93-year-old man with dementia targeted in tree trimming scam

Spaulding's Tree Experts named in state lawsuit

INDIANAPOLIS - The Attorney General's office has accused an Indianapolis business of taking advantage of a 93-year-old man with dementia.

According to court documents, Spaulding's Tree Experts, of 6851 East 34th Street, convinced Benjamin Paul to write a check for $7,500 for tree trimming services.

“Indiana’s new statute closed a loophole to address the situation where a senior was intimidated or coerced into turning over their property or paying for a service,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said. “This lawsuit is an example of why our state law needed to be strengthened and how seniors are often targeted because of their vulnerability and financial resources.”

The victim and his daughter declined the tree trimming service in July after the company went to their home. According to documents, the company returned to the victim’s home six days later and convinced the homeowner, who suffers from dementia, to enter into a $6,000 contract.

The homeowner wrote two checks, but the company came back and said the checks were written incorrectly, officials said.

Court documents said the company convinced the victim to enter into two new contracts totaling $9,500, but the contracts were for the same services as the first contract.

On July 16, Steve Spaulding allegedly only trimmed a few branches from a few trees and incorrectly attempted to fill a cavity in one tree with spray foam insulation, Call 6 Investigator Rafael Sanchez reported.

Spaulding’s Tree Experts is accused of violating the Senior Consumer Protection Act, Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, Home Improvements Contract Act and the Home Solicitation Sales Act.

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