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Home  |  News  |  Career Scammer exploits citizens

Career Scammer exploits citizens
Wednesday, May 11, 2011

 
RICHLAND COUNTY, SC - During a press conference today, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott stood with the victims of a career criminal scam artist.

In February of this year Sheriff Leon Lott announced the arrest of Willie Lee Able (DOB 8-7-57) for exploitation of a vulnerable adult; Able was arrested for agreeing to remove and replace an 84 year-old victim’s driveway for a fee of $4500. Sheriff Leon Lott stated that Able then visited the victim on seven (7) separate occasions, obtaining money from the victim totaling over $11,000; never completing the job as agreed upon. After being arrested Able received a $ 5,000 Surety Bond and was released from jail.

In April Able was arrested again by Richland County investigators for obtaining $10,835 under false pretenses for scamming a man by claiming that he would remove and lay concrete at the man’s home. Able never completed the work and tried to obtain more money from the victim to complete the work. After being arrested Able received a $10,000 Surety Bond and was release from jail.

Again, in April, Able was arrested by West Columbia investigators for scamming an elderly victim by promising home and yard repairs. One price was agreed upon and after receiving partial payments he kept demanding more money from the victim – gaining over $10,000. Able received a $60,000 bond.

Sheriff Leon Lott stated that scam artists exist in many forms and will take advantage of any opportunity they can – that they manipulate people into thinking they will be given a service or goods when in actuality they become the victim of a horrible crime. The Sheriff and the victim’s of these horrible crimes stood together to show why it is important for the criminal justice system, law enforcement and the community to work together.

Sheriff Leon Lott stated that Willie Lee Able AKA Bill Able is a career scammer who plays games with his victims in hopes that he can gain thousands of dollars from them without providing any work. Able operates a con game by constantly riding around neighborhoods looking for homes/yards in need of repair, approaches the victims and convinces them he can do the work and then demands money up front. Able does not complete the work and leaves the victims with what he believes are a civil complaint and not a criminal act. Sheriff Leon Lott added that Able found out that preying on citizens is criminal. Sheriff Leon Lott stated that although arrested multiple times, over the course of his career as a scammer, he continues to find himself back out on the streets victimizing citizens.

On May 9, 2011 Sheriff Leon Lott and Solicitor Dan Johnson were able to work together to have Able’s Richland County bonds revoked and keep Able in jail. Sheriff Leon Lott and Solicitor Dan Johnson work collaboratively on a daily basis to address issues that are affecting our communities. The horrible crimes against our citizens that Able committed are no exception. The Sheriff and Solicitor believe that community safety is their first priority and that career criminals should stay behind bars and not be allowed to prey on our citizens.

Sheriff Leon Lott stated that Able took advantage of and preyed upon these victims and is something the Sheriff’s Department and Solicitor’s Office take very seriously.

Sheriff Leon Lott is asking that anyone who may have been victimized by Able, or any criminal, should contact the Richland County Sheriff’s Department immediately.

If you, or someone you know, have any information regarding any crime, you are encouraged to contact Crimestoppers. You could earn a reward up to $1,000.

Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. Texters can send anonymous tips to CRIMES (274637), and mark the beginning of the message with "TIPSC". Text STOP to 274637 to cancel. Text HELP to 274637 for help. Msg&Data Rates May Apply.


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