A homebuilder in St. Johns County is accused of abandoning projects in Nocatee. | News4JaxA homebuilder in St. Johns County is accused of abandoning projects in Nocatee. | News4Jax
A homebuilder in St. Johns County is accused of abandoning projects in Nocatee. | News4Jax

Nocatee homebuilder charged with fleecing buyers

Published on February 23, 2024 at 3:07 pm

A St. Johns County builder who was accused of abandoning projects in Nocatee has been arrested on multiple charges, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday.

Spencer Calvert, who owns Pineapple Corp,, was arrested Thursday and charged with embezzling construction funds, grand larceny of $100,000 or more and organized scheme to defraud.

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According to the Sheriff’s Office, Calvert had contracts with customers to build homes in Nocatee from 2019 to 2023, but the homes were never finished. A total of 13 victims came forward and reported their experiences.

According to investigators, Calvert got millions of dollars in deposits from customers to build their custom homes and misappropriated over $15 million.

The Sheriff’s Office said Calvert also failed to pay subcontractors and that led to more than $900,000 in liens to be filed against the alleged victims.

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“I’m proud of our Property Crimes Unit detectives, who worked tirelessly for those who have been financially devastated by this crime,” St. Johns County Sheriff Rob Hardwick said in a news release. “This is a challenging case that involves a suspect who used his position of trust to defraud our citizens, many of them using life savings to provide a home for their family. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is committed to assist the victims as we continue our investigation.”

Homeowners told the News4JAX I-TEAM earlier this month they’re now out hundreds of thousands of dollars. In some cases, homeowners were left with just a concrete slab.

Officials with St. Johns County said it’s their understanding that the homebuilder, Pineapple Corp., went out of business and about 15 homes were left unfinished in The Vista at Twenty Mile.

Reality TV Star Capt. Sandy Yawn was one of the homeowners who were left behind by the Pineapple Corp. Yawn said the home she and her partner paid $1.6 million for has been sitting unfinished and now has cracks in the foundation.

“What’s the solution? Spencer, where’s our money? Bring us back our money. Where’s the solution, Spencer? I don’t see a solution,” Yawn said. “He needs to be held accountable. … Show us where the money went because it’s not here.”

Yawn is working with a new contractor to finish her home, and she and the other homeowners were talking with St. Johns County detectives.

Calvert, who was arrested in Duval County, appeared in front of a judge Friday afternoon. He was told a conviction on each one of his charges carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

Lead image: A homebuilder in St. Johns County is accused of abandoning projects in Nocatee. | News4Jax

This story was produced by News4Jax, a Jacksonville Today news partner.

author image Travis Gibson is a digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years. He focuses on local issues like education and the environment. author image Khalil Maycock joined the News4JAX team in November 2022 after reporting in Des Moines, Iowa. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida. His broadcast career began in Savannah, Georgia, where he was a bureau reporter.

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