PROVO Provo police are hoping to crack down on a group of asphalt pavers who prey on elderly people by charging exorbitant amounts for simple repairs.
One elderly man in Provo approached police after he was charged $13,000 for a driveway repair, then escorted to the bank to pull out the money in cash.
A second man was charged $8,000 after workers fixed double the area he approved.
"They'll tell them ... 'We'll do your driveway,"' Provo Police Capt. Cliff Argyle said. "Sometimes they'll give them an estimate, never in writing. Then when they're done, the end amount is very much in excess."
Although Provo police have two cases of hot-patch scams, they believe there are more cases spread across the county and state, and once word gets out, more victims may come forward.
Utah Highway Patrol officers and Provo police made a stop Wednesday on several large paving trucks, with UHP citing drivers for weight violations, wrong Department of Transportation numbers and other unsafe-to-travel violations.
The drivers were interviewed, although police want to get the "head of the snake" and find the owners and managers who are allowing the scheming, Argyle said.
The pavers go by several names, including Mountain View Construction, Landmark Paving and Black Rock Paving, Argyle said.
"They'll actually go do legitimate jobs," Argyle said. "But if there's an opportunity to defraud somebody, they also make sure they take advantage of that."
The fraud isn't just frustrating to victims.
Mirna May, the owner and president of Mountainview Construction & Remodeling Inc., an unrelated company in Salt Lake City, has been getting calls from people concerned about the fraudulent company with the similar name.
"Hopefully they catch them," she said. "It's terrible what they're doing."
It's ironic, May said. This is their company's second name. Last time they changed to avoid being linked to another fraudulent construction company in Bountiful.
"Here we go again," she said. "It's so sad. A lot of people are being taken advantage of."
With such rampant fraud, Argyle encourages residents to carefully consider special offers and deals "too good to pass up."
"Make sure you get a written estimate of the price and that you're comfortable with the price," Argyle said.
Residents can always call their city's zoning department to check about complaints. The Better Business Bureau is another option for verifying the validity of a company, Argyle said."If someone comes to your front door ... telling you they have a heck of a deal, I would do a lot of checking before having it done," Argyle said.
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