3 Mass. men facing charges in connection with alleged home improvement scam

Three Massachusetts men are facing charges in connection with a home improvement scam after Arlington police said they bought an elderly man out of thousands of dollars.

Peter Gilheney, 21, of Quincy, was arraigned Friday in Cambridge District Court on charges including unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, number plate violation to conceal identification, malicious destruction of property, and larceny by false pretenses, while 18-year-old Richard Gilheney, of Randolph, and 18-year-old Patrick Gilheney, of Quincy, were arraigned on charges of malicious destruction of property and larceny 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 an excessive 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 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 other parts of the house, without the permission of the home owner. 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 three suspects initially quoted $200 to fix a small crack in the victim’s front steps but upped that quote to $6,000 when they returned a few days later and allegedly ripped out the front steps.

The victim ultimately wrote a check for a portion of the total amount, which was apparently cashed by the suspects. The victim attempted to get his check back, but the police said he was unsuccessful.

The suspects were arrested on Jan. 13 after detectives contacted them posing as potential customers and positively identified them during a meeting at a predetermined location.

An investigation remains ongoing.

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