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Three Massachusetts men arrested after reportedly getting thousands from elderly resident in home improvement scam



Police in Massachusetts arrested three men Friday in relation to a home improvement scam that reportedly involved thousands of dollars and the elderly.

According to Chief Julie Flaherty, on Tuesday, Arlington Police were notified by an elderly resident of a potential home improvement scam. The resident reported to police that three men charged him an excessive amount of money for home improvement work and damaged his property.

Flaherty stated that this is a common scam that often targets seniors for various home improvement projects. The targeted homes are typically in need of legitimate repairs. However, the suspect will often quote a very small price for a minor job and then damage a chimney, front steps, retaining wall, roof or another part of the home, without permission from the homeowner. The suspect will then quote a much higher price and convince the victim to pay a large sum upfront, promising to complete the work, but later taking the payment without completing the work.

The victim reported to police that three men, later identified as 21-year-old Peter Gilheney of Quincy, 18-year-old Richard Gilheney of Randolph, and 18-year-old Patrick Gilheney of Quincy, quoted him $200 to fix a small crack in his front steps.

The men returned a few days later and allegedly ripped out the front steps without the victim’s permission and quoted the victim $6,000 for repairs. The victim ultimately wrote a check for a portion of the total amount, which was allegedly cashed by the suspects. The victim attempted to get his check back, but was unsuccessful.

On Friday, Arlington Police detectives contacted the suspects posing as potential customers. When the three men arrived to a predetermined location, they were approached by police. The Gilheney’s were positively identified as the men who allegedly damaged the victim’s property and took his check, and all three were arrested without incident.

While on-scene, police also determined that Peter Gilheney was allegedly driving without a license, and that the vehicle’s registration plates were associated with a different vehicle.

Peter Gilheney was charged with Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle, Number Plate Violation to Conceal Identification, Malicious Destruction of Property (More Than $1,200), and Larceny by False Pretenses (Over $250).

Richard and Patrick Gilheney were charged with Malicious Destruction of Property (More Than $1,200) and Larceny by False Pretenses (Over $250).

All three men were arraigned in Cambridge District Court today and were released on personal recognizance.

The Arlington Police Department wishes to share the following tips regarding home improvement contractor scams from the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation:

-Scammers often approach potential victims for home improvement scams by phone, email or by traveling door-to-door, and may claim they’ve been performing work locally and have surplus material.

-Scammers frequently offer their services at a very low price.

-Check to make sure the contractor is registered with the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by using its home improvement contractor registration look up service. Request a business card or website address for the contractor’s business.

-Be wary if the individual is driving an unmarked motor vehicle.

-Request a copy of the company’s standard contract.

-Inquire about whether the company will provide a warranty and how long that warranty will last.

-Never pay more than one-third the total cost of a service upfront, in cash, and only do so once you have verified that this person is a registered home improvement contractor and you have a contract.

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