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Couple indicted on 50 counts for tree-trimming scam

At least 50 people were victims of the scam. Most of them elderly, according to the Colorado Attorney General's Office.

COLORADO, USA — A couple accused of swindling older adults in multiple metro area counties through a tree-trimming scam has been indicted by a statewide grand jury on 51 counts.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced the indictment of Joseph Camillo Tyler and Amelia Marie Tyler on Wednesday.

They're suspected of operating a tree-trimming scam that targeted older Coloradans in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, El Paso, Jefferson, and Otero counties from at least February 2020 until October 2022.

According to the grand jury indictment, the husband-wife team would show up at a residence to solicit tree-trimming or home-repair services for a set amount of money.

Sometimes the homeowner paid in cash, but more often, they paid by check. Amelia Tyler would cash the check at the homeowner’s bank while her husband cut a few branches at the victim’s home. After cashing the check, she returned to pick up her husband and they left before most of the job was done, the indictment says.

At times they said they needed to go get something and would return but never did, according to the indictment.

At least 50 individuals were victims of the tree-trimming scam.

“The members of this alleged criminal enterprise took hundreds of dollars from each victim they scammed, for a total of approximately $40,000. Working in partnership with the hardworking team at the Arvada Police Department, we were able to stop this widespread organized tree-trimming fraud,” Weiser said. 

“Our office remains committed to ensuring that individuals who commit financial crimes against older Coloradans are held fully responsible for their actions.”

The Arvada Police Department, which led the investigation into the criminal ring, arrested the defendants in October 2022 for crimes connected to the pattern of racketeering activity alleged in the indictment.

The charges against the couple include two counts of violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, and various other felony counts of theft, conspiracy to commit theft, aggravated motor vehicle theft, and criminal exploitation of an at-risk person.

Both are being held in the Jefferson County Jail.

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