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Steve
05-17-2007, 11:36 PM
WoW! This guy charged or should I say stole $1200 to mow a postage stamp size lawn for a trailer park resident! Have you ever heard of anyone scamming an elderly customer this bad?

Handyman used fear to fleece the elderly (http://www.yakima-herald.com/page/dis/370168703196688) - Marv Peterson hopes that this time around the man who stole upwards of $100,000 or more from his elderly uncle gets substantially more time than seven days in jail.

Seven days clearly weren't a deterrent to Duane L. Ortiz, a self-employed yard worker and handyman who had an off-and-on heroin habit ** and a habit of ripping off the old and frail like the late Stanley Peterson.

Prosecutors describe the 39-year-old Ortiz, who has a wife and two kids, as one of the worst predators they've seen in recent years. In March a Yakima County jury agreed, convicting the Davis High School dropout of targeting a half-dozen seniors ranging in age from 78 to 95 and setting the stage today for a new reckoning before Superior Court Judge Michael Schwab.

"The elder abuse is just gross in this case," says Marv Peterson, a retired Northwest Airlines pilot. "Who knows how many people this guy has taken advantage of?"

It all began in 2001, when Ortiz, who owned a lawn care business and was feeding an increasingly demanding drug habit, began charging Stanley Peterson exorbitant amounts for yard work.

A retired Boeing machinist, Stanley was 93 and lived alone in a Yakima trailer court. Marv Peterson figures it would've taken five minutes to mow his uncle's tiny lawn. His uncle paid Ortiz $1,200.

And he kept on paying. In September 2001 alone, Ortiz got $32,000 out of Stanley. Nobody knows the true extent of the damage. Prosecutors believe it was well over $100,000.

tiedeman
05-18-2007, 12:03 AM
WOW!! That is just crazy!