‘He’s a career criminal’: Woman scammed out of $19,000 for driveway repairs she thought would cost $50

‘He’s a career criminal’: Woman scammed out of $19,000 for driveway repairs she thought would cost $50
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 10:47 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Donnie Eames says a man who called himself David Swartz walked up to her door on April 27th and offered to fill in some cracks on her driveway.

“He was telling me how beautiful my lawn was, how shabby my driveway looked, but he could fix that,” Eames explained.

All it would cost was $50, according to Swartz.

“So, about 30 minutes later, maybe 45 minutes, he rang my doorbell, and he was done, and he was wanting to come in the house so he could write me a warranty. So, he came in and sat at my dining room table. He was over there writing something, and I don’t see too well, I have to look for a magnifying glass, so I didn’t really know what he wrote, but anyhow he said he needed two checks I said ‘two for $50?’ he says ‘it’s $19,000′,″ Eames said.

Eames wrote two checks for $9,500 each to someone named Luke Stanley.

Days later, Swartz came back to touch up his work and he charged Eames another $9,500.

“I said ‘you’re kidding.’ I said ‘you told me that it was going to be $50,’ he says ‘$50 a gallon.’ I said you didn’t mention a gallon,” Eames said.

After she wrote the third check she called her son who immediately recognized the man--Tommy Clack. Clack has been charged with pulling similar scams in other parts of the state.

Eames’ bank advised her to close the account before Clack cashed that third check.

“He was embarrassed. He said when he went to the bank to try and cash that third check, it wouldn’t go through. He came and asked me about it ‘why didn’t it go through?’ I said ‘because you wiped me out’.”

New Hanover Sheriff’s investigators arrested Clack in his hometown of Sanford, North Carolina on Tuesday, but he got out of jail on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

“He’s a career criminal and if you have information, if you have someone else come out that’s overcharged you, please call us, call your local law-enforcement, call the Sheriff’s Office and be careful. Do not let this criminal predator de fraud you,” New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon said. “He’s a very smooth talker, so really if anybody’s coming in to do that, I’d recommend don’t do it, call a legitimate company and get them to do the work. If it sounds too good to be true it is.”

Eames says she hopes by sharing her story she can save others from falling for the ‘too good to be true’ deal.

“It keeps me awake thinking about it . . . I mean, I should’ve caught on when he said that figure in the beginning. I shouldn’t have written any checks, I should’ve told him I didn’t have that kind of money.”

If you think you might have been scammed by Clack you are asked to contact the New Hanover County Sherriff’s Office at 910-798-4212.

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