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Lakewood swindler avoids prison; restitution ordered for elderly victim

Exclusive 5 On Your Side Investigation
Home repairs
Posted at 6:17 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 19:33:22-05

CLEVELAND — A Lakewood man who pleaded guilty to theft and extortion after swindling an elderly woman in excess of $90,000 has been ordered to repay his victim in restitution payments.

Prosecutors say 59-year-old Jose Colon used a church bulletin to recruit his victim but never performed the promised repairs—instead simply spray-painting everything from pipes to air ducts to make it appear legitimate repairs were performed.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Dick Ambrose sentenced Colon to 3 years’ probation and ordered him to repay the victim $25,000 in restitution.

An exclusive 5 On Your Side Investigation last August first revealed the extent of Colon’s deception including convincing his victim to pay medical bills for a phony injury.

The case was investigated by Lakewood Police Detective David Kappa who discovered “nothing was ever fixed — just spray painted.”

A check of court records found Colon has an extensive criminal history including several prison sentences.

Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Brent Kirvel says he asked for prison time for Colon and remains skeptical that Colon will comply with the court-ordered restitution.

“The conning never stops,” says Kirvel, “all you can do is keep after individuals time and time and time again—you can’t take the con out of the conman.”

Financial exploitation of the elderly is one of the nation's fastest-growing crimes, with estimated losses up to $39 billion a year.

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