|Two brothers from Georgia have been sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison for a roofing scam targeting the elderly.
Keith Ogles, 50, and Jeffrey Ogles, 52, pleaded guilty to home repair fraud and financial exploitation of the elderly.
“This pair deliberately preyed on elderly victims, who were all in their 80s, and demanded payments that reached over $130,000,” DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said in a statement. “The Ogles lined their pockets with the money many of our victims worked a lifetime to accumulate.”
The brothers significantly overcharged four victims, damaged their roofs, threatened a victim who refused to make the additional payments they demanded, and performed shoddy work.
Many homeowners assume that all roofing scams involve taking a down payment and then disappearing, but many scams actually involve raising bids after a contract has been signed or building a roof that will last only a few years (with proper workmanship, many roofing materials will last 25 years, and some even have a lifespan of 50).
The pair will be required to serve at least 10 years in prison, as well as pay $100,000 in restitution.
Their crimes first came to light in November of 2014, when Wells Fargo bank alerted authorities that an 89-year-old woman was trying to withdraw $16,000 in cash from her account, saying that her roofer had driven her there and was waiting in the parking lot.
A police investigation revealed that the Ogles had collected more than $40,000 from her — for work that should have cost less than $1,500.
The authorities subsequently identified and contacted additional victims.
“We all have to be vigilant in making sure that our parents and grandparents are not being taken advantage of and exploited by criminals like the Ogles brothers,” James said in a statement. “Far too often, we hear of similar crimes that involve caregivers and even other family members who take advantage of vulnerable adults.”
The Better Business Bureau recommends being wary of any roofers that come door-to-door offering “limited time” offers and asking for payment in cash. Homeowners should ask for proof of licensing, insurance and bonding; check references; ensure that all promises are put into writing; and pay by credit card whenever possible to protect themselves against unscrupulous contractors.