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One arrested, another sought in home improvement scheme

Matt Zapotosky

One man has been arrested and Montgomery County police are searching for another in connection with a home improvement scam investigators believe netted the suspects more than $500,000 for work they never did, authorities said Tuesday.

Mario Ramirez-Cadenas, 25, who has no fixed address, was picked up by police in Wichita, Kansas, on a separate domestic violence charge, and he is now awaiting extradition to Montgomery County to face charges for the fraud there, authorities said.

Police are still searching for the man they believe is his co-conspirator, Leslie Alberto Irias, 39, of Leesburg, authorities said.

Irias (Montgomery County Police).

The scheme dates back to November 2006, when they entered into a contract with a 55-year-old Wheaton woman to tear down her house and build a new one, authorities said.

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, netting themselves more than $500,000, authorities said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police’s financial crimes section at 240-773-6330.

-- Matt Zapotosky

By Matt Zapotosky  |  December 30, 2009; 10:10 AM ET
Categories:  Matt Zapotosky , Montgomery  | Tags: Leslie Alberto Irias, Mario Ramirez-Cadenas, home improvement  
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Celebrate diversity!!!

Posted by: TooManyPeople | December 30, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

More trash from south of the border, what a shocker.

Posted by: islandhopper24 | December 30, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Anyone stupid enough not to get several estimates on home improvement work and not thoroughly check out references and previous work by contractors deserves to be scammed.

Posted by: checkered1 | December 30, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Don't get nailed by an unlicensed contractor. Use to check if your contractor is licensed to do work in Washington DC.

Posted by: consumerprotection | December 30, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

When you reach retirement age (55) things change for some people. You realize how short life is and you tend to trust people more. Your reflexes are slowed and you do not think as sharp as you once did. That does not mean to just roll over and die because we each have a right to be here. Con artist talk fast and smooth and win your trust easily especially if they are the same race and speak the same language. I do not believe the lady was "stupid" because if she was she would not have a house in the first place and she would not have $90,000 to give anybody. The scum that prey on innocent people will be caught and punished.

Posted by: peace4all2 | December 31, 2009 5:01 AM | Report abuse

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