Owner Of OKC Tree Trimming Company Pleads Guilty To Exploiting Elderly
OKLAHOMA CITY - The owner of an Oklahoma City tree trimming company pled guilty Monday to exploiting the elderly, and was ordered to pay $18,700 in restitution.
According to Attorney General Scott Pruitt, 33-year-old Brian Howell Thornburg pled guilty in Cleveland County District Court to two felony counts for exploiting elderly persons or disabled adults.
Authorities say Thornburg operated a tree trimming company named "Nationwide Tree Service" in Norman, Moore and Del City.
The Attorney General's Office filed charges against Thornburg in June, 2011. Investigators say they found that Thornburg contracted with several older residents to trim trees. But after initial payment, Thornburg told residents that removal was required at an additional cost, because the trees were infested.
Authorities say the trees were found not to be infested and in some cases, even though residents made the extra payments, the trees were never removed.
The News 9 Consumer Watch Team also received more than one complaint about Thornburg.
An elderly woman hired Thornburg in May 2008. Her granddaughter later called our Consumer Watch team saying Thornburg ripped her off by overcharging.
Thornburg received a 5-year suspended sentence and will serve 90 days in jail. While on probation, he is prohibited from contracting or trimming trees for anyone over age 65, according to authorities.