A man has been sentenced for his role in defrauding a 91-year-old Alexandria resident, Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter said in a news release.
Robert McCloud Jr., 39, of Culpepper, Virginia was sentenced on one count of conspiracy to obtain money by false pretenses, a felony. Judge James C. Clark sentenced McCloud to 20 years in the penitentiary, with all but two years and five months of his sentence suspended.
Following his release, McCloud will be under the supervision of a probation officer for 20 years. He is also ordered to pay $61,000 in restitution to the victim.
Evidence in the case established McCloud led a group of co-conspirators who met the victim in February of 2015. The defendant claimed to have inspected the victim’s home for damage caused by squirrels. The defendant told the victim he had found holes in the roof and that, as a result, insulation had to be replaced. He also claimed preventative measures like tree trimming and other forms of pest control were necessary.
The defendant quoted the victim $3,500 for the supposed repairs. The victim agreed to pay the defendant and his associates by check. The victim was convinced over the span of a week to write checks that totaled $11,800 for work that was never done.
After McCloud collected that money, he told the victim further work was needed. He claimed copper pipes and insulation needed replacement. Each time the defendant and his co-conspirators received a check for the purported work, they would tell the victim more work was needed that would, in turn, require further payment.
Some of the repairs they claimed were necessary included fixing cracks on the chimney cap, fixing and sealing flashing on the chimney, fixing a hole in the roof, replacing tin on the roof, putting new wood in the roof, putting down shot gun repels and a squirrel alert system. The victim, in total, paid the defendant and co-conspirators $61,083.
“The financial exploitation of vulnerable victims is tantamount to extortion and is one of the vilest forms of theft of which I am aware. It is unusual for a person convicted of financial crimes to be sent to the penitentiary, and the significant sentence handed down by the court in this case is illustrative of the gravity of this crime,” Porter’s statement read in part.
The defendant is serving time in the Central Virginia Regional Jail.