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David N. Kirkman
Task Force Alert
Chair
Asst Attorney General
Consumer Protection
NC Department of
Justice
P.O. Box 629
Raleigh, NC 27602
919-716-6000

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North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services

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Home Repair Fraud Crew Takes $91,000 From Cary Man

******Alert #234 ******

According to news reports, an older Cary, NC home owner recently was scammed out of $91,000 by a fraudulent home renovation crew that approached and told him his home was in serious need of repairs. His money was lost through a series of transactions with the crew over a period of only two months. The “repairs” the victim paid for were described as unnecessary, poorly performed or never performed at all. The following is a link to a television news report concerning the incident: http://www.wral.com/5onyourside/story/6591631/

The described techniques of the scammers resemble those of a statewide home repair fraud ring that was based in the Nash County/Edgecombe County area and taken down by a network of prosecutors and law enforcement agents during the late 1990’s and the early part of this decade. Many techniques of that fraud ring are listed on pages 10-12 in the Attorney General’s list entitled, “Scams & Frauds. Protect Yourself. Don’t be a Target,” found on the internet at http://www.ncdoj.gov/getdoc/4cda2d64-e8f8-48f3-8cdc-b46263aa652f/Scams-and-Frauds-List-4-09.aspx. Although several members of that fraud ring were sent to prison, their techniques for scamming older home owners survived. Most of the convicted scammers are now out of jail.

Telltale signs that an older home owner has been targeted by such an operation include the following: 1) Crew members use vehicles that are not marked with company names or have magnetic signs on the sides that can be easily removed or changed; 2) crews employ generic contracts or invoices that do not bear the name of their supposed company and do not provide the home owner with three days in which to cancel the transaction, which is required by law; 3) crew members will leave the scene quietly yet quickly if the home is approached by younger family members, local government code officials or law enforcement; 4) checks are made out to individuals rather than to a company; 5) multiple checks totaling more than $10,000 are written on the same day or on consecutive days (“structuring,” in the parlance of the IRS); 5) large numbers of wooden or metal braces and jacks are installed in the attic, basement or crawl space; 6) crew members and their supposed companies do not have local addresses; 7) crew members’ vehicles seem to be at the home constantly over a period of days or weeks; and 8) the crews’ work product appears shoddy even to the untrained eye.

Date: December 21, 2009

******End of Alert******

 

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