Group of suspected con-artists arrested for fooling home owners into buying driveways

The victims ended up with a mix of rock-dirt mix

AUBURNDALE, Fla. - A group of suspected con artists will have to put their scam on hold while they sit in the Polk County Jail on a list of charges.

Investigators say the men fooled homeowners into buying new asphalt driveways, but instead they got driveways scattered with dirt, rocks, and metal.

"I could dig a hole with my foot right here," said Bryant Ashley, who wrote a check for $2,500 on Monday when the men came to his door.

He says they told him that they were doing a job nearby and had some material left over and could quote him a great price. Since he was in need of a new driveway, he jumped at the deal.

"Very respectful, with manners.  I never saw it coming," he said.

The men had new equipment, nice trucks, and even what appeared to be a real business name:  Ace Asphalt.

Ashley said everything seemed legit, at least for a few hours.

"It started drying up, and you could just see it was crumbling rocks and dirt," He said. "No way to get ahold of them at that point."

It turns out he's not the only one to get scammed. Polk County Sheriff's Deputies found at least two other victims this week in Auburndale.

Four men -- all from out of state -- admitted to scamming the home owners.

Investigators believe they scam residents in the area for a week or so and then move on to a new community or new state.

Detectives say never rush into a "special bargain" -- it's a popular tactic among traveling scammers. They also recommend residents look up the contractor to make sure they're legit.

And always ask to see some paperwork. Real contractors must have a license, a business tax receipt, and a soliciting permit.

"In a couple weeks with some rain, it'll be a big mud pit," Ashley said, as he wondered how he'll fix the messy driveway that remains.

The good news for him, he post-dated the $2,500 check. He was able to stop the payment when he realized he just got scammed.

Others weren't as lucky.

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