GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Two men were indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday for their scheme to defraud an elderly Holland homeowner out of nearly $300,000.
James Robert Black -- also known as "Jim Gribble" and "Victor Valentine" -- and Tyler Maurice Harris are charged together in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Harris, 24, was taken into custody and appeared in court Wednesday. Black's whereabouts are still unknown.
The indictment says Black, 55, and Harris defrauded an elderly Holland homeowner of $298,000 through a fraudulent home repair scheme. The homeowner hired Black, who went by the name "Jim Gribble," to do a roof repair. Black and Harris then persuaded the homeowner to pay almost $300,000 for a series of false problems associated with the project which included dangerous working conditions, employee injuries, lawsuits and taxes.
Harris also faces a separate charge of welfare fraud.
The conspiracy charge carries a possible prison term of 20 years, and the wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years.
An investigation into the activities of Black and Harris are ongoing. Anyone who believes they have dealt with either man and are the victim of fraud should call Homeland Security Investigations at 616-235-3936 or the U.S. Attorney's Office at 616-808-2034.
Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Black should call Homeland Security Investigations.
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