GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities say two men defrauded an elderly Holland homeowner out of nearly $300,000.
James Robert Black, 55, and 24-year-old Tyler Maurice Harris are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Harris also faces a separate charge of welfare fraud.
The conspiracy charge carries a possible prison term of 20 years. The welfare fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years.
The homeowner hired Black, who went by the name “Jim Gribble” to repair a roof, according to the United States Attorney’s Office.
Authorities say the defendants then persuaded the homeowner to pay almost $300,000 for a series of false problems associated with the project, including dangerous working conditions, employee injuries, lawsuits and tax issues.
Harris was taken into custody and appeared before federal Magistrate Judge Ellen Carmody on Wednesday. Authorities are still looking for Black.
Authorities say both men are from Allegan County.
Anyone who believes they have dealt with either man and are the victim of fraud should call Homeland Security Investigations at 616.235.3936 or the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 616.808.2034.