Public Information Officer
HELP SOUGHT IN LOCATING SUSPECT IN ELDERLY FRAUD CASE
He goes around from home to home, offering to resurface old and worn driveways for what seems like a reasonable price. But Volusia County Sheriff’s detectives who’ve investigated Gary Mitchell’s business dealings say there’s a reason his customers are always elderly -- as old as 90 in one case. It’s because he’s doing shoddy and unprofessional work and financially exploiting older, sunsuspecting customers.
Earlier this week, detectives who presented their findings to a judge obtained an arrest warrant charging the 29-year-old Mitchell (5/19/87) with two felony offenses -- elderly exploitation and scheme to defraud. And now they’re asking for the public’s help in finding Mitchell, and at the same time, warning the public so they don’t become Mitchell’s next victim.
Back in January, Mitchell is accused of soliciting a 90-year-old DeBary woman, telling her that her driveway was in bad shape and then offering to resurface it. The woman initially declined the offer, but the man was so persistent that she eventually agreed. When the work was finished, the man told her that she owed $3,000. She said that was too much money, but in the end, she wrote him a check. Later that day, the woman became increasingly uneasy about the transaction and called her bank to try to stop payment on the check, but it had already been cashed. The check was written out to Mitchell, who was captured on surveillance video cashing it at the bank. He also provided the bank his driver’s license and thumb print, further confirming it was him. Detectives had the work inspected by construction experts, who concluded that the driveway had simply been painted over with a watered-down concrete mix and that the material was applied incorrectly and is of very poor quality and the work was grossly overpriced.
During the investigation, detectives also talked to an 88-year-old DeBary man who had a similar encounter with someone who is believed to be Mitchell. In that case, the suspect tried to charge the man $3,200, but eventually agreed to take just $40 from him after he complained about the price. Mitchell was convicted in Arizona of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Anyone with information about Mitchell or his whereabouts is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida, toll-free, at (888) 277-TIPS. Information also can be submitted by downloading the smartphone app from the Crime Stoppers web site (http://www.westopcrime.com/). Callers to Crime Stoppers will remain anonymous and can qualify for a reward of up to $5,000.
Administrative offices: West Volusia 386-736-5961 Daytona Beach 386-254-4589 New Smyrna Beach 386-423-3352
Non-emergency dispatch numbers: DeLand 386-943-8276 Daytona Beach 386-239-8276 New Smyrna Beach 386-409-8276 Osteen 407-323-0151