BELLA VISTA, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Bella Vista Police Department has issued warrants for the arrest of four individuals accused in cases related to theft by deception, including deceiving an elderly Bella Vista resident with dementia out of more than $80,000.
Warrants have been issued for Adam Houston, 35, of Reeds, Mo.; Shannon Myers, 43, of Carthage, Mo.; Makayla Houston, 32, of Jasper, Mo.; and LeRoy Ellis Stark, III, 31, of Pine Bluff, Ark., according to a release from the City of Bella Vista on Tuesday.
Charges for all four are theft of property and criminal penalties for the abuse of an endangered or impaired person — both Class B felonies.
The city says the four suspects are known for operating deceptive business practices in the four-state area: Northwest Arkansas, northeast Oklahoma, southeast Kansas, and southwest Missouri.
According to the release, several incidents were reported in Bella Vista in June 2021 involving these individuals scamming elderly residents out of money for work done on their homes that was “unnecessary or incomplete.”
“In most cases, two of the four would show up to a residence and offer to do work, such as driveway resurfacing, yard work or roof cleaning. The subjects would then either be paid up front and never return or would pretend to perform such work and find other jobs they said needed done, such as chimney cleaning,” the City of Bella Vista said on Tuesday.
All victims in the reported cases were over the age of 70.
In one report, an elderly man with dementia in February paid the alleged scammers approximately $81,000 in multiple installments for a few trees cut, a small deck painted, and a small amount of concrete work.
When detectives asked reputable contractors to quote the actual cost of these projects, estimates received totaled only about $7,000.
Multiple payments to Houston and the others resulted in the man’s bank account balance to be thousands of dollars in the negative, the city said.
Houston pleaded guilty in 2019 in Jasper County, Mo. to deceptive business practices and was ordered to refrain from entering into any contract with elderly individuals, according to police documents.
The City of Bella Vista advisers residents to be leery of those who show up at your door offering to do work, especially if it seems unneccesary, like sealing a roof.
Never pay for services up front, and don’t let any workers into your home if you don’t them, they said.
If you have any information regarding these individuals, contact the Bella Vista Police Department at (479( 855-3771.