10 arrested in "Operation Nail It"

July 28, 2013 9:00:00 PM PDT
Ten people are in jail accused of duping seniors around central North Carolina out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

They were caught because of "Operation Nail It," which is a task force looking for con artists who pretend to do home repair work, but really steal money from victims.

"I feel I'm 78. I should have known better," said James Whetston.

Whetston needed to sell his house. So when a man knocked on his door and told him some shingles needed work, Whetston paid him to fix it.

"Most of that stuff was done on a ladder and I quit going up ladders quite some time ago," said Whetston.

Then other "repairmen" came telling Whetston other work that needed to be done.

"What they'd do, they'd say they're going to do a little work and 'We'll come back to check it,' and when they'd come back they'd say 'Well, you need this done before we can do anything further.'"

Whetston says he met about seven different men.

"One would come in and another would come and every time they did that the bills got higher and higher and higher," he said. "The last one, they hit me for $9,500."

Whetston isn't alone. Local authorities and the attorney general's office say these ten scammed several seniors just like Whetston out of $300,000.

"It's endless the ways these scam artists look to defraud seniors," said N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper. "You can be very smart and be fooled by these con artists because they know what to do and how to do it and they are relentless."

Cooper says the con artists talked victims into expensive and unnecessary home repairs, then either didn't do it, or didn't do it right.

"They did $8,000 worth of damage in the kitchen," said Whetston.

Ten people are now in jail, but Whetston and other victims like him may never see their money again.

"He kept saying he was an expert at framing houses and right now I doubt if he's an expert at anything," said Whetston.

Authorities tell us none of the ten people arrested are licensed contractors.

There could be more victims out there. If you or someone you know may have been taken by a scam like this, call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

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