A white male with short curly graying hair and blue eyes wearing an orange jump suit stands in front of a light blue wall.Michael Barnes

February 16, 2024

WALTON COUNTY, FLA— An Alabama man is charged with embezzlement for misappropriating money after he was hired to build a home in Walton County.

Walton County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation in August 2023 regarding a complaint from a victim regarding Michael Scott Barnes, 59, of Dadeville, Alabama.

In March of 2022, the victim hired Barnes as a general contractor to build a home for their family in Santa Rosa Beach. The victim paid Barnes close to a million dollars but, after a few months of construction, hundreds of thousands of dollars went missing and construction nearly stopped. The victim was forced to hire a new contractor and reported Barnes to FDBPR.

During the investigation done by Walton County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Bureau, it was discovered Barnes misappropriated construction payments of $262,130 paid by the victim. The money was never returned, and Barnes could not properly account for where the money went.

After a comprehensive investigation, a warrant was approved for Barnes’ arrest on February 1st, 2024.

On February 9th, after repeated attempts to allow Barnes to turn himself in, Investigators reached out to Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Office, Alabama, and requested they take him into custody. That same day, Barnes was arrested.

On February 15th Barnes was extradited to Walton County Jail where he received a $15,000 bond. He is still incarcerated at the time of this release.

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Bureau of Insurance Fraud for their assistance in the investigation.