A federal grand jury has indicted two Allegan County men who defrauded an elderly Holland homeowner out of nearly $300,000.
Tyler Maurice Harris, 24, was taken into custody by a Homeland Security Investigations agent in Otsego Aug. 13 and appeared Wednesday before a federal judge.
Whereabouts of James Robert Black (aka “Jim Gribble” and “Victor Valentine”) remain unknown.
Black, 55, and Harris are charged in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Harris also faces a separate charge of welfare fraud. The conspiracy charge carries a possible prison term of 20 years. The welfare fraud charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years.
The indictment alleges that the two defrauded an elderly Holland homeowner of $298,000 through a home repair scheme. The victim hired Black, who went by the name “Jim Gribble” to do a roof repair. After that, the pair persuaded the homeowner to pay almost $300,000 for a series of false problems associated with the project, including dangerous working conditions, employee injuries, lawsuits and tax issues.
The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone who believes either or both men may have defrauded them should call Homeland Security Investigations at (616) 235-3936 or the U.S. Attorney’s Office at (616) 808-2034.
Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Black should call Homeland Security Investigations at (616) 235-3936.