ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A former Orange County permit analyst is out of jail on bond, accused of impersonating a building inspector. Nelson Ramirez, 49, is accused of impersonating a building inspector and receiving unlawful compensation.
Investigators say back in April, he went to the Super Deal Dollar Store and told the owners that they owed $300 for an inspection. The bill was written in Chinese. It said $300 in cash was due. The payment was caught on surveillance, but according to an Orange County spokesperson, there is no charge for inspections and the county doesn't deal in cash.
The county confirmed that Ramirez worked in the Building Department as a permit analyst since 2003. But that all changed, when the owners of the business came to this counter for a receipt of the $300 payment, that's when administrators realized something was wrong.
The county released this statement saying in part that: "It was reported on April 7, 2016 that he extorted money from a local business owner over a premise of a false collection fee. Once the county learned of this accusation, Ramirez was immediately relieved of his duties."
Neighbors say he kept to himself. A woman named Ingrid says, "He never talked he always looked angry as a matter of fact. I saw his car parked about a week now and was wondering why the car hadn't moved, so I thought something was wrong."
According to authorities, Ramirez resigned on April 27, before a disciplinary hearing. The county had intended to refund the money, however Ramirez returned it to the business owners.
The county says they provided investigators with 6 months of permits processed by Nelson, so they can reach out to each customer and see if there was any other suspicious activity.
Neighbor Evelyn Santiago says, "He should be on the news, he should be everywhere, because we need to be aware of people like that around us."
Nelson Ramirez is the son of the Osceola County Clerk of Court, Armando Ramirez. We asked Armando for an interview, but he didn't get back to us before this story was published.