Orlando Seniors Need to Remain Vigilant for Tricky Travelers

Beware of the “Travelers”

Polk County officials nabbed five members of the nomadic thieves who go around the country under the name of “Travelers”. These members of the Travelers specialized in defrauding area senior citizens. Their mode of operation is to target senior citizens offering to do free roof or property inspections. Inevitably they find problems in areas which would be inaccessible to the seniors most commonly the roof.

They then give a quote for the repair of the damages and after accepting cash payment proceed to make either no real repairs, or in many situations end up causing more damage to the property. The group of suspects captured by the police comes from multiple locations around the nation. The suspects are their origins are listed below:

  • Bartholomew Rafferty – Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Patrick Rafferty – Hagerstown, Maryland
  • Alexander Parker – Bear, Delaware
  • Charles Evans – Fairwinds, Delaware
  • Name of fifth suspect not released – 17 year old minor – East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

The police had set up a sting operation to capture the travelers having a senior citizen, whose roof had been previously inspected and certified in perfect condition, accept bids and inspections from two teams of the Travelers. In both cases the suspects requested $600 or $975 after presenting the “victim” with fraudulent insurance documents. In one case they inspection reported the perfect roof had dry rot, loose nails and other problems.

Victim Comes to His Senses and Contacts Police

The 17 year old suspect was captured in a separate incident as he attempted to defraud an area senior. He had already supposedly repaired the roof by pouring on a bucket of roofing tar and some rocks. He foolishly tried to get additional money from his victim for additional problems he had discovered. This request leads to the senior contacting the police and the arrest of the suspect.

These recent arrests make it clear seniors in the area, and all other residents, need to verify contractor are licensed and check references before paying for work. If you suspect anyone is avoiding providing you with proper information notify your local police department. They can quickly check the facts and take action if necessary.

Multiple Charges Facing the Suspects

The groups of 5 men are facing a series of charges for their actions. Charges currently filed include:

  • Exploitation of the Elderly
  • Burglary
  • Grand Theft
  • Worker’s Compensation Fraud

It is important to note the charges of exploitation of the elderly requires the senior to be diminished mentally or physically, not just the fact they are elderly. The charges can be accompanied with very multi-year sentences. In another Florida case a woman was sentenced to 9 years on a single charge of exploitation of the elderly.

The cases against the four men should be very strong since they were part of an orchestrated sting operation. The criminal defense attorneys working on these cases may have a challenging time in court. The suspects will need to listen closely to their Orlando attorneys to have the best chance of getting reduced sentences or any form of leniency from the courts or the District Attorney’s office.

Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.

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