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North Carolina Man Pleads Guilty To Hurricane Repair Fraud

Rising flood waters brought on by Hurricane Florence threaten a building off highway 70 in Goldsboro, N.C., Sunday, Sep. 16, 2018.
Ben McKeown


A North Carolina man who admitted that he never completed repair work he was hired to do after Hurricane Florence has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the scam, a district attorney said.

Stanley Winslow Sears, 46, of Pinetops, pleaded guilty in a Carteret County court to two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense , District Attorney Scott Thomas said in a news release. Thomas said Sears has begun paying restitution to some of his victims.

Thomas says Sears met with one victim at what appeared to be a legitimate job site, showed them a written proposal and requested half of the price upfront.

According to Thomas, the victim paid Sears $5,330. In return, Sears said he would start the job in two days, but Thomas said Sears made excuses and never showed up for the job or completed any work.

Thomas says another victim paid Sears $3,125 to repair roof damage after the storm in 2018 but he never showed up.

A judge on Wednesday sentenced Sears to 16 to 38 months in prison, but suspended that sentence and placed Sears on five years of supervised probation and ordered him to pay a minimum of $300 in restitution each month. A judge says if he fails to make a monthly payment, he will serve two weekends in jail, along with continued payments and probation.

The judge also ordered Sears to provide a copy of his criminal record to any possible customers before making any agreements to do construction, repair or remodeling work.

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