ELMONT - A Queens landscaper was charged Sunday after police say he scammed customers in Nassau County.
Police say James Markellos approached victims for money, telling them it would be used to replace tools that were stolen from his truck, which had also broken down. Police say he would target the elderly and disabled.
Markellos allegedly promised to pay the victims back and landscape their property. One of his customers, a Franklin Square widow in her 70s, gave Markellos $27,000.
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When Markellos allegedly returned to the woman's house to ask for more money, he was greeted by the woman's daughter. She found him suspicious and tipped off police. Neighbors of another victim in Elmont, Christine Hammrich, also went to police when they noticed the autistic woman writing out numerous checks to Markellos. One neighbor tells News 12 that Hammrich was not exactly sure what Markellos said he needed the money for and was also unable to get any information from the bank.
Markellos has been charged with grand larceny and scheme to defraud. During his arraignment, Markellos told the judge he suffers from a back injury, which really hurt his business. He is due back in court Wednesday.
Police are asking anyone else who believes they may be a victim to come forward and call the Fourth Squad at 516-573-6553.