A man facing criminal charges in McLean County of construction fraud and elderly exploitation has been ordered to stop doing business in North Dakota.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has issued a cease-and-desist order banning George Williamson Stewart. The state says Stewart, who uses addresses in Minot and Mesa, Arizona, does not have a contractor's license and has violated the state’s consumer fraud and contractor licensing laws.
Stewart, who does business as Stewart Home Improvements, is charged in McLean County with felony construction fraud and seven felony counts of exploiting adults in the age range of 72-87. He also faces misdemeanor counts of not having a contractor's license or a transient merchant's license. The fraud charge carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison; the other felonies a maximum of five years apiece.
Stewart is accused of soliciting advance payments from elderly people in North Dakota to treat their roofs with sealant, and then using a different product than advertised.
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"Stewart’s claims about the product he was hawking and the duration of the supposed protection varied depending on the amount of advance payment he was able to take from the victim," the Attorney General's Office said in a statement.
Court documents indicate Stewart allegedly defrauded people out of as much as $50,000 in total. Investigators allege he has run similar scams in other states, Canada and New Zealand.
Stewart was charged Wednesday, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Court documents do not list an attorney for him, and a telephone listing for his company couldn't immediately be found.
Separately, Stenehjem issued a cease-and-desist order banning John Moser III, of Minot, from conducting further business in the state. Moser does business as J3 Construction.
The attorney general's Consumer Protection division has obtained civil judgments against Moser banning him from engaging in contracting work or obtaining a contractor’s license, but defrauded consumers remain unpaid, according to Stenehejem. Court documents don't list an attorney for Moser.