FRANKLIN, Ind. - Investigators in Johnson County are working to determine if a homeowner was targeted by a paving scam that has made news in several states in recent years.
On Saturday, Jerry Johnson called the Sheriff’s Department from his home in the Trafalgar area, saying he had been approached by a man who offered to repave his driveway on the spot. He said the man, who identified himself as Bill Boswell, told him his paving crew had extra materials left over from an earlier job near I-65 and could offer a reduced price. Johnson took a business card and a written agreement on the back of it before allowing Boswell to do the work. Within moments, Johnson said several construction vehicles showed up in his yard and the crew started working.
Johnson said he wrote two checks totaling $6,000 to the company, Road Tech Construction, but Boswell insisted the checks be written out to him personally. After writing the checks, Johnson said he went to retrieve something from his house. When he came back outside, about five minutes later, the paving crew was gone. The driveway appeared to be only partially finished, with loose gravel on top of a thin layer of tar. In some parts, he says there was no tar under the gravel.
“It’s supposed to be almost like pavement, like if you’re walking on a country road or any road that you drive cars and vehicles on,” said Kathy Johnson. "It’s not like that. It’s all soft and squishy.”
Johnson was able to put a stop payment on the two checks before they were taken to a bank. He and his wife are now planning to close their checking account, which they’ve shared for 38 years.
During the encounter, Jerry Johnson noted that the truck Boswell was driving had an Arkansas license plate. The Indiana Secretary of State’s office and Hancock County recorder say they have no record of a company registered under the name “Road Tech Construction.”
Tuesday afternoon, Boswell returned a voicemail left by CBS4. He said he was unaware that Mr. Johnson was unhappy with the work and said his crew had finished the job they had been paid for.
“We do tar and chip,” Boswell said during the phone call. “We do gravel rock over the tar.”
He also said his crew intentionally leaves extra loose gravel on top of the surface so vehicle’s tires don’t sink in.
Photos on the company’s website showing previous driveway jobs give no indication of loose gravel covering the driveway’s surfaces.
The Johnson County Sheriff’s office is investigating the case to determine if this is a case of an unsatisfied customer, or a scam.
“Best thing to do is get references for that person who is coming to your door and do your homework on that individual before you give them any money or write them a check for the project,” said Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox.
“What we recommend people do, if you’re computer savvy, simply go to your computer, put in the name of the business and/or the owner’s name, and see what pops up.”
A Google search of Bill Boswell paving brings up news reports from several states about a paving scam involving a transient paving company. Sheriff Cox said investigators are still working to determine if Saturday’s case is related.
“I’m going to guess with the plate being from out of state, that this is probably going to be the same individual,” Cox said. “We see this almost every summer, whether it be roofers or whether it be paving scams.”
Moments before hanging up on CBS4 Tuesday, Boswell said he was going to call Mr. Johnson right away. Johnson said he had not heard from Boswell as of Tuesday evening, and didn’t expect to since he never gave Boswell his phone number.