WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — A man was arrested, accused of scamming homeowners out of hundreds of dollars in Westfield.
Police said 28-year-old Joshua Ziko is now facing several charges, including three counts of home improvement fraud including victims who are at least 60 years old, a level 6 felony, two felony counts of theft, four counts of misdemeanor theft and three counts of misdemeanor home improvement fraud.
One of the victims served in World War II and the Korean War. Carl Klutey told 24-Hour News 8 he has never experienced anything like this before where someone took his money.
He said he did not file a police report, but his neighbors did.
“He was just a con man is what it was,” said Klutey.
Klutey said a man showed up at his door last year and identified himself as Joshua Ziko. He told him he was working on his neighbor’s driveway.
“He came over and propositioned me for mine, he wanted to do mine,” Klutey said. “I kept saying no and he kept after me and after me.”
The two talked for about an hour before Klutey said he gave in.
“Finally I said okay you can do it, but he said well I need a down payment,” Klutey said.
So Klutey wrote him a check for $100. He said Ziko gave him a receipt showing how he would seal the driveway, fill in large cracks, and other stuff.
“I accepted the deal,” said Klutey, “He said he had to go get some materials and he’ll be back but he never showed up.”
Police said six other people reported similar incidents. They received the first report last May. Court documents show investigators believe Ziko presented himself as a contractor for two different paving and sealing companies, May Sealing and Affordable Paving and Roofing.
Victims in all cases made payments for contracted work, ranging from a $350 check to $1,000 in cash, prior to Ziko completing the agreed-on improvements. According to police, Ziko made varying degrees of progress on the driveway repairs, telling customers he would return to complete his work, but failed to return and did not provide refunds after several attempts on the part of victims to contact him.
Opal Wyatt said she should have known better.
“He knocked on my door I let him in. He had a little child with him. They came in and he talked to me about my driveway and resurfacing it,” Wyatt said. “I asked him where his stuff was because they usually have their stuff with them. He said, ‘well, I have to go out and buy it and have it delivered here and I’ll come and do the work.’”
Wyatt said she lost $550.
“He took the money and said thanks a lot and I assumed he was going to buy the stuff for my driveway and I never saw the man again,” Wyatt said.
So how can you protect yourself from becoming a victim? The Better Business Bureau said you want to check to see if the company is legitimate, check references from previous work, and make sure the business is licensed and registered to do work in your area.
Meanwhile, Ziko has since bonded out of the Hamilton County Jail, according to court records. His initial hearing is scheduled for the 18th.