Men charged in Marathon County roofing scam free on bond

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- Two Illinois men prosecutors said pressured homeowners into roofing repairs, only to overcharge them and provide shoddy work were formally charged Thursday.

Nick Costa, 42, and Alex Costa, 21, are expected to learn in January if their cases will head to trial.

On July 16, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department released photos of contractors they said attempted to scam homeowners in Lincoln and Marathon County. Sheriff Ken Schneider said the men offered quick home repairs or preventive maintenance for only a small amount of cash.

Court documents now shed light on the seriousness of the scam.

In one case, prosecutors said the defendants went to the home of an elderly man. They said they wanted to apply a product to his roof to help preserve the shingles. The alleged victim insisted he did not want the service but the men proceeded to spray a 6-foot area on the roof, according to court documents. The man said he became frustrated because his roof no longer matched. The men said they could finish the roof with 10 gallons of Sherwin-Williams shingle saver paint. They reportedly told him is would cost $149 a gallon with labor.

Investigators said they then told the man it took 35 gallons to finish the job and the bill was now more than $5,200. The man said he was able to talk them down to $5,000. Investigators said the the contractors only painted part of the roof and got overspray on the siding. Marathon County investigators also learned Sherwin-Williams makes no such product.

In the original news release, Lincoln County Sheriff Ken Schneider stated historically scammers work in several ways. He said actual amount they charge the homeowner is normally much larger than the quoted price, the workmanship or materials are usually very poor at best, and by the time the check is cashed and the homeowner realizes the job is subpar or wasn’t completed, and the suspects are long gone.

According to the Lincoln County news release, a group of men came to a home in the town of Corning and approached a homeowner promising to provide a sealant to her metal roof in order provide a barrier against moisture. The suspect offered to demonstrate the product and suddenly two other men emerged from the truck and started applying it to the entire roof.

Schneider stated another family member arrived at the home and when confronted the men quickly left.

Charges have not been filed in Lincoln County against Nick or Alex Costa.

The sheriff’s department circulated photos to the media. The alleged elderly victim in Marathon County contacted authorities saying those were the men he had written the check to.

Court documents state their vehicle is registered in Illinois. Investigators said Nick Costa presented a Florida driver’s license when he cashed the $5,000 check.

Both men are charged with theft and pressuring someone into a home improvement contract. Alex Costa faces an additional charge of misrepresenting to induce a home improvement contract. They're both free on $5,000 signature bonds.

If you believe you are a victim, contact the Marathon County Sheriff's Office at 715-261-1200.