LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) -- Here is a cautionary story about one Cleveland woman's effort to restore her lifelong home. In this Rip-Off Alert, she fell victim to a scam that cost her a dream.
Katherine Gay says she was tricked into a scam that has now cost her the only home she has ever known.
It all started when a company offered to help her take out a loan and then make repairs on her home.
This is a partial list of things the company said they would do: fix the porches, new siding, new windows and cut down trees.
“I was so happy to be getting the house fixed up,” Gay said. “So happy. I wanted the house to go back to the way it was when I was young, when I was 15 years old.”
Happiness quickly turned to anger when Gay realized the con men had taken the loan money but did only a few of the promised repairs.
“In Mrs. Gay’s case she got new windows,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Kimberly Kepling. “But there is a whole list of things they were supposed to take care of, and, in the end, they left her in worse shape than when they arrived.“
Postal inspectors say gay was one of 42 elderly victims taken in by David LaSalla, Mitchell Jones and Chuck Cravotta.
“Once the mortgage loans were funded, the money was supposed to go back to the victims,” Kepling said. “Often, they would intercept the check or they would offer to take the check to the victim by the title company. Then they would have the victim sign the check and they would deposit it into their account.”
Officials say by the time they caught the suspects, there was no money left to return to the victims.
“They drove nice cars, they took nice vacations, they went gambling,” Kepling said. “Basically, they spent the money as fast as they got it.”
Inspectors say it is important to thoroughly research a company before ever giving it any money or control over your money.
LaSalla was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay more than $500,000 in this case. Jones and Cravotta also were ordered to pay restitution.