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Contractor indicted for scamming 88-year-old woman

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio (Rich Jaffe) -- A grand jury indicted a local contractor on multiple counts of theft from the elderly.

Local 12 News uncovered a long history of criminal violations.  The case serves as an important reminder to check out anyone allowing them into your home.
For years, there had been a heated debate in Ohio over the licensing of contractors.  And for the most part they're not licensed.  In this case, a guy allegedly ripped off an elderly woman.  And with a little digging, Local 12 found it was even worse because the guy who was working in the woman's home was already listed as a registered sex offender.

His name is William Modafari.  Most recently he was working as Bill Modafari, owner of Aqua Services, a plumbing and contracting company with multiple addresses.  The 22-count indictment said he ripped off an 88-year-old Montgomery Woman.

The attorney general's office said Modafari took a chandelier worth thousands of dollars, used her credit cards to buy himself gift cards and made thousands of dollars of purchases at local hardware stores.  He was also accused of stealing more than $38,000 from her.

Modafari worked out of his home in Mason.  One of his neighbors told Local 12 he wasn't aware of Modafari's newest brush with the law but he had heard about problems in the past.  In 2007 Modafari kidnapped a woman and her daughter in Reading.  The woman bailed out of the car along I-71 and the little girl was later found in Newport.

Originally Modafari faced charges including rape, theft and abduction.  He served two and a half years in prison for abduction and theft starting in 2008.  But none of that kept him from working as a contractor in Ohio.

He's being prosecuted by the economic crimes unit of the Ohio attorney general's office.  They told Local 12 News crimes like this were the most common complaints they got.  So how does a person know whether a contractor is legit before letting him into a home?

The attorney general's office gave some tips:

1. A person can call the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints against the company. 

2. Ask for references.  They suggest people get three estimates on the job and a contract with a detailed description of everything involved.

3. Watch out for pressure tactics. 

4. Never let door-to-door contractors into your house.

5. And never pay more than one third of the contract price upfront.

When Local 12 drove around and checked out Modafari's prior business addresses, one turned out to be a Cincinnati Bell facility owned by the phone company for 50 years.

William Modafari is expected to turn himself in on the 22 count felony indictment.

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