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Second suspect found in home improvement scheme

Dan Morse

A construction worker in Miami who was watching "America's Most Wanted" this month, saw a coworker and picked up the phone.

"I'm 100 percent sure it's him," the viewer reportedly told the show's operators, said Cpl. Dan Friz, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Police Department.

"Him," according to Friz, is Leslie Alberto Irias, 39, who had been wanted in connection an alleged Washington-area home improvement scam. Police say that Irias and an accomplice swindled more than $500,000 from people for work not completed.

U.S. Marshals responded to the America's Most Wanted tip, and eventually found Irias inside a hardware store in South Florida, Friz said. Irias has waived extradition, police said, meaning a Montgomery officer or officers probably will fly down and retrieve him soon.

Authorities in Wichita, Kansas, earlier had picked up Mario Ramirez-Cadenas, 25, who has since been brought back to Montgomery County, where he posted bond and was released from custody pending his court case, Friz said.

Police allege that the scheme dates back to November 2006, when the duo entered into a contract with a 55-year-old Wheaton woman to tear down her house and build a new one. The woman paid the men $90,000, and then they and their construction company vanished without doing any work, police said. Investigators believe they might have performed the same scheme elsewhere in Montgomery County and Northern Virginia.

-- Dan Morse

By Dan Morse  |  February 25, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Dan Morse , Montgomery  
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