Avrum Elmakis, the owner of pet treat company Best Bully Sticks, told Richmond BizSense that a man walked into his Northside business Monday and said that he was with the road crew paving a nearby street. Elmakis said he later identified the person as George Stanley from several news clips about nearly identical scams around the country.
Elmakis said Stanley told him that he had some extra material left over and that he could pave his lot for almost nothing. Stanely was wearing a hard hat and construction clothing.
“He came in here really confidently and even got the pronunciation of my name right,” Elmakis said.
But Stanley doesn’t work for the paving company, Lehigh Asphalt and Paving. Elmakis found that out when the foreman for the actual city paving contract walked up and asked him who was doing the paving for the lot.
“I said, ‘You guys are,'” Elmakis said. “And the foreman said, ‘No, we’re not.'”
Stanley has been arrested in a handful of states for running a similar scheme, according to news reports.
There are various versions of the scam, but Stanley quoted Elmakis an initial price of $2,500 for repaving a lot that might normally cost closer to $20,000. Then he changed the price to $24,000 and said he needed half in cash right away. Elmakis said he agreed because he thought he was getting a great deal, and the lot needed to be paved. He made the check out to G. Henry Stanley.
When Elmakis got back from lunch Thursday, Stanley and his accomplices were trying leave the lot with their construction equipment. They only did about $1,000 of grading and gravel work.
Elmakis said he confronted Stanley and demanded his money back, only getting back half of the $12,000 he paid before the crew went on its way.
The scam can also target homeowners, according to various news reports. Stanley and his accomplices allegedly set up in an area and then move on.
Aaron Kremer is the BizSense editor. Please send news tips to [email protected]