In Ohio, Union County Prosecutor David Phillips went to the local senior center to educate the elderly about potential scams to be aware of to avoid becoming victims. After listening to his speech at the center, a 69-year-old woman called his office the following day to report a contractor who ripped her off in a roofing scam.
Due to hail damage, the woman was given a check for $5,312.41 from her insurance company to make the necessary repairs to her roof. A man who came to her interested in making the repairs to her roof took that insurance check as payment for the work he planned to do, only to never been heard from or seen again.
This man’s name is James Twaddle, of Restore It USA in Reynoldsburg. Phillips was in touch with the Ohio Attorney General, Mike DeWine, to inquire if any others had reported fraudulent activity involving Twaddle, and it turns out many had. Twaddle’s roofing scam (and other contracting job scams) was actually an incredibly expansive operation.
A grand jury in Union County has now indicted Twaddle on racketeering charges, along with theft from an elderly or disabled person, grand theft, money laundering, and insurance fraud. This is the result of a year-long investigation into Twaddle’s roofing scam, and the discovery that 42 residents between nine counties fell victim to him.
The indictment states that homeowners in Coshocton, Fairfield, Franklin, Hamilton, Licking, Montgomery, Pickaway, Ross, and Union counties have had a total of over $163,000 stolen from them through Twaddle’s roofing scam. He has never once done any of the work he had committed to for the money that he stole. If convicted, Twaddle faces up to 21.5 years in prison.
In addition to the crimes related to the roofing scams for which he’s being tried in Ohio, authorities are further investigating his activities in Indiana, North Carolina and Missouri for claims of fraud. A majority of the money Twaddle has taken was from the elderly.
The stolen money supported Twaddle’s expensive taste; he purchased high-end clothing, sporting gear, and other luxury items, including a $17,000 engagement ring.
Authorities have referred to Twaddle as a “storm chaser,” meaning that he capitalized on areas that had been hit by severe storms. He would promise to repair the damages for vulnerable clients, never intending on completing the jobs. Twaddle used sophisticated computer software that assesses the damage that may have occurred after a storm, with details as specific as individual streets that have been hit the hardest. He would then send out his employees to these particularly devastated neighborhoods to commit to work and collect payment, and then they would never go back.