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Man accused of targeting elderly woman in landscaping scam charged with financial exploitation

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Mark Harris has been charged with financial exploitation after being accused of scamming a 96-year-old woman. 

According to the probable cause statement,  officers observed numerous numerous subjects working on the yard and trimming large trees at the victim's house. 

Police said Harris charged the woman $6,850 to trim approximately four to five trees in the yard. 

Officers said when they talked with the victim she was distraught and felt pressured into writing the check for the tree services. 

Harris had told the woman he worked for a familiar tree service to earn her trust, police said. 

The victim contacted the tree service which told her she was being taken advantage of, Harris did not work for them and to call 911. 

Police said while the crew was still working at the job site, Harris had a member of the crew go to the bank and cash the check. 

A bank teller found the large check amount odd, contacted the victim and denied cashing the check, police said. 

Officers said the check was then seized as evidence. 

Police said Harris had purposely placed another workman's name on the check to conceal his act of agreement with the victim and kept stating he believed the amount was reasonable. 


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