A Connecticut man accused of being a traveling scam artist was arrested Thursday morning on fraud charges out of Stanislaus County when he appeared in a Tulare County court for a sentencing hearing in another case, state officials said.
George Stanley, 30, was arrested on suspicion of felony theft from an elderly person, grand theft by false pretenses and fraudulent use of a contractor's license number, according to the Contractors State License Board's Statewide Investigative Fraud Team.
By Thursday afternoon, Stanley had posted $15,000 bail and was released from custody. The investigators said they believe Stanley has victimized more than 50 Californians by doing more than $500,000 dollars in "substandard and exorbitantly priced" paving.
The investigators said Stanley and his accomplices set up their operations at a motel, scam people in the surrounding areas and move on. They approach home or business owners, saying they have leftover asphalt from a paving job and can resurface a driveway or fill potholes for a good price, investigators said.
The job ends up costing significantly more than the quoted price, and the work often crumbles within days or weeks, the investigators said. Victims have lost from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars each.
In September in Tulare County, the investigators said, Stanley pleaded no contest to a felony count of grand theft by false pretenses. He was ordered to pay restitution and was facing 16 months to three years in state prison at the hearing, which was postponed until May 18 because of his latest arrest.
"We hope other Californians who have been victimized by this serial scammer will come forward and let SWIFT investigators know," said Steve Sands, registrar for the license board. "It is important that scammers get the message that fraud won't be tolerated in this state."
Stanley also pleaded guilty to elder abuse, grand theft and contracting without a license in San Joaquin and Yuba counties, the fraud investigators said. He is scheduled for sentencing on those charges in July and could face state prison time if he has not paid restitution of $102,000 in San Joaquin County and $35,000 in Yuba County.
The fraud investigators said Stanley is scheduled for a hearing April 8 in Butte County on 31 felony counts of fraudulent use of a contractor's license and grand theft by false pretense.
The license board asks anyone who believes they have been scammed by Stanley or his accomplices to call investigators at 916-255-2924 in Northern California, 559-445-5583 in Central California or 562-345-7600 in Southern California.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2394.