Pinetops man pleads guilty to Hurricane Florence fraud case

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BEAUFORT, N.C. (WNCT) A man has pleaded guilty to the Hurricane Florence fraud case.

District Attorney Scott Thomas announced that in Carteret County Superior Court on Wednesday, 46-year-old Stanley Winslow Sears of Pinetops, plead guilty to Hurricane Florence-related fraud cases, and began payment of restitution back to the victims of his crimes.

The cases were investigated by the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office.

The first victims arranged to hire Sears to repair damage from Hurricane Florence and the victims met sears at what appeared to be a legitimate job site and saw Sears and his crew working, which made the victims feel comfortable enough to enter into an agreement.

A written proposal was drafted and a price was agreed upon. Sears requested half the money upfront for materials.

Sears obtained a check for $5330.00 and stated that he would start the job in two days.

Just a few days after the first victims met with Sears, the second victims sought services from Sears to repair roof damage from Hurricane Florence.

A price was agreed upon, but Sears requested $3125 for materials and Sears stated that the materials would be delivered to the victims’ house the following week and he would start work when he completed his current job.

Sears pled guilty to two felony counts of Obtaining Property by False Pretense and paid $ 4,500 toward restitution at the time he entered his guilty plea.

Judge Nobles sentenced Sears to 16 to 38 months in prison, but suspended that sentence and placed Sears on supervised probation for five years, ordering Sears to finish paying all restitution on a schedule of a minimum of $ 300 per month.

The said if Sears fails to make a monthly payment, he will serve two weekends in jail as a penalty, and the payment is still due and the probation will still continue.

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