Good morning. I just registered here after doing some websurfing about "tree service" & home repair scams. My name is Greg; I don't in WV but wanted to alert you'all to a group of possibly connected scammers operating out of the Culpeper/Orange, Virginia area. They target the elderly.
I first became aware of them earlier this year, when a friend's elderly aunt,who lives alone in DC got conned out of over $8,000 by two men named David Morris Jr. and Christopher Clore; operating under the guise of "DMI Tree Services". I'm posting their names since they're both under indictment in Virginia for similar cases:
While one worked in the yard, another gained entry to the aunt’s house - that’s when one of the checks in her checkbook went AWOL. My friend found out about this in time to change her aunt’s accounts.
The same two men returned to the aunt's house a few days later with another person, driving a truck with the name “Myer’s Tree Service” painted on the side. The aunt by that time had been warned not to engage them - luckily a relative happened by while they were there trying to convince her to let them inside, and ejected them from the property.
About the same timeframe, my elderly father who lives alone in MD was visited a by a “Matthew’s Tree Service”-- that offered to mow his lawn and rake his leaves -- for $13,000. Luckily he declined.
We've learned that the elderly aunt was again visited, just this week, by a “Michael’s Tree Service”. She could not describe the men.
Research of business listings shows none of these “tree services” are either listed or licensed in the VA/DC/MD area. The 'business cards' given out for all of them, how ever, have 540 area codes. The phone numbers invariably are under names (answering machines, actually) unconnected to the persons on the cards.
DC has previously been lax in pursuing such cases, thus most likely making that area attractive to scammers who've worn out their welcome elsewhere. However, after contacting Ward Councilmembers, and getting in touch with the Charlottesville police and comparing notes that turn up the same names and numbers, they have assigned a detective to work further.
P.S. It’s worth noting that the original scammers left an orange-painted stake in ground of the aunt’s lawn, clearly visible from the street. Perhaps this is a sign to other scammers of a “mark”?
Please be on the lookout for this, and thanks for helping to spread the word.