3 men from Mass. facing charges in connection with an alleged home renovation scam

ARLINGTON, Mass. – Three Massachusetts men are facing charges in connection with a home improvement scam after Arlington police say they bilked an elderly man out of thousands of dollars.

Peter Gilheney, 21, of Quincy, was arraigned Friday in Cambridge District Court on charges including unauthorized operation of a motor vehicle, license plate violation to conceal identification, malicious destruction of property and theft by false pretenses, while 18-year-old Richard Gilheney, of Randolph, and 18-year-old Patrick Gilheney, of Quincy, were charged with malicious destruction of property and theft by false pretenses, according to the Arlington Police Department.

On Jan. 10, officers spoke with an elderly man who reported that three men had charged him a large amount of money for home improvement work and damaged his property, police said.

In a statement, police said: “This is a common scam that often targets seniors for various home improvement projects. The homes targeted are typically in need of legitimate repairs. However, the suspect will often give up a very small price for a minor job and then damage a chimney, front step, retaining wall, roof or other part of the home without permission from the home owner. The suspect will then quote a much higher price and convince the victim to pay a large amount up front, promising to complete the work but later take the payment without completing the work.”

The three suspects initially quoted $200 to repair a small crack in the victim’s front step, but raised the quote to $6,000 when they returned a few days later and allegedly ripped out the front step.

The victim eventually wrote a check for a portion of the total amount, which was allegedly cashed by the suspects. The victim tried to get his check back, but police say he was unsuccessful.

The suspects were arrested on January 13 after detectives contacted them posing as potential customers and positively identified them during a meeting at a pre-arranged location.

An investigation is still ongoing.

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