Tulsa Victim Warns Others To Watch Out For Home Repair Fraud
TULSA, Oklahoma - A Tulsa homeowner who was swindled out of $27,000 is warning others. Police say he got caught up in a home repair scam that stretches across Oklahoma.
In fact, one of the suspects was out on bond for the same charges when this latest case happened.
We're only identifying the victim as "Bill" because he's so embarrassed. He wants to warn others before they fall for the scam.
Bill was clueless when police swarmed in to arrest two men supposedly working on his house Tuesday.
"It was a little bit of a surprise," Bill said.
Surprise, because Bill had paid $27,000 over the course of two years for home repairs by Lance Boswell and Andy Herrin.
"Things happen, although all my years in the Air Force I never had something like this happen," he said.
Bill is 79-years-old and grew up in the house he's living in now. He first met the suspects in January of 2010.
"The fellow knocked on my door and said, ‘There's a problem up there by your chimney. Let me go up and check it out.' Well, okay," Bill explained.
That was the start of a dozen repairs Bill never even knew he needed. He says Boswell and Herrin claimed a vent needed fixing, and then some bricks were bulging from the house, followed by some shingles that were loose.
Bill doesn't know anything about housing repairs, so he just trusted them.
"They're smooth. Very, very slick-tongued as far as convincing you," said Tulsa police detective Cheryl Compton.
Detective Cheryl Compton says the men are part of a community in Spiro, Oklahoma, who travel to different cities to scam people. These "travelers" often target the elderly.
"This group has said, ‘oh you need chimney repairs.' Well from the street, you can't see their chimney and how did you know they needed chimney repair," Compton said.
Bill says this has been a very expensive lesson.
"Check them out! Go to Better Business Bureau," he said.
He won't make the same mistake again.
Detectives know of a couple dozen victims in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Never trust anyone just on their word if they come to your home and tell you that you need repairs.
Meanwhile, Andy Herrin has bonded out of jail and Lance Boswell remains in jail on $100,000 bond.