Scam Targeting Elderly Crosses County, State Lines

Posted at 11:15 PM, May 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-15 00:25:00-04

A scam targeting the elderly that affected people in our area may have happened in other counties in Texas and even other states.

The McLennan County Sheriff's Office has issued warrants for Ronald Wayne Pruitt, who is currently at the Hunt County Jail in East Texas. He is accused of taking thousands of dollars for electric repairs without doing any of them.

In McLennan County, Pruitt faces two counts of theft, which were enhanced to a third degree felony due to the age of the victims. In addition, he faces two counts of exploitation of the elderly.

McLennan County Sheriff's Office Detective James Pack said Pruitt is believed to be part of a group of four to six individuals responsible for multiple thefts against the elderly across the United States, including Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.

In Texas, these incidents have occurred in West, other parts of McLennan County, Killeen, Canton, Garland, and Wood County.

According to Pack, Pruitt had an accomplice when scamming the elderly couple near Robinson in McLennan County.

"This case here just exploded and there is no telling here how many counties they're going to be involved with because not everyone has reported it,” said Pack.

At this time, detectives are working to identify the second suspect.

He is accused of identifying himself as an electrical company employee. He pretended to be electrocuted from the breaker boxes and said he needed to repair them. He charged the victims for repairs but never returned to perform the work.

According to Pack, in most of these cases scammers are telling homeowners there is an electrical issue and the house is in danger of burning down.

"Most of the elderly folks in their 80s and 90s that scares them to death that they are going to burn up in their home. They're ready to get it fixed. His ploy is that we can fix it and that's where the amount of dollars comes into play to fix this,” said Pack.

In most cases, the scammers charged victims from $3,000 to $5,000. Currently, the McLennan County Sheriff's Office is working with other law enforcement agencies in this case.

Pack said some of the suspects are in jail but some could still be on the loose. Therefore, he advises people to be vigilant and do their homework before hiring someone to repair their home.

If you have any information regarding these cases or have been a victim of this scam, you may contact McLennan County Sheriff's Office Detective Packs at 254-757-5044.