Oakwood officer is top cop
A family-operated roofing business bilked six homeowners out of more than $20,000 when they took their money and failed to make repairs in what is a common scam, authorities said.
A Hall County grand jury this week indicted Bill Bowers Sr., 46, his son, Bill Bowers Jr., 27, and their live-in girlfriends, Misti Harakas, 30 and Ashley Ray, 27, on six counts of felony theft by conversion.
Hall County Sheriff's Sgt. Kiley Sargent said the charges would have numbered in the dozens, but the Bowers, owners of Gainesville-based Family Restorations, agreed to make good on repair work they originally failed to perform for other victims.
"I strongly believe that if the victims had not come forward, they would not have returned to do the work," Sargent said.
Sargent said when sheriff's officials first investigated, there were as many as 30 victims identified.
The business recruited customers after hail storms left roof damage to some homes in July and October 2009, Sargent said. The women generally made the sales pitch, asking residents to turn their insurance checks over directly to the company, Sargent said.
"Once they got the contracts signed, the men would start the work, then they would leave, and not come back to finish."
The victims identified in the indictment lived in Gillsville and Gainesville. Their total losses were $22,314, according to the indictment.
Sargent said repair work scams are commonly seen in the wake of bad weather.
"We encourage folks to pay (repair workers) as they go," he said. "We never suggest giving them all the money at once, just for this reason."