Local News

Chapel Hill man pleads guilty to swindling $3M from older homeowners

Posted January 26, 2021 1:45 p.m. EST

— A Chapel Hill man pleaded guilty Tuesday to cheating older homeowners in Durham, Orange and Chatham counties out of more than $3.2 million in a home repair scam, federal authorities said.

Jorge Alberto Garcia agreed to a plea deal in which he will serve seven years in prison on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and two counts of failure to file income tax returns. He will be sentenced in June.

Garcia, who also went by Alberto Garcia and Roberto Garcia, would offer home improvement services to retired people, many of whom had physical or mental disabilities, authorities said. He would collect the money but never complete projects, and he would develop personal relationships with the people to solicit loans from them as well, authorities said.

In at least one instance, Garcia received a check for such a loan and returned to the man’s home later that same day to request the loan again, authorities said. The man, not remembering that he had written the first check, issued yet another check for the same amount.

“Jorge Garcia targeted and systematically ripped off more than a hundred elderly victims without a second thought. These types of crimes will not be tolerated. Justice was served today, and the FBI hopes his federal prison sentence provides some comfort and a sense of security to the victims,” Robert Wells, FBI special agent in charge, said in a statement.  

Authorities also said that Garcia and his wife have filed no federal income taxes since 2007, either personally or for their respective businesses.

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