Fraud suspect accused of targeting elderly woman in landscaping scam

Police: Man attempted to defraud 96-year-old

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A 26-year-old Lexington man is accused of exploitation after police say he tried to scam an elderly Columbia woman out of thousands of dollars.

Columbia police responded just after noon Thursday to the reported fraud in the 800 block of Greenwood Court.

Officers saw several workers in the yard trimming limbs from large tree on the property of the 96-year-old victim.

The elderly woman told police that she felt pressured to pay 26-year-old Mark Harris more than $6,000 to trim four to five trees in her yard.

The woman also told police that Harris claimed to work for a tree service in town that she had used that before and trusted.  

After calling the company, the victim found out Harris was not its employee and that he had charged too much for the work.

Columbia police arrested Harris on suspicion of financial exploitation of the elderly or disabled.

Harris was released after posting a $6,500 bond.

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