5 Accused Of Bullying Elderly Into Paying Thousands

Police: Victims Paid Thousands For Work Never Performed

Indianapolis police have arrested five people accused of scamming elderly customers out of thousands of dollars for work that was never completed.

Police identified James Sansone, Ralph Pruett and Ashley Skaggs as principal figures in the home improvement fraud cases, and arrested the trio, along with Amber Pruett and Clara Brandt, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.

Investigators with the department's Organized Crime Unit said the group promised victims lawn care services, but substituting water for liquid fertilizer, and used threats of property liens and lawsuits to scare them into paying.

The group targeted at least eight individuals between 80 and 93 years old, all who lived alone, police said.

"The suspects want to attack their victims all by themselves. That's been common in all these cases," said Detective Gustavia Dotson.

An elderly south side woman in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's disease paid out more than $3,000 for tree trimming and lawn services that was never completed, investigators said.

"It's been a sad case because this goes on, and we believe there are other victims out there," said Lt. Jeff Duhamell.

Police said the group had no trucks, equipment or proof that they had actually performed any work.

Ralph Pruett has a prior conviction for home improvement fraud.

Anyone with information is asked to call police or Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.