A man has been charged with obtaining money by false pretenses and prohibited acts by a contractor after an eight-month investigation by Augusta County Sheriff's deputies.
David Byers of Front Royal-based Quality Paving and Seal Coating was arrested over the weekend.
However, for one Verona couple, it wasn't soon enough to save the bank account.
Bob and Eleanor Albers breathed a sigh of relief Monday when they learned Byers, the man they say took advantage of them when he paved their driveway, had been arrested.
It's an experience they hope to never have to go through again.
"So gut-wrenching. We just couldn't imagine that we did something like that, and it was all our fault," says Eleanor Albers.
However, according to the sheriff's office, it wasn't all their fault. Deputies say, when Byers resealed the Albers' driveway in December, he didn't have a contractors license.
It's a story the state Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation knows well.
"Paving scams are something that we hear far too much about," says DPOR spokesperson Mary Vaughan.
The Albers say, in early December, Byers showed up at their house and said he had some extra seal from another job. According to Vaughan, that is often the first sign something is wrong.
"Materials left-over is a big red flag. Legitimate contractors have enough work without going door to door," says Vaughan.
However, the Albers agreed to let Byers do the work and say they were shocked when he came in 45 minutes later with a big bill.
"Well, he said it was $8,000, and we said you must have made a mistake," recalls Eleanor.
The Albers say Byers asked them to sign the contract after he completed the work.
They did not have enough money in their checking account, so they say Byers met them at their bank and stood nearby watching while they took the money from their savings.
Eleanor says she remembers feeling intimidated with Byers in the bank with her, but she also felt obligated to pay.
It was a large loss for the retired couple.
"It's a lot of money, $8,000," says Eleanor.
"Especially when you're retired. A fixed income is fixed," agrees Bob.
DPOR advises people to get three estimates before hiring anyone to do work. Also, it tells people to watch out for out of state tags and contractors who knock on your door.
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