Victims claim man ran tree trimming scam in Suffolk

Officials are warning residents about a tree-trimming scam that hit multiple communities in Suffolk County.

Some homeowners in North Babylon, East Farmingdale and Patchogue say a man who claimed to be from Leon Tree Service took cash deposits but never performed any work.

The actual owner of the Leon Tree Service told News 12 Long Island that the imposter was driving one of his trucks, which he has not seen in weeks.

The victims say they paid the imposter hundreds of dollars.

"He kind of had a deal that I couldn't pass up," says Evamarie Degenarro, of North Babylon. "I was trying to get these trees down for a long time. I have gotten insane quotes."

With the truck, the scammer seemed legitimate, and Degenarro says he provided her with a business card and even a contract. She paid him a deposit of $200, and he never returned to do the work as scheduled.

"I was angry, hurt and a little violated," Degenarro says.

She tried to contact him several times and received no response. Eventually, she says she told him she was going to report the scam to News 12, and he replied simply, "Thanks."

News 12 attempted to call the number Degenarro had used but received no reply.

John Murphy, who lives in East Farmingdale, says he was targeted too. He says he gave a $350 deposit last week to take down two trees for $900.

"I am disabled, I am on social security, so I don't have the money just to throw away," Murphy says.

News 12 called the number on the business card and spoke with a man who said his name was Leon. He said he is the real owner of the tree service and that he knows the alleged scammer.

Leon says he let that man borrow his truck earlier this month but hasn't seen it since -- or even been able to contact him. 

Suffolk police ask anyone who may have been a victim of this scam to give them a call. 

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