The Delaware Department of Justice Consumer Protection Department has indicted three people on charges of home improvement fraud against elderly Delawareans.
Isaac K. Lovell, 44, of Bear, was charged on July 8, 2019 with extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, home improvement fraud, and theft of more than $ 100,000, among other charges. The indictment alleges that Lovell used its home improvement store Phire-Fly Contracting Co. to defraud seniors, including an elderly woman from whom Lovell received over $ 600,000 between 2015 and 2017.
David H. Lovell, 48, of Wilmington, was charged with fraud and home improvement fraud on August 19, 2019, among other charges. The indictment against Lovell alleges that between 2015 and 2017 he used his home improvement store DHL & Son Contracting to defraud several elderly people. In a pattern similar to that of his brother, Lovell convinced his victims to pay him for home improvement services he never completed.
Andrew W. Masserelli, 48, of Magnolia, was charged with $ 1,500 in home improvement fraud and theft on August 5, 2019. Between 2016 and 2018, Masserelli and his company Drew’s Tree Service allegedly defrauded several homeowners, including two seniors, by failing to essentially complete tree-clearing work on their property after accepting the money.
The CPU advises Delawareeans to hire a home improvement contractor to look out for and prevent fraud by doing homework before hiring a contractor:
- Contractors should always be bound and have all necessary licenses for mechanical work.
- Get testimonials and follow up, including performing online searches and searching for companies on the Delaware Better Business Bureau website.
- Do your research and talk to friends and neighbors about a contractor’s reputation.
- Always stick to contractors in writing.
- Never pay for work in cash or in advance, keep detailed payment records, and keep the balance until you are satisfied with the work.
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