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Attorney General’s Office secures 34-count indictment charging 5 with home improvement fraud, theft, and conspiracy

Date Posted: Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
Categories:  Consumer Protection Department of Justice DOJ Press Releases Fraud

Wilmington – Attorney General Beau Biden today announced that his office has secured a 34-count criminal indictment charging multiple defendants with home improvement fraud, theft, and conspiracy in a scheme that targeted elderly New Castle County residents.

 

“After receiving a report from an elderly homeowner of financial exploitation, our Special Investigations Unit responded quickly to open an investigation,” Biden said.  “Thanks to substantial work from the New Castle County Police Department five suspects who were working together to defraud multiple residents were identified and arrested.  We are working hard to ensure that those who victimized seniors in our community are held to account and, in doing so, we’re protecting others from their predatory and criminal behavior.”

 

The indictment secured yesterday by the New Castle County Grand Jury follows an 8-month investigation conducted cooperatively by the Attorney General’s Special Investigations Unit and New Castle County Police.  The indictment charges five New Castle-area residents with making unsolicited visits to victims’ homes between May and September, 2013 and proposing to complete needed home maintenance and home improvements.  The indictment charges the defendants, who were not licensed contractors, with defrauding homeowners by making false or misleading claims about the condition of victims’ properties and the scope of work that needed to be done and not completing work that was paid for by the victims.

 

The investigation began last summer after Biden’s office received a complaint that an elderly homeowner had paid two of the defendants for work that was never performed.  Biden’s office began working with the New Castle County Police last fall after learning that the agency had separately opened an investigation into multiple incidents that involved some of the same suspects.  The joint investigation ultimately identified five defendants who were affiliated with each other and yesterday’s indictment charges them with defrauding 11 Wilmington-area homeowners who ranged in age from 64 to 93.  Total amounts lost by each victim ranged from several hundred dollars to more than $50,000.

 

The following defendants were charged in yesterday’s indictment:

 

Jeffrey Kane, age 30, charged with 12 offenses, including: Home Improvement Fraud (4 counts), Theft from a senior in excess of $50,000, Conspiracy 2nd Degree (3 counts), Theft from a senior in excess of $1500 (2 counts), Theft from a senior of less than $1500, and Attempted theft from a senior of less than $1500.

 

Priscilla Riley, age 38, charged with 14 offenses, including: Home Improvement Fraud (4 counts), Theft from a senior in excess of $50,000, Conspiracy 2nd Degree (4 counts), Theft from a senior of less than $1500 (3 counts), Attempted theft from a senior in excess of $1500, and Forgery 2nd Degree

 

Alexander Williamson, age 27, charged with 16 offenses, including: Home Improvement Fraud (4 counts), Theft from a senior in excess of $50,000, Conspiracy 2nd Degree (5 counts), Theft from a senior in excess of $1500, Theft from a senior of less than $1500 (2 counts), Attempted theft from a senior in excess of $1500, Burglary 2nd Degree, and Unlawful use of a credit card.

 

Michael Wilson, age 43, charged with 20 offenses, including: Home Improvement Fraud (5 counts), Theft from a senior in excess of $50,000, Conspiracy 2nd Degree (6 counts), Theft from a senior in Excess of $1500 (2 counts), Theft from a senior of less than $1500 (3 counts), Attempted Theft from a senior in excess $1500, Burglary 2nd Degree, and Unlawful use of a credit card.

 

Joseph Young, age 39, charged with 10 offenses, including: Home Improvement Fraud (2 counts), Conspiracy 2nd Degree (3 counts), Burglary 2nd Degree, Unlawful use of a credit card, Theft from a senior in excess of $50,000, Theft from a senior of less than $1500, Attempted theft from a senior in excess of $1500.

 

All of the defendants were previously arrested by New Castle County police during the ongoing criminal investigation on some of the charges that were contained in this week’s indictment.  Booking images of the defendants are attached.  All five defendants face additional charges as a result of the indictment, and warrants for their arrests on those new charges are pending.

 

The Delaware Department of Justice reminds the public that an indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a jury trial at which the State bears the burden of proving each charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

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Jeffery Kane Booking Image              Priscilla Riley Booking Image                 Michael Wilson Booking Image            Joseph Young Booking Image

Alexander Williamson Booking Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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