joshua stokes.jpg

joshua stokes

An 86-year-old man was scammed out of $100,000 by fraudsters who faked home improvements, the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office says.

Deputies say the senior, who suffers from diminished mental capacity, paid suspects who claimed they were contractors who had worked on his house. But little to no work had been performed, and the charges were exorbitant, TPSO said.

One suspect, Joshua B. Stokes, of Ponchatoula, 24, was arrested Monday on 39 counts of exploitation of the infirm, home improvement fraud and criminal conspiracy.

TPSO and the Louisiana Governor's Office of Elderly Affairs investigated the matter.

In a news release, deputies advised anyone working with a contractor to check their references, obtain a detailed written estimate of work in advance and never agree to pay full cost of the project until it is at least halfway complete. Contractors need to be licensed by the state for any home improvement project over $7,500 and for any plumbing, electrical or HVAC work over $10,000.