For homeowners and businesses owners alike, electricity is an integral part of everyday function and productivity, but homes and businesses may need electrical repairs from time to time.
For the most part, however, home and business owners assume that the electrician they hired wasn’t a con artist.
In San Diego California, one business owner learned the hard way that not all people are who they claim to be.
According to ABC 10 News, Kerri Boyles, a resident and business owner in El Cajon, California, recently realized that she had been duped by who she thought was her electrician.
For the past few months, Boyle has been in the process of opening Dick and Jane Waxing Salon, a unisex hair removal and beauty parlor. In the midst of this process, Boyle received a call from Paul Larmour.
“He said he had been hired by the property management to do an inspection and wanted to schedule an appointment,” Boyle told ABC 10.
The business owner complied and let Larmour “inspect” her salon’s electric systems. Upon “inspection” Larmour claimed that the business needed an updated alarm system and fuse box.
On the spot, Boyle wrote Larmour a $500 check.
She continued to write the man checks, paying him for various services he claimed that the business required.
At the time, Boyle thought nothing of it. Larmour had told her that he had done every other business’s sign in the shopping center.
Overall, Boyle paid Larmour $1700 for his claimed services. But when she asked for an invoice, he began to ignore her.
Soon after, Boyle found dust on the circuit breaker that Larmour had also said he would fix. That’s when she knew she had been scammed.
“I felt sick to my stomach and stupid,” Boyles recalled to ABC 10.
But Boyle wasn’t alone. Apparently, Larmour had been committing similar fraudulent acts around the area for years.
In 2010, ABC 10 uncovered that Larmour had been charged with 58 counts, but had only gotten a year of jail time.
Ultimately, Boyle felt that she could have prevented the scam had she asked for Larmour’s license, and the scenario serves as a cautionary tale for homeowners and business owners alike.