03/02/09 — Paving scam hits elderly residents

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Paving scam hits elderly residents

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on March 2, 2009 1:46 PM

A group of men selling shoddy asphalt is targeting elderly victims by offering to pave driveways at a low price, then pressuring victims to pay more, authorities say.

People have called the Wayne County Sheriff's Office numerous times with reports of a group of men claiming to have "extra" asphalt "leftover from a job."

The asphalt is of poor quality, and in the one reported case where someone fell for the scam, the paving job was also very poor, the victim's daughter said.

The fraud was reported late last week when an 85-year-old man who lives near Seymour Johnson Air Force Base lost all of the money in his checking account.

The victim told authorities that the men quoted him a price of $1,500, then gathered around him and quoted a price of $3,100, said Tom Flores, a detective assigned to investigate financial crimes.

"(The victim) said he was scared and felt threatened by them at this point, and had already signed the check," according to the report. "He told them that he only had $2,300 in the bank, and one of the men filled out the check for $2,300."

The victim's daughter, who wished to remain anonymous, described the men's work.

"It's just a poor preparation job, the surface is not smooth, the edges are not professional," the victim's daughter said. "In the area right where his steps meet the driveway, they did not even pave."

The 85-year-old's daughter also said the driveway as the men laid it would not drain water properly.

"Whenever it rains, it's going to pour water where it shouldn't be," the daughter said.

Sightings of the group have been all throughout Wayne County, Flores said.

"We're going to continue to work against criminals who would target our elderly," the detective said.