DENVER - A father and son and three other men have been indicted on charges they used a home repair scam to defraud and steal from seniors citizens in Colorado.
Prosecutors said the men would tell homeowners they had excess asphalt or roofing material left over from a nearby job, and offer a homeowner a "great deal."
"If a price was even quoted, it was low and enticing, however, sometimes work began without homeowners’ permission," prosecutors said. "Always though, the final price was hugely inflated in relation to the nature of the work done."
The group operated in rural areas and neighborhoods in Arapahoe, Boulder, Delta, Jefferson, Larimer, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray and Weld counties.
"One man paid in excess of $24,000 for egregiously substandard work. In another instance, a 94-year-old woman was swindled out of $8,300 for work that was structurally terrible and worth no more than $1,521," said Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.
Prosecutors said a grand jury has indicted Rickey Gene Fite, 29, his father, Rickey Dean Fite, 55, and three other men, Rodney Jackson, 54, Michael Sullivan, 56, and Emanuel Broadway, 55, on charges including money laundering, felony theft, criminal attempt to commit criminal exploitation of an at-risk elder and tax evasion.
"Evidence was developed alleging that when confronted, these men often became abusive and in one instance, Rickey Gene Fite caused pain and injury to an older gentleman after knocking him to the ground with his truck," Suthers said.
Ricky Gene Fite is in the Boulder County Jail. Ricky Dean Fite and Rodney Jackson are in custody in Arnett, Oklahoma. Police are looking for Michael Sullivan and Emanuel Broadway.
The Attorney General’s Office said it's prosecuting the case under the state’s recently-enacted Elder Abuse law.
Stan Garnett, the Boulder County District Attorney, said the case first came to his consumer protection division, and they realized it was a statewide scam.
"They targeted people who were in their nineties, in poor health, where it looked like maybe they wouldn’t live long enough to explain what happened to them," said Garnett.
Garnett said the Elder Abuse law offers a path to tougher sentencing, fines and restitution for the victims and their heirs.
"Seniors are vulnerable, and we will do everything we can do protect them. People who wan to take advantage of them need to know that the law will come after them," said Garnett.