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West Jordan business foils attempted paving scam

Posted at 11:49 AM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 19:27:50-04

WEST JORDAN, Utah -- A local business foiled a paving company's attempted scam by doing their due diligence on a deal that seemed too good to be true.

It happened earlier this month at Dunford Bakers, a local donut shop in West Jordan.

A man named George Stanley walked into Dunford and approached the owner, John Stevens, in his office.

Stanley told Stevens he had just finished some paving work for a neighboring business, that he had extra materials left over and that he noticed Steven‘s parking lot needed some work.

So Stanley offered to cut him a sweet deal.

He quoted Stevens a price of nearly $17,000 but Stevens said the invoice seemed a little fishy.

"He gave me an invoice and on the invoice, I was questioning that a little bit because of what it said at the top of the invoice. It really didn't have an address or anything locally and then he asked me to make the payment to him personally," said Stevens.

After the man left, Stevens Googled his name and was shocked to find he was facing criminal charges in several other states.

Stevens' next move was to call the Utah Division of Professional Licensing (DOPL).

Although he was suspicious, Stevens gave the man the check the next morning.  Agents with DOPL showed up at Dunford shortly after, they told Steven it was indeed a scam.

Stevens was able to cancel his check before it was cashed.

As an added bonus, investigators spotted the same crew doing work at another nearby business.

West Jordan police were able to track down the main suspect, Avery Miller, who claimed to be the owner of Asphalt Roads & Parking Lots LLC.

Miller was given a cease and desist citation and arrested for operating without a Utah business license.

As for the guy who came into the shop, George Stanley, he's basically vanished.

Stevens said, while it’s a little embarrassing to realize he was almost scammed, he wants people to be aware that folks like this are out there.

State investigators say with our booming economy, it can be tempting to take a shortcut and hire someone you’re not familiar with or who is unlicensed, but in the long run, it’s usually not worth it.

The old adage applies, if a deal seems too good to be true it almost certainly is.

"The good contractors will not be afraid of the checking. The scammers are going to pressure you to not to your due diligence," said Mark Steinagel with DOPL.

If you're questioning the validity of a deal or contractor, you can verify a person's license for free using the DOPL's online License Lookup and Verification System, all you need is their name.

You can find the Lookup and Verification System HERE.