CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — A man convicted of scamming homeowners out of thousands of dollars in the past has been arrested by Henrico police after he found new victims all over central Virginia.
Chesterfield said Henrico authorities arrested Thomas Ray Lee Jr., 51, Saturday evening after he was spotted at a motel off of West Broad Street. He has been now charged with obtaining money by false pretenses, vandalism, and larceny in Chesterfield. Warrants had been out for his arrest in both Chesterfield and Dinwiddie.
Several different homeowners 8News spoke with said Lee Jr. posed as a licensed contractor before taking their money and cutting off all communication. The families admit they made the mistake of paying Lee Jr, before the work was finished or even started.
8News first told you about Lee Jr. last week, when a Chesterfield woman said the man took $3,200 from her and cut ties. Just a couple of days after the story aired, Lee Jr. was arrested.
“A sigh of relief went through me,” said Pam Wiggins, a Dinwiddie woman who said Lee Jr. scammed $2,200 from her as well.
Wiggins said he answered her job posting on Facebook in April and gave her the lowest bid — $4,400 to screen her porch in. She gave Lee Jr. $2,200 at the end of April.
“I guess you live and you learn but at our age, we just can’t afford to lose that kind of money,” she said.
After hearing that he’d been arrested, “I said thank you Jesus,” she told 8News.
Online court records show this isn’t his first or second time getting caught. A slew of related charges date back at least six years in localities all over central Virginia. In Chesterfield, he plead guilty to felony construction fraud in 2017 and was sentenced to six months in prison.
A Buckingham county incident in 2019 got him three months behind bars. Right now, he’s already set to stand trial later this year for allegedly committing construction fraud again in June of 2019.
Until then, a judge will decide if he’s getting out on bond as the outstanding charges against him are filed.
“My hope’s that the judicial system will come through for us that have suffered these losses and keep him behind bars,” Wiggins said.
According to court records, he will be arraigned on June 15 in Westmoreland General District court for allegedly obtaining money under false pretenses. A few days prior, he is set to be arraigned in King and Queen county court for the same charge. Charges are expected in Dinwiddie in addition to those localities and Chesterfield.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News for updates.