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Richmond, VA Roofer Scam Swindles Residents

The saying goes it only takes on bad apple to spoil the bunch and unfortunately that old adage rings true when it comes to the roofing industry. That’s what residents of Richmond, Virginia are learning about a man who has been scamming local residents for multiple years.

Authorities are now on the search for 55-year old Thomas Taylor who is accused of swindling Richmond residents out of thousands of dollars for roof repairs and other work that is entirely unnecessary. The suspect has hit multiple neighborhoods recently and left homeowners scratching their heads and trying to figure out how they can recoup their losses.

Unfortunately, this not the first time that a roofing scam and even Taylor himself has hit the same neighborhood for a quick buck. “The man comes into the neighborhood periodically and will approach a homeowner and tell them there’s a problem with the gutters or shingles. “If they’re unfamiliar with him or new to the area, often they’ll let him put a ladder to the home and climb onto the roof. He’ll often magnify the extent of the issue,” says Elizabeth Roderick. Roderick is in charge of overseeing the crime watch for Westover Hills Homeowners Association, a neighborhood that has been repeatedly preyed upon by Taylor.

Taylor will often hand over a business care to give the illusion that he is licensed and experienced though he will often make up issues with a home’s roof and gutters to make the “fix” and walk away with the homeowner’s money.

There are multiple ways that homeowners can avoid a person like Taylor’s scams or many other roof scams. Here are some quick tips on how to avoid criminals like Taylor.

  • Be wary of door-knockers and roofing contractors who come to your door
  • Always ask who a person works for and their credentials such as licenses, insurance information, and registrations before allowing them on your roofs
  • Never pay a roofer up front, wait until a job you requested is taken care of and you are satisfied with results

By being cautious and doing extra research, you can avoid many of the scams that some Richmond residents have fallen for. When it comes to your home, it always pays to be vigilant and thorough.

Finding a Reputable Denver Roofing Contractor

Anyone who has lived in Colorado for one summer knows that with the warmer temperatures comes a flood of hail storms. They can often be harmless but in some cases the storms can turn vicious and rain down large damaging hail stones that damage everything from cars to gardens. They also can do a number on roofs. This leaves hundreds if not thousands of homeowners reaching out to get their roof repaired in a timely fashion.

With this influx of roofing needs comes an influx of fly-by-night contractors and scammers. There have already been a couple of shady characters roaming around Colorado this season and Roofcorp wants to make sure you don’t become the next victim, so here are some steps to take to make sure you aren’t swindled out of your hard earned money.

How to Find a Reputable Denver Roofing Contractor

Licensed and Insured

Any reputable roofing company will have proper insurance that is roofing specific and current. This includes having both general liability insurance and workers’ compensation. The roofing contractor should be more than happy to show you their insurance qualifications. It is even in your best interest to call the insurance company that they provide to make sure the contractor is up to date and in good standing.

Better Business Bureau Accredited

Check to see if the business has been accredited by your local Better Business Bureau. This will help insure that they are not a fly-by-night company looking to make a quick buck. Check to see that they have received any complaints and if so, that those complaints were dealt with in a timely manner.

Positive Third Party Reviews

Utilize third party review collections to pick out roofing contractors with a solid reputation. Angie’s List, Yelp and even Google Reviews can help you sort through the myriad of different companies in your area. Look for positive reviews from real homeowners. Be wary because some companies will pay free lancers to write fake positive reviews. Also check to see that they have been around long enough to build a good testimonial portfolio.

Be Wary of Incredible Deals

The saying goes: “If it sounds too good to be true it probably is,” and that goes with Denver roofing contractors as well. Rock bottom low estimates, especially those asked to be paid in full and up front, are usually a good indicator of scams.

Roofing Company Head Jailed for Fraud

It can sometimes be easy to think that you are above the law or that a lie told often enough becomes truth. That is not the case for one executive of a New Jersey roofing company who was recently jailed for supplying false and misleading information to insurance providers.

Charles Kelcy Pegler has been charged with third degree insurance fraud for falsifying information to avoid paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in premiums to New Jersey Casualty Insurance Company. Pegler ran the New Jersey based Roof Diagnostics Inc. a roofing contracting company that employed close to 400 workers.

Pegler misled the New Jersey Casualty Insurance Company, submitting documents that claimed Roof Diagnostics was not a roofing company nor that it employed roofers or ever did any type of roofing work. Pegler also falsified information to USF Insurance Company, claiming that Roof Diagnostics Inc. only employed subcontractors to do roofing repairs and installations. This helped Pegler avoid paying $134,000 in general liability coverage. In total it is estimated that Pegler avoided paying over $265,000 in proper insurance premiums.

New Jersey’s insurance prosecutor Ronald Chillemi used the trial as an example to discourage this type of fraud stating, “Such frauds will not be tolerated and will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Superior Court Judge Anthony J Mellaci Jr. of Monmouth County sentenced Pegler to 180 days in county jail. This will come on top of 150 hours of community service, $15,000 in criminal fines and three years on probation. Since being indicted Pegler has already repaid the total amount of money owed in restitution to both the New Jersey Casualty Insurance Company and USF Insurance Company.

Its important to remember the importance for roofing companies to carry accurate and up to date insurance information. When you begin your working with your roofing contractor it is important to make sure that all their information is accurate.  The homeowner should ask to see official documents and even call the telephone number listed on those documents to make sure the information is current. Check to see that the contractor provides both general liability and workers’ compensation insurance.

This kind of homework insures that you get a trusted and reputable roofer.

Colorado Roofing Scam Busted

Roofcorp has stressed the importance of doing your research before hiring a roofing company to avoid many common scams. One Colorado roofing and paving company was recently indicted after authorities found out they were scamming many of their elderly customers.

Colorado Roofing Scams

Authorities say the company in question was involved in a door-to-door bait and switch, the people who were targeted were often elderly and lived out in rural areas. The men traveled to several towns and counties including Arapahoe, Boulder, Jefferson and Weld County. The contractors would state to the customers that they had recently performed a roofing job and had leftover material. They would then offer a very high discounted rate to install new roofing on these resident’s home.

The deal was simply too good to be true, after work was done the homeowners were left with a bill that far exceeded the original estimates. Homeowners report that the work was also very shoddy and hasty. Some homeowners confronted the company about the terrible work and were met with arguments and further abuse.

As of now three men have been arrested in the case. Rickey Dean Fite, his son Rickey Gene Fite and Rodney Jackson. The three men have been charged with several crimes including money laundering, tax evasion, felony theft and could possibly face charges of criminal attempt to commit criminal exploitation of at-risk elder. Police are still searching for two other men, Michael Sullivan and Emanuel Broadway who they believe were also involved in the scam.

The men could face up to 24 years in prison if convicted of the more serious crime of targeting elderly people under the Elder Abuse Law in Colorado. They will be prosecuted in the Boulder District Court.

Protecting Yourself From Colorado Roofing Scams

Roofcorp would like to remind its readers about the importance of doing background research before any kind of agreement is signed. Always make sure that you are dealing with a reputable company that is licensed, accredited and insured. Don’t be afraid to ask to see insurance documentation. Look for companies from accredited sources, such as the Better Business Bureau. Remember, if the price sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

Roofing Scams

Unfortunately, scams are too common in the world of roofing. Con artists take advantage of friendly homeowners and attempt to swindle them out of their hard earned money. However knowledge is power so Roofcorp is here to give you advice on the more common scams and how you can avoid them.

Door to Door Roofing Scams

Many of the more common scams come in the form of the door to door roofing salesman. This is not to say that all door to door salesman are scam artists. Most are trustworthy, Roofcorp itself enlists the help of these workers but there are some bad apples out there. Fly-by-night roofers are the most frequent after a large storm. When you are approached by a door to door salesman there are some ways to find out if they are from a reputable company.

  • Ask for contact information about the company they work for and use it.
  • Check to see if their company is insured and licensed and even registered for the Better Business Bureau.
  • Ask to observe the roof inspection. A common scam is when they get up on your roof and produce the damage themselves, this can include ripping and damaging shingles on the spot.

Other Roofing Scams

It is wise to not pay money at the first inspection. Some companies take deposits and if you have made sure they have all the proper credentials, you may decide to make a down payment. If you are uncomfortable with doing this a salesman should not try to pressure you into paying them immediately. Aggressive sales tactics are a red flag of a scamming roofing company. Roofcorp is proud to offer free roof estimates.

Another common scam is a drastic underbid. The company will draw up a very low contract to win the job from you, then after you have signed an initial contract will raise the price. Chances are if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Once the salesman has left check Angie’s List of the Better Business Bureau, you do not want to do business with a company that has no reviews or testimonials. Call the telephone numbers on the insurance information they gave you to make sure the information is legitimate and current.