And the award for “Biggest Sleaze” goes to the owner of L&J Lawn Service of Central Texas lawn care service, Lus Fuentes.
According to the Temple Daily Telegram, on June 27, 2018, Fuentes, 60, was indicted on charges of theft of property after he was alleged to have overcharged a woman suffering from dementia. Fuentes wound up overcharging a the woman by over $47,000 in lawn care services, assuming the woman would be none-the-wiser.
Over the course of seven years, Fuentes kept up his scheme until the woman’s son called the Belton Police Department back in January to turn Fuentes in. According to the lawn service’s advertising, they offer a “senior discount” of $3,600 per year. Based on the son’s complaint, Fuentes had been charging the woman that amount multiple times a year.
Fuentes had charged the woman a total of $76,145— $47,345 of which was the overpaid amount from 2013 to 2018. It’s a good thing he had that money, though, because he needed $10,000 of it to post bail on May 9, after he was arrested the previous day.
When pressed by the Telegram, Fuentes had no comment about the incident or his charges. Paul Romer, the spokesperson for the City of Belton, assures that the local police department takes financial abuse against senior citizens seriously.
“Criminal charges are certainly appropriate whenever illegal, wanton behavior is present,” he said. “The vulnerable are often targets and must be protected.”
It’s currently unknown if Fuentes targeted more than just one customer with his business tactic, but if there are more, the police investigation will surely uncover them.
There is a good lesson to be had from Fuentes' scheme.
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