theft charges. 

The charges stem from an incident in May 2023 when he allegedly took $8,200 as an upfront deposit from a couple who hired him to pour a 2,400-square-foot concrete slab for their garage but never started or completed the work.

According to the arrest report, Ryan Deathrage and his wife sent a text message to Concrete Contractors of Ocala in May 2023 inquiring about a home improvement project they wanted to complete. A representative referred them to a subcontractor, later identified as Silvestris.

The report said he reportedly visited their property days later for an on-site visit and then emailed them an estimate for the project.


Silverstris told the couple he could start the job on May 18 or May 19, 2023, depending on permits, and requested they pay the $8,200 deposit upfront for the cost of materials. He requested the money via Zelle, but the couple refused and, instead, opted to pay via a cashier's check, the report stated.

Deputies said that on May 15, 2023, Silverstris came to the couple's home and wrote out a handwritten contract, which he signed, before leaving with the cashier's check made out in his name. He allegedly cashed the check that same day.

For nearly a month, the couple contacted Silverstris for an update on the project. He allegedly told them on different occasions that he was either waiting to hear back on the permits or had equipment issues. At one point, he mentioned that "his wife had suddenly passed away overnight," the affidavit stated. 


The couple contacted Marion County officials and learned a permit had never been filed for their address in reference to the concrete job.

"You put your trust into not only a company that says they work with licensed contractors, but someone that's coming to your house to do a job, and they just up and ghost you. And that that money is that's a lot of money to lose," Deathrage said.

On June 14, 2023, the husband reached out to the representative who referred Silverstris, stating he could not get in contact with him and that he "believed the suspect took his money and ran," the report stated. She told them she also could not reach him. The representative gave the husband information regarding Silverstris' articles of incorporation letters, IRS tax employee ID numbers, and the address the business had on file for him.

The husband then obtained legal assistance and a demand letter was sent in certified mail on July 14, 2023, to Silverstris, but the victim's attorney said they did not receive a response after 30 days. Law enforcement tried to find him at his address but was told he no longer lived there.

On Monday, law enforcement found Silverstris and arrested him. A judge ordered him held on a $10,000 bond.

"You feel violated," Deathrage said.

Silverstris' next court date is scheduled for June 11.