Six people have pleaded guilty in a construction fraud scheme targeting elderly and vulnerable homeowners in the Fayetteville area.
The Fayetteville Observer has reported that the scheme defrauded about 20 area residents out of nearly $700,000 last year.
Investigators say Robert House Jr. hired five convicted felons to work for his business, R & D Construction, which went around neighborhoods soliciting home repair work.
The men traveled from Rocky Mount to neighborhoods in Fayetteville in marked vehicles, scoping homes on Rosehill Road, Yadkin Road, near Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and the Haymount area, Faeytteville police detective Christopher Cody told the Observer.
“They profiled neighborhoods,” Cody said. “Fayetteville was target-rich. They looked for homes with older cars, looked for retired and disable tags on cars and wouldn’t approach homes with toys in the yard.”
The men were slick, Cody said. They would inspect the roofs of homes, which a homeowner could not feasibly go up to inspect with them, and said the damage would continue to deteriorate.
“Taking advantage of an individual is worse than walking up to them and robbing them at gunpoint because you’ve ripped their trust, then robbed them,” Cody said.
All six people were charged with multiple counts of exploiting the elderly, obtaining property under false pretense and conspiracy. Their sentences ranged from three years of probation up to 11 years in prison.
Investigators said the fraud ring was part of a larger operation that targeted senior citizens throughout central North Carolina.