Detectives Arrest Man in Home Improvement Scam Targeting the Elderly

Mason Police District- A 49-year-old man is facing charges related to the financial exploitation of an elderly woman. Detectives from our Criminal Intelligence Division were alerted earlier this year to suspicious banking activity being conducted by Michael Johnson, of Annandale. Detectives uncovered multiple high value deposits originating from elderly persons. Their investigation revealed Johnson targeted mentally incapacitated persons and offered to perform driveway paving services and other household repairs. Johnson then took payments that far exceeded the scope of the work performed. Johnson was charged with one count of financial exploitation of mentally incapacitated persons and is currently being held on a secured bond at the Adult Detention Center.  In addition to Fairfax County, victims have been identified in a neighboring jurisdiction.

Johnson

Detectives believe there may be additional victims and are asking for anyone with information to contact Crime Solvers by visiting http://www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org, or text-a-tip by texting “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES (274637).

Here are some tips for identifying home improvement scams:

  • Soliciting without a license is illegal and perpetrators are often involved in other criminal activity
  • Do not accept work from solicitors who approach you in person.
  • Do your own research and call companies directly.
  • Ensure that they are insured and are properly licensed (Call 703-324-5966 for licensing information)
  • Be the eyes and ears for your elderly neighbors.
  • Scam artists often target seniors and demand payment for work that was never completed or claim non-payment after payment has already been made.
  • Seniors are often victims of distraction thefts: A “contractor” may be showing items “in need of repair” while another member of the crew enters a back door.
  • Scamming crews will often claim your home is in need of “emergency repair” and insist that work be done immediately: Common claims are repairs to chimney flashings, “cracked foundations”, or driveway sealing.
  • Scammers will often require a large down payment and never complete promised jobs.

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