Johnston County Man Accused In Landscape Scam
Posted June 22, 2006 10:16 a.m. EDT
CLAYTON, N.C. — Investigators said a Johnston County man scammed more than a dozen people of more than $120,000 and said they believe there could be more victims.
Richard Layton pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count of obtaining property under false pretense. A judge sentenced him to three years probation and ordered him to repay one victim more than $2,700.
"He just took advantage of these hard-working folks," said detective Nancy Harvey with the Clayton Police Department.
Police said Layton took money from at least 14 people, but they believe there are more victims and more criminal charges to come.
"I need the help of the victims to come forward and tell me, so hopefully I can intervene, provide some assistance and put him back in jail where he belongs," Harvey said.
Dale Witt said he hired Layton to plant trees and lay sod in his front yard and signed a contract with him to continue the yard maintenance, giving him $700 in advance.
"I had to call him constantly to come," Witt said. "He wouldn't come. He always had some kind of excuse."
In a phone interview, Layton told WRAL that he made some mistakes, but that he was not trying to scam anyone. He also said he is working to pay back the money he owes.