Police: Senior was coerced into paying for driveway work

Georgia man facing charges

GREENFIELD — An 85-year-old Greenfield man told police he was tricked into paying $16,000 to have his driveway repaved by a man who claimed to be working for the local county highway department.

Now prosecutors have charged a Georgia man with three counts of felony home improvement fraud. A warrant has been issued for the man’s arrest, and police are searching for him, officials said.

A Greenfield resident came forward recently to report that, in July, some men who said they were working for the Hancock County Highway Department visited his home along County Road 300W and offered to repave his driveway with materials they had leftover from work they were doing nearby.

The alleged victim said he spoke briefly with one of the men — later identified by police as 27-year-old Eddie Harrison of Acworth, Georgia, according to court documents — who said his crew would charge $2 per foot of repaving. Because the victim’s driveway was about 100 feet long, the full job would cost about $200, Harrison had said, according to court documents.

The alleged victim told police he agreed to have the work done, and he signed an initial contract with Harrison for the $200 project, court documents state.

But when the work was complete, Harrison ripped up the original contract and pressured the alleged victim into signing a new one, court documents state. The paperwork stated 8,500 square feet had been repaved and called for the victim to pay $16,000, court documents state.

The alleged victim said he never expected the cost of the repaving to be so high, but he felt pressured to write Harrison a check for the full amount, court documents state.

The check was quickly cashed by Harrison at a local bank, court documents state.

The alleged victim was given copies of the final bill, which he handed over to police. The bill showed Harrison’s signature and listed his company as R&M Road Materials, court documents state.

The company does not exist, police later learned; the address for its office led investigated to a hotel in Greenwood, where employees said they’d never seen Harrison, according to court documents.

The Hancock County Highway Department also confirmed Harrison and his crew were not working for the county, court documents state.

Police used security camera footage and Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles records to confirm Harrison was the one to speak with the alleged victim and cash the man’s check, court documents state.

Harrison now faces three counts of home improvement fraud, two as Level 5 felony counts and one as a Level 6 felony, court documents state. He’s accused of illegally misrepresenting the cost of the work and whom he was working for, court documents state.

Each Level 5 felony count Harrison faces carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison. The Level 6 felony count he faces a carries a maximum penalty of 2.5 years in prison.

Because Harrison is from out of state, prosecutors believe he might have fled the area. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call police at 317-477-4400.

Author photo
Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.