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Scamming is an unfortunate reality that strikes many people when they think their luck is finally turning around. Scammers often target the elderly, young people living on their own for the first time, and people desperate for a good deal. It was no different in the case of a Woodridge, IL man.

David L. Briggs, 29, is facing two counts of felony theft by deception after charging an elderly man $117,000 for remodels that he never finished. One count is for the charges exceeding $100,000, and the other is for the victim being over the age of 60. Police were notified by the victim’s family after they were notified by the 79-year-old’s bank about the numerous payments going to Briggs.

The family’s statement says that the victim was told that Briggs owned a remodeling company. Briggs offered to complete numerous projects at the man’s Villa Park home, but then never completed them.

After interviewing Briggs and completing criminal subpoenas for his bank account, authorities found that the total cash amount came to about $117,000. Briggs had spent all of it without completing any of the remodels promised. He is now being held on $500,000 bail at the DuPage County Jail, and police encourage anyone else who may have similar dealings to contact them.

It is unfortunate incidents like this which overshadow a booming home remodel industry. The annual Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling shows most remodel projects on the rise, many making large jumps from last year. In fact, a simple bathroom remodel has a return on investment of 63.6%, placing it at number 10 on the list of top home remodels.

But scammers such as Briggs plant a seed of doubt in homeowners’ minds. The last thing anyone needs is to have tens of thousands of dollars worth of hard-earned money taken from them. The answer is simple, however: do your research. If something seems too good to be true, it likely is. Follow your instincts and ask around before hiring anyone. Homeowners can also check with the Better Business Bureau, and read reviews on websites such as Angie’s List.

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