Special Note: An August 28th article published by the Deseret News explores the possibility that the Landmark Paving in Arizona may actually have nothing to do with the individuals caught scamming homeowners in Utah. The Deseret News reports that these scammers will hide behind the names of established companies as part of the scam.
On August 21st, 2008, I presented the story of an 87-year-old man who was bilked out of $13,000 in a driveway paving scam in Provo, Utah. KTVX Channel 4 (includes video) in Salt Lake is the only Utah media outlet taking an interest in the case.
And on August 27th, thanks in part to KTVX's continued investigative journalism, some potential suspects were nabbed. Two employees of Landmark Paving were pulled over, cited, and their vehicles towed. Police then questioned the employees to determine the nature and scope of their involvement in this scam. The standard modus operandi, according to Provo Detective Joe Otti, is to "either quote a low price, or [not even] talk about pricing up front; they'll put the asphalt down and then raise the price substantially".
A victim's tip led police to a Provo motel on Tuesday August 26th where the crew was staying. On Wednesday morning, KTVX received a phone call from police and their cameras were rolling when they pulled the workers over. Detectives say the case is coming together slowly. Since KTVX first aired the story last week, police say at least 10 other victims have come forward from all over Utah County. Police know this company has worked in Salt Lake, Summit and Wasatch Counties as well. And KTVX visited Bill, the original victim highlighted, and told him the good news.
Police also impounded two dump trucks owned by Landmark. None of their vehicles impounded are properly licensed. In the meantime, Landmark, which is actually headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, has a lot of explaining to do, and their equipment is officially out of commission. Landmark Paving has been previously rated Satisfactory by the Better Business Bureau.
However, police haven't excluded the possibility that other comapnies may be involved. Detectives are now hearing complaints about companies based in Texas and Idaho. KTVX intends to continue pursuing the story. Police say if residents believe they have been a victim of an asphalt scam, they should call them right away. That number is 801-852-7220.
Analysis: I'm wondering if the company's management is even aware that their employees are scamming customers? Landmark seems to be well-established, has their own website, and has a Satisfactory BBB rating in their past. I'm wondering if these jokers were doing a little moonlighting on their own.
I also wonder if the crews stopped by the cops are Utah crews or if they're Arizona imports who drove the equipment up from Arizona. The fact that none of their vehicles stopped was properly licensed implies they were driven up from Arizona and they didn't bother with the formalities of Utah licensure.
I also wonder if the crew stopped by police in Provo are Irish Travelers who hired on with Landmark and are now misrepresenting them. Irish Travelers are notorious for running these type of scams. Rick Ross discusses the Travelers at length HERE. In May 2008, KRQE Channel 13 of Albuquerque did a story on a group of Irish Travelers running paving scams in New Mexico. KTVX ought to follow up on this angle.