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ECSB chokes con artist

By Staff | Sep 5, 2008

Another alert employee in Estherville was able to put the brakes on crime.

A bank employee at the Emmet County State Bank became suspicious and the end result is that an elderly citizen was spared the loss of $16,500 in a asphalt scam.

A bank official notified the Emmet County Sheriff’s Department on Aug. 27 that a person came into the bank and tried to cash a check for $16,500 that was written out by one of their account customers.

An investigation at the banking facility was initiated by Emmet County Chief Deputy Mike Martens. He discovered an individual approached the elderly citizen about doing asphalt driveway work. An work agreement was reached for $1,000.

Once the work was finished, however, the man said her final bill was $16,500.

The bank, however, would not cash the $16,500 check and he left the premises.

According to the sheriff’s department, the man returned to the woman’s residence and persuaded her to go to the bank to cash the check and return to her residence with the $16,500 in cash.

The man, identified as Harold Oaks III, was found hiding in his truck when deputies arrived at the residence. He has a Tennessee driver’s license and was driving a Ford pick-up truck registered to Harold Oaks III of Grimes, IA. Deputies also determined the asphalt work was of poor quality and was approximately 1 to 2 inches thick.

Oaks was charged and arrested by the deputies for violation of the door-to-door sales act and his vehicle was impounded.

On Aug. 28, he appeared before the Emmet County magistrate and was fined $600. Oaks entered a guilty plea and paid his fine.