MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. – Burlington County Prosecutor Robert D. Bernardi announced today that two phony contractors have been indicted for running a home improvement scam that victimized an elderly, disabled veteran in the Holly Brook section of Lumberton Township.
Paul Frank, (photo, left) age 46, of 2105 Bleigh Avenue in Philadelphia, Pa. and Larry Mitchell, (photo, right) age 30, of 3550 Delsea Drive in Vineland, N.J., were indicted by a Burlington County Grand Jury for Use of a 17-Year-Old or Younger to Commit a Criminal Offense (Second Degree), Burglary (Third Degree), Criminal Mischief (Third Degree), Theft By Deception (Third Degree), two counts of Conspiracy, (Third Degree), Unregistered Home Improvement Contracting (Fourth Degree) and Electrical Contracting Without A Permit (Fourth Degree).
The investigation revealed that Frank, Mitchell and a 17-year-old male who worked for them went to the victim’s home in May 2012 and informed him that his roof was leaking. Because he is confined to a wheelchair, the victim was unable to determine for himself whether the roof was indeed leaking, but agreed to pay the defendants $5,500 for the work.
Mitchell and the juvenile climbed to the roof and used a tire iron to tear off an approximate 10-foot-square area of the asphalt shingles, tar paper and plywood, thereby exposing the interior of the attic. Next, they pulled off the covers of two electrical junction boxes inside the attic and disconnected the wires.
The shingles were also removed on a separate area of the roof near the chimney that measured approximately eight square feet. Frank took a spray hose from the defendants’ truck and handed it up to Mitchell and the juvenile, who then sprayed a black substance onto the shingles, rain gutters and white molding.
The damage to the home was estimated at approximately $3,000. The investigation was conducted by the Lumberton Township Police Department.
An indictment is merely an accusation. Defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.