Posted: Friday, 25 May 2012 3:17PM
Six charged in local asphalt scam
Investigators with the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office say they have arrested five men and a woman who scammed local residents and businesses out of thousands of dollars.
Chief Deputy Jason Ard says that the scammers would approach residents and business owners with unsolicited offers of driveway or parking lot repair.
The victims told police that in most cases, the scammers claimed that leftover materials from another paving job were available for a discounted price.
Ard describes what happened to one elderly victim:
"An 85 year old home owner was given a price of $90.00 “to spread some material in his driveway.” A short time later the man noticed that his existing driveway was being “ripped up” and the price has gone up to $5,000.00. The man, feeling intimidated, reluctantly paid the men a “discounted price” of $2800.00 for work that has left him with a partially destroyed driveway."
The six suspects face felony charges, including racketeering, theft, and money laundering. Officials say LPSO detectives have also seized several pieces of heavy equipment used in the alleged scam. Ard says that the Sheriff's Office, working with Texas law enforcement, were able to located and arrest suspect one of the suspects, who reportedly had more than $400,000.00 cash in his possession at the time of his arrest.
Police urge caution when dealing with unsolicited officers of roof repair, driveway repair, termite abatement, and similar services. Ard says residents should always ask for references and licenses. He says if something "just doesn't seem right," homeowners should contact the police.
Ard says that authorities in Texas and Louisiana continue to investigate leads in the case and additional charges are possible.