Solar roof fraud suspect rented private jets to appear successful, deputies say

A wanted man who used a fake name to operate a fraudulent solar panel roof business would rent private jets in order to convince people that he was wealthy and successful, according to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said the investigation began on Sept. 25 when a concerned resident called the Indian Harbour Police Department because he had just paid $150,000 to a man he knew as James Cook of Cabo San Lucas LLC for the construction of a high-end solar roof.

As authorities began the investigation, they said they discovered that Cook was actually 51-year-old Leandro Javier Obenauer, who had been wanted out of Orange County for three years.

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He moved to Brevard County in December 2019 and had a fake South Carolina driver’s license with the name Cook on it, records show. He was doing solar roof business in the area under the names Cabo San Lucas LLC and Powerhouse Roofing, deputies said.

Obenauer rented a house in Melbourne Beach and would often rent private jets to present “the illusion that he was a successful businessman,” according to a news release.

Deputies said once they verified Obenauer’s identity, they made a plan to arrest him and his girlfriend 67-year-old Miriam Torres, who also had a warrant out of Orange County on a fraud charge.

Obenauer was arrested at a storefront he rented as he was loading equipment and Torres was arrested at the beachfront home Obenauer rented, according to authorities.

They’re both being held at the Brevard County Jail.

Deputies said the investigation is ongoing. Anyone who did business with Cabo San Lucas LLC, Powerhouse Roofing, Cook or Obenauer is asked to call the Indian Harbour Beach Police Department at 321-773-3030 or the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Economic Task Force at 321-633-8410.

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