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Man sentenced in "granny ripping" scheme

It is known as "granny ripping," or "getting granny" -- targeting elderly homeowners and scamming them into paying for unnecessary home repairs or utility work that is never done at all.

Now, the final of three defendants have been sentenced in U.S. District Court in Alexandria for participating in such a scheme. Donald Ray Norcross, 26, of Culpeper, on Friday received a 27-month prison term for defrauding the homeowners of tens of thousands of dollars through bogus repairs and services. He was ordered to pay $27,100 in restitution.

“Robbing vulnerable seniors is a shameful crime that can’t be tolerated,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride, who added that the investigation, which is continuing, is one of many in which prosecutors are seeking “to ensure that the elderly in our communities are protected from this despicable kind of fraud.”

Prosecutors said the scam targeted mainly homeowners in Northern Virginia but also Maryland. Conspirators would trick the victims into paying thousands of dollars multiple times for the same work, issuing replacement checks for checks that had been “lost” and writing checks in the names of people who had done no work, prosecutors said.

In one instance, court documents said, a victim identified only as G.D. last year wrote out $8,500 in checks for work repairing supposed water damage — when there was no such damage — and to replace a sewer water pump. The work was never done, court documents said.

G.D., of Vienna, was 86 years old.

--Jerry Markon

By Washington Post editors  |  February 26, 2010; 11:58 AM ET
Categories:  From the Courthouse , Jerry Markon  
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The elderly are so easy to con.

Posted by: uncivil | February 26, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Even the term "granny ripping" is as dispicable as the practice. It shows even a more depraved thought proceess, and a level of heartlessness that deserves severe punishment.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 26, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

hey.... times are rough... lol

Posted by: rockettonu | February 26, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

death penalty

Posted by: FiatBooks | February 26, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm not looking forward to old age. It's gonna be HELL. Excuse me, HECK. Boo hoo!

Posted by: uncivil | February 26, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

“Robbing vulnerable seniors is a shameful crime that can’t be tolerated,”

Is there someone who can be robbed where it is not a shameful crime? Shouldn't it be "Robbing *people* is a shameful crime that can't be tolerated."

Posted by: TJ1743 | February 26, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

27 Months is nothing for the crime that was committed!!! This greedy SOB should have gotten at least 10 years and a day so he would have to serve the whole 10 years!! Anyone who rips off OUR retired Citizens should be made an example of in sentencing and probation to follow the prison term!!!

Posted by: Klimax | February 27, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The elderly are like children. They can be easily manipulated by crooks and con men. It's sad.

Posted by: jabreal00 | February 27, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Everyone should be checking in on their older relatives to see if anyone has offered to repair, or change something on their property. This way we can help determine if they are beinging scammed or not. Ask questions, and review out puts of money for those that you feel are vuneralble. Let's help those we love!

Posted by: rmccoysr | March 1, 2010 3:32 AM | Report abuse

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