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Freeport police warn of chimney fraud

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Freeport police warn of chimney fraud

FREEPORT — Police are warning consumers to beware the services of a chimney repairman and home improvement contractor operating in the area.

The Massachusetts attorney general's office in 2006 sued Richard Myers, alleging that he engaged in home improvement work on a suspended license, requested excessive cash advances, and failed to refund payments for work not performed. In 2011, Myers was ordered to pay over $700,000 in penalties and restitution and forbidden from contracting for home improvement work in the state.

Now Myers, 40, has turned up in Maine, advertising chimney repair services under the names Atlantic Restoration Company and Atlantica Chimneys.

Five Freeport residents have accused Myers of swindling them out of money in association with his chimney businesses, said Detective Gino Bianchini. One resident claimed to have paid $8,000 for services that were not provided. An alleged victim from Kennebunk has also contacted police.

"He asks for an exorbitant amount of money up front, or he won't show up when he said he's supposed to," Bianchini said. "The weather's bad or somebody died."

Myers was arrested by Freeport police on Jan. 16 on a warrant from another agency for failure to appear in court, Bianchini said, but was later released on bail.

So far, Myers has not been charged in Maine with any crimes related to home improvement fraud or deceptive business practices. But police are working to build a case against him, Bianchini said.

"Consumers should be wary of doing business with this person," Maine Attorney General Janet Mills said in a statement. "His track record in other states is poor. He has been ordered by a court in another state to stop engaging in the home contracting and repair business. Maine homeowners should be on guard against hiring him to do work for them.”

Anyone who feels they've been victimized by Myers is encouraged to contact the attorney general's office or the Freeport Police Department.

Brendan Twist can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or btwist@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @brendantwist.