AG Hawley announces Jefferson City contractor sentenced to 10 years in prison for financial exploitation of the elderly in Jefferson County
JEFFERSON CITY, MO/January 8, 2017 (STL.News) – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced that Donald J. Harralston, 34, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for financial exploitation of the elderly in the Jefferson County Circuit Court. Harralston promised seven Jefferson County homeowners he would perform repairs and roofing but instead took their down payments and then failed to do the work or provide any materials.
The Court sentenced Harralston to 10 years in prison and will require Harralston to pay restitution of $18,156 to the victims once he is released from prison.
“Verdicts like this make clear that those who prey upon the elderly will not get away with it in Missouri,” Hawley said. “My Office will continue to protect consumers from scammers, and scammers will continue to be punished for their crimes.”
Attorney General Hawley recommends the following tips to avoid being scammed:
- Always have a written contract before any work is done on your home or property. Make sure you have a detailed scope of the work to be provided.
- Ask for and check references for past jobs.
- Never pay cash. Always pay by check. If there is a problem, it helps the authorities in obtaining information to hopefully find the scammers.
- Before signing a contract, check with the Missouri Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-392-8222 and the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been complaints about the contractor.
Assistant Attorney General Steven Reed prosecuted the case along with Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Forrest Wegge. Investigator Tyler Wood investigated the case for the Office.