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‘Fugitive Friday’ suspect turns self in after ordering CCSO remove FB post, threatening legal action

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — A local contractor is facing a criminal charge, he’s accused of stealing money by not completing projects he was hired for.

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The agency blasted a picture of Brandon Braun to the public, it’s something Sheriff Michelle Cook said is something they do weekly.

“We had several people come forward, complaining Mr. Braun would agree to do work for them, he would take their money and there was no effort or attempt to do the work at all,” she said.

The post came with some pushback, but mainly from Braun himself.

A viewer sent Action News Jax a screenshot of a deleted comment, where Braun said, “This is your notice to cease and desist. Remove this post. A defamation lawsuit will follow.

Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook responded to him saying, “Please turn yourself in” citing the specific judge.

On April 1, he did.

“Sometimes there’s a fine line between civil and criminal, but because of Mr. Braun’s pattern of collecting money, but not engaging in any attempt to complete the work, we were able to designate it as more criminal activity,” Cook said.

Action News Jax called Braun and told him we were recording the phone call as we asked for a comment about his arrest.

“The charges are frivolous, I’m not happy with the way the Sheriff’s department handled the situation,” he said. “Nobody made any attempt to get in touch with me in advance before putting my face on social media.”

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Sheriff Cook said otherwise.

“I’m very confident Mr. Braun not only knew he was scamming people out of money but that he was wanted,” she said.

Braun said he did plan on paying back customers when he could.

“The charges against me, they’re false. The charge of larceny implies intent, I have a stronger case than what is necessary to prove my side this was not intentional,” he said. “I don’t understand why it was handled in this manner, I definitely understand the customer’s point of view and the customer side. They’re upset, I get it. It wasn’t intentional and I have every intention of repaying them.”

Braun said he had planned on beginning to pay customers back within the next month or so, but now isn’t sure because of the situation he’s in, calling it hard times. He said he’s always had positive customer feedback until recently, saying there was some dissatisfaction from what he said is the only issue, of projects taking longer to complete, due to “things being slow.”

Sheriff Cook said “Fugitive Friday” suspects get highlighted when they say suspects are evading them. Cook said if anybody feels if they were wronged, to give them a call and speak to a financial crimes detective, saying if they have to add additional charges they will.

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