The Delaware Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Unit has indicted three individuals charged with committing home improvement frauds targeting older Delawareans.
Isaac K. Lovell, 44, of Bear was indicted on July 8, 2019 on charges including Racketeering, Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering, Home Improvement Fraud, and Theft Greater than $100,000. The indictment alleges that Lovell utilized his home improvement business, Phire-Fly Contracting Co., to defraud senior citizens, including an older woman from whom Lovell received over $600,000 between 2015 and 2017.
David H. Lovell, 48, of Wilmington was indicted on August 19, 2019, on charges including Racketeering and Home Improvement Fraud. The indictment against Lovell alleges that between 2015 and 2017, he used his home improvement business, DHL & Son Contracting, to defraud multiple elderly individuals. In a pattern similar to his brother’s, Lovell convinced his victims to pay him for home improvement services that he never completed.
Andrew W. Masserelli, 48, of Magnolia was indicted on August 5, 2019, on charges of Home Improvement Fraud and Theft Greater than $1,500. Between 2016 and 2018, Masserelli and his business, Drew’s Tree Service, allegedly defrauded multiple homeowners, including two senior citizens, by failing to substantially complete tree removal work on their properties after accepting money.
CPU advises Delawareans hiring a contractor for home improvement work to be alert for scams, and to help avoid them by doing homework before hiring a contractor:
- Contractors should always be bonded and maintain all required licenses for mechanical work.
- Get references and follow up on them, including conducting online searches and searching for companies at the Delaware Better Business Bureau’s website.
- Do research and talk to friends and neighbors about a contractor’s reputation.
- Always have terms with contractors memorialized in writing.
- Never pay for the work in cash or in full up front, keep detailed payment records, and withhold final payment until you are satisfied with the work.