On Friday, August 31, 2012, WILLIAM T. BAILEY (d.o.b. 03-15-1968) of Carl Junction, Missouri, entered a guilty plea to the class B felony of financial exploitation of the elderly, and received an eight (8) year sentence in the Missouri Department of Corrections, pursuant to a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office. The felony charge stemmed from a scheme Bailey participated in from December of 2010, through May of 2011, during which he helped to cheat an 85-year old Forsyth woman out of several thousands of dollars.

Bailey was finally apprehended while trying to cash a $6,200.00 check he fraudulently acquired from the victim, for remodeling work he had no intention of doing. Bailey had made the check payable to himself, however, the bank had previously put a fraud notice on the victim’s account, which alerted them to call law enforcement officers. Bailey later explained to investigators that he was working as part of a group known as “gypsies” and then proceeded to give officers the names of a few of his accomplices in the scheme. Bailey – and the other self-proclaimed “gypsies” – apparently have been operated similar fraud schemes on the elderly throughout the region, according to Bailey.

“I hope this will act as a cautionary tale to all those people who might consider hiring strangers to do your remodeling work,” says Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Merrell. “Always check the business with the Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, and the Attorney General’s Office. Always take additional efforts to check the paperwork given to you by the contractors you are considering, including a call to follow-up that the contractor is bonded or otherwise insured.”

“Fortunately, this is the sort of crime that can be avoided with some careful efforts by all of us,” adds Merrell. “We all need to be on the lookout for these criminal enterprises, because – as Bailey warned the investigators – ‘this thing is bigger than you know.'”