Friday, February 23, 2018
News Roundup

Spring Hill man who scammed the elderly gets three years

BROOKSVILLE — Grace McMillan wants the money Luis Angel Roman stole from her, but the 78-year-old Spring Hill resident said she is willing to wait for Roman to serve prison time.

On Thursday, McMillan got her wish.

Roman, who turns 42 Saturday, was sentenced to three years in prison after admitting to scamming McMillan and nine other elderly homeowners for thousands of dollars worth of pest control services they never got.

"He's young enough that he can pay me when he gets out," said McMillan, who attended the hearing and said Roman owes her about $1,100.

Prosecutors say Roman, of Spring Hill, was fired in July 2012 from his job as a salesman with A-1 Termite & Pest Control, west of Brooksville, but continued to draw up bogus service contracts and kept the money for himself. There was also evidence that Roman scammed his employer before he was fired by drawing up separate contracts for additional services and telling the customers to leave the checks blank or make them out to cash.

Roman would eventually enter an open plea to 10 counts of grand theft.

The average age of the 10 identified victims was 79 1/2, Assistant State Attorney Jason Smith told Circuit Judge Daniel B. Merritt Jr. on Thursday.

"Which leads me to the argument that basically Mr. Roman preyed on elderly folks," Smith said.

He also noted that Roman has a criminal record that includes a conviction for organized fraud.

Roman and his attorney, John Vitola, asked Merritt to levy a lengthy probation term so Roman could keep his job at a landscape company, pay back the $15,780 he owes his victims and provide for his disabled wife and 6-year-old son.

"I just want to make the victims whole and pay back what I owe them," Roman said. "I don't want to make my son a victim for something stupid I did."

Merritt noted the demographic of Roman's victims.

"Certainly that concerns the court," he said.

After he announced the sentence — which includes seven years of probation — Roman put his face in his hands and began to cry.

McMillan was unmoved.

"If you can't do the time," she said afterward, "don't do the crime."

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