FALMOUTH — Police used a sting operation to arrest a man facing several complaints for home-repair fraud.
Richard Myers, 41, was arrested Oct. 8 without incident at a local bar, police said. Myers is accused of taking money to do home repairs and never doing the work.
He was arraigned Oct. 10, with bail set at $10,000, and remained in the Cumberland County Jail in Portland as of Tuesday.
“He’s probably the biggest scam artist we’ve seen in quite some time,” Police Lt. John Kilbride said.
Kilbride said police sought high bail because they consider Myers, who was arrested on three warrants for fraud and one for terrorizing, a risk to leave the state.
“He’s just going to turn right around and continue victimizing, that’s what he knows,” Kilbride said.
Kilbride said Falmouth police received three complaints. The first came from a woman on the east side of town against Myers’ company, Beacon Light Chimneys. The woman received an estimate from Myers for chimney cleaning, allegedly gave Myers a deposit of several hundred dollars, and never saw him again.
“I suspect that we’ll get more (complaints) and I know surrounding communities (will too),” Kilbride said. “Probably if you look at $500 to $700 an incident and you’re looking at a couple dozen cases, you’re looking at thousands of dollars within Cumberland County. And God knows where else he’s been setting up shop.”
Kilbride said there were already complaints from Yarmouth and Freeport residents, too.
Kilbride said Myers typically would send in a subcontractor to evaluate a home, then he would come to collect the money. He said police set up a sting at an empty house, and intercepted the subcontractor, who in this case was unaware of Myers’ intentions. He said the subcontractor had answered an ad on Craigslist.com.
“All roads lead to Mr. Myers at this point as the man collecting the money and writing the contracts out, and (being) the one that the victims have identified,” Kilbride said.
Police did not release the name of the bar where Myers was arrested. Kilbride said they normally wouldn’t go into a business to make an arrest, but because they considered Myers elusive, they were afraid they might miss the opportunity.
“We had information he could have been in two locations and that was one of them,” Kilbride said.
Myers has been barred from doing home repair work in Massachusetts since 2011, and was previously ordered to pay more than $700,000 in Massachusetts for defrauding customers.
Kilbride said Myers was successful because he came off as “trustworthy,” and because his brochures seemed to be legitimate. He warned people to be alert about contractors who knock on doors seeking home-repair work.
“You can check their business out, remember that they have to give you a contract, they have to wait three days before they can do the work, and there’s a reason for that,” Kilrbide said. “And if you have any questions whatsoever, call the police.”