As the warm weather begins to move in, the Fleming County Sheriff's Office would like to warn residents of traveling scammers.
Sheriff Scotty Royse said his office is still working on a case from April/May 2013, in which a man named Jimmy Riley visited Fleming County to solicit black-topping jobs from residents. About 10 people paid Riley up front for work, but that work was never completed.
"He told them he would return to complete the work, but he never returned. A lot of people signed contracts with him,” said Royse.
Royse said some of the contracts stated the individual would be allowed to keep the overage of blacktop free of charge.
"Some were being told the leftover blacktop from the bypass project would be used and the individual could keep the remainder. However, blacktop is expensive. There would be no way to get that free of charge. Anything that looks too good to be true usually is too good to be true,” added Royse.
Royse said in the two weeks Riley was in Fleming County, he managed to scam at least $20,000 out of the residents.
"I believe there are more victims we have yet to come across. Some people may have wrote it off as a loss or just haven't come forward yet,” commented Royse.
Royse said he was able to finally get a grand jury indictment against Riley. He was indicted on 11 counts of failure to make required disposition of work. He said it took a while to get the indictment because there is a fine line between criminal and civil when it comes to this case.
"I was able to get the commonwealth's attorney to help me with this case. There is a fine line there. Contracts were signed and money was exchanged. It may be a civil matter, but I'm hoping we can get this to court and maybe get some money back for these people,” added Royse.
Royse also said that although the indictment has been handed down, Riley has yet to be found.
"His company has a post office box out of Cincinnati, but, if I have the right Riley here, which I believe I do, he is out of South Carolina. I always believe he is wanted in other places for the same thing,” said Royse.
A Google search of Jimmy Riley brings up several results, including a Better Business Bureau page for a company called Riley's Asphalt and Paving. It has the same P.O. Box in Cincinnati that Royse said he had on file for Riley. The BBB said the business is not accredited.
Royse asks that anyone with information on Riley's whereabouts contact the Sheriff's Office at (606) 845-4701 or their local police department.
"This isn't the only time this has ever happened to people. There are a lot of legitimate businesses out there, but there are also a lot of scams. Never pay for work up front. That is the first red flag. Something else wrong with this company was the tags were out of state and there was no company logo -- no one really knew them. They would do a couple of legitimate jobs for people and use them as a reference to scam money out of others. If you've never heard of them before, be wary,” added Royse.
Anyone with questions about a company can contact the BBB. The local Cincinnati officer number is (513) 421-3015. Information can also be found on the website at: http://www.bbb.org
The Ledger Independent is online at: http://www.maysville-online.com