WAKEFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — A Wakefield man is devastated after giving his life savings to a driveway paving company, and the Target 12 Investigators have learned that company is under investigation after six more homeowners claim the same thing happened to them.
The state is calling it “excessive over-charging,” and said the owner of MTY Paving targeted elderly homeowners, charged them outrageous prices and in some cases – didn’t even complete the work.
Not only is the company being investigated for over-charging, but their customers claim they were bullied into paying cash on the spot, and even driven to their bank by the company’s owner to withdraw it.
Richard Briggs, 86, could barely keep his composure after handing over his life savings for a half-finished paving job by 27-year-old Mark Young, Jr. of East Providence, owner of MTY Paving.
“They said ‘we do it pretty cheap, we got some leftover asphalt and we can put it down for you,'” Briggs recalled . “I said ‘well what is it going to cost me?'”
Briggs said he never got a price for the job, because before he could refuse, the pavers were already pouring the asphalt. When they were finished, Briggs was charged $16,000.
“I said ‘well, I’ll have to go to the bank,’ and they said ‘we’ll follow you down,'” Briggs added. “When I got down to the bank, I pulled in and they pulled in behind me and blocked me in.”
After the paving company got their $16,000 in cash from Briggs, Target 12 learned they made another stop at an elderly man’s home just up the street from him.
“I’m expecting a quote of $1,000 to $1,300 to do what I wanted done,” said Don Emery of Wakefield. “He said it was going to be $11,000. I said ‘what?!'”
What happened next infuriated Emery’s son.
“They took him to the bank in their truck,” said Kevin Emery, before confirming that his father withdrew the $11,000.
George Whalen, director of the Rhode Island Contractors Registration Board, said Young has six claims against him since May, all of which allege overpricing and shoddy workmanship, and all involving senior citizens.
Young’s registration was revoked, but according to Whalen, he continues to work illegally.
“He was blatantly doing work without it,” Whalen said. “At that point, the board had to take more aggressive action.”
Unfortunately, that action probably will not mean refunds for some of Young’s customers, whose life savings are now gone.
“It’s a lot of money, I really don’t have it,” said Briggs. “It really drew me right down.”
Target 12 spoke with Young on the phone. He said the claims against him are false, and he’s “not a mobster.” We’ve also learned that South Kingstown police have started an investigation into Young and the claims against him.
The Rhode Island Contractors Registration Board told Target 12 that driveway paving schemes are on the rise this time of year, and if someone comes knocking on your door unsolicited – just say no, no matter how good of a deal they offer.
Before hiring a paving contractor, make sure they’re insured, and never cave in to making a quick decision just to get a good deal.
Bottom line – if you’re going to have someone pave your driveway, get three estimates, and never pay up front in cash. Also, be sure to always get an invoice or a contract for the work that’s done.