Police Put Residents on Look Out for Paving Scammer
Scam artist has been targeting elderly residents around Greater Annapolis and in south county.
An April 14 article on Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch about a paving scammer operating in Anne Arundel County—and wanted in South Carolina—has led southern district police and the Maryland State's Attorney's office to issue three arrest warrants for Tommy Edward Clack, or Clark, 39, of North Myrtle Beach.
Clack has apparently been operating in the area for at least a month. Police said they are aware of at least two incidents involving senior citizens, and have issued an alert to make citizens aware of the theft scheme.
According to the police alert, Clack, who sometimes goes by the alias Clark, targets the elderly by going door-to-door to solicit driveway paving. This individual reports that he is working for a Maryland paving company performing work in the area, has materials nearby and gives verbal estimates to homeowners.
The statement said, "in one incident on April 20, 2011, at a residence in Annapolis, the suspect never provided the 75-year-old male victim a written estimate, returned with a crew to finish the driveway and demanded a higher amount of payment than originally discussed."
In a second incident on April 27, 2011, in Lothian, the same suspect made contact with a 79-year-old male homeowner, according to police. Police said he "discussed a possible estimate and then left for a period of time. The suspect returned with eight other individuals and began paving the driveway without permission. The suspect then charged the victim a much larger fee than previously discussed."
Detectives said they have spoken to additional residents describing similar circumstances where they refused to allow the work to be performed because Clack would not provide a written estimate.
The three open warrants charge Clack with theft, operating without a home improvements business license and making false statements to a law enforcement officer.
Police said he is known to operate a 2010 red Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck bearing the North Carolina registration ZWJ5901. The vehicle may at times display magnetic “Maryland Asphalt Recycled Paper Paving Company” signs.
In the original reporting conducted by Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch, he told the homeowner the job would cost about $400, then produced an invoice for $61,000. After the story ran, a reader called and said her parents, who live in Annapolis, were swindled for $17,000 after the initial estimate was for a couple hundred dollars.
Police are asking anyone with information on this suspect or with any inquires about the scam is asked to contact Detective Mark Ottey of the Southern District Detectives at 410- 222-1960.
In addition, police have offered these guidelines for hiring contractors for home-improvement projects or when encountering problems with the service:
- Get at least three estimates from at least three different contractors. Check and verify all references supplied by the contractor. Shop around.
- Research to verify that the contractor is licensed in the State of Maryland and/or locally.
- Contact your local Chamber of Commerce or visit the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation at http://www.dllr.state.md.us.
- Know the difference between proposals (estimated costs) and contracts (specified costs).
- Be sure the contract describes the service(s) to be performed, lists the materials to be used and includes a starting and expected completion date.
- Ask for a written warranty or guarantee with your contract.
- Be cautious of companies that require advanced payments.
- Contact the Better Business Bureau to file a complaint for the nondelivery of services or check with them ahead of time to see if there were prior complaints.
- File a consumer complaint with the Maryland Attorney General Consumer Protection Division for the nondelivery of services.
- Remember, as a general rule of thumb: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.