CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) – A man accused of billing a local woman thousands of dollars in a home repair scam has been arrested.
Earlier this week, the Chatham County Police Department (CCPD) issued warrants for 24-year-old Camren Sims on one charge of theft by deception and one charge of exploitation of an elder.
He was taken into custody on Wednesday.
The charges come after a 73-year-old Chatham County woman reported that she paid Sims $6,500 for repair work on her home that was never completed.
Police say the victim contacted a business with offices in Chatham County to do plumbing repairs on her home. Sims was employed at the business at the time and was sent to complete the repair work.
After doing the initial repairs, the victim says Sims told her additional work was needed. The victim reports that Sims offered to do the work as a side job away from his regular employment, and at a cost lower than what she would be charged by the legitimate business. The victim agreed and wrote Sims a check for $6,500. The check was immediately deposited and cleared the bank.
The victim contacted CCPD after three weeks went by and very little work had been completed, and Sims was unable to finish the job or refund the money. After alerting the legitimate business about her situation, the victim learned Sims was no longer employed at the company.
“The victim in this case had good intentions. But, while understandably trying to save herself money, she made the mistake of hiring someone to do work on the side. Ultimately, this canceled the whole reason for going to an established company to begin with,” said CCPD Criminal Investigations Division Captain Gene Harley. “Home owners need to be vigilant and to take every precaution before agreeing to expensive repairs. Make sure you are working with a legitimate company who holds a business license, and is bonded and insured. Insist on having a written agreement as to what work is to be done, the timeline, and the cost. And, if possible, pay by credit card so you have more protections against fraudulent activity.”
After launching their investigation, CCPD detectives say they feel there may be more victims of this same scam.
Anyone who has any information that may be helpful in the investigation can call Chatham County Police Detectives at 912-651-4717 or CrimeStoppers at 912-234-2020. Tipsters are anonymous and may qualify for a cash reward.