Ind. AG obtains judgment against tree trimmer

By Bryan Cohen | Feb 3, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced on Thursday that his office obtained a default judgment against an Indianapolis-based tree trimming company and its owner after they allegedly scammed elderly consumers.

Steve Spaulding and Spaulding's Tree Experts allegedly contracted with three elderly patients, two of whom had dementia, for $46,740 while providing faulty or minimal work. Thanks to a new state law and the action taken by Zoeller's office, the alleged victims could receive refunds for three times the amount they paid.

"This case should serve as a strong deterrent to businesses or individuals looking to profit off of Indiana's seniors by using intimidation or coercion," Zoeller said. "Our office will continue to aggressively pursue violators and use all resources available to collect on any restitution owed to consumers."

Spaulding's Tree Experts allegedly violated the Home Solicitation Sales Act, Home Improvements Contract Act, Deceptive Consumer Sales Act and the Senior Consumer Protection Act.

The Senior Consumer Protection Act, which went into effect on July 1, requires entities found financially exploiting Hoosiers over 60 years of age to pay restitution equal to three times the amount collected. As a result of the new law, the default judgment requires that Spaulding pay $140,220 to the three Marion County seniors, in addition to paying $65,962 to the state in civil penalties and attorney costs.

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