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Attorney General Files Suits Against Asphalt Paving Scammers


The Wyoming attorney generals' office has been working to combat a series of scams making their way around rural areas of the West. Wyoming Chief Deputy Attorney General John Knepper said the scammers buy asphalt locally, saying it was left over from a road project, then offer to pave people's long rural gravel driveways for a few thousand dollars. That's how much it costs to pave most short urban driveways.

"It can be a real challenge, especially as you get older, to get out of your home, especially in winter," said Knepper. "And so folks look at that and say, wow, I really would like to get my driveway paved. I think there are a number of people around our state who would really like that. And someone comes to them and says, hey, I've got a deal for you!"

But the scammers use broken down equipment to do it. They do a poor job and then leave.

Knepper said, after years of investigating the scam, his office tracked down members of a large Texan family that had perpetrated most of the scams. 43 Wyoming families were affected. He said the attorney general's office has successfully brought suit against eight operations so far and recovered over $280,000 on behalf of Wyoming victims. Twelve people have been banned from offering paving services in Wyoming in the future.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.
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