Retired U.S. Army Major Raymond Edgerly was caught in the crosshairs of an alleged scam targeting elderly people.
“This guy could talk so smooth,” said Edgerly. “He could sell an Eskimo an icebox."
Yair Zilberman is facing theft and fraud charges related to defrauding Edgerly of $15,000.
“You get sick to your stomach when you make a big error like that," explained Edgerly.
According to Oceanside Police, the World War II veteran got a call from the 32-year-old contractor in April. Operating under the company name "American Way Remodeling," he quoted Edgerly prices for replacing duct work and insulation at his Oceanside home.
Once a portion of the work was completed in the attic, Edgerly says the alleged crooked contractor's scam kicked in.
“Sir he said, um, your attic is full of mold and you know that’s dangerous to your health."
The cost to clean out the made-up hazard was $15,000 in cash.
Fearing for his health, the decorated veteran went to the bank to get the cash.
Zilberman was right there with him.
“After he didn’t show up the next day to do anything, I knew I'd been taken."
Zilberman's alleged scams are not limited to Oceanside. He is also under investigation in Escondido.
The L.A.County DA released a statement saying Zilberman pleaded no contest to residential burglary and three counts of theft from an elder in 2014.
There's another similar 2014 case against Zilberman in Albany as well.
“That’s the lesson I’ve learned, “ said Edgerly. “Check with the contractor’s board and only pay a small amount down.”
Edgerly says Zilberman did agree to refund his money but sent him a check that bounced.
The contractor is behind bars at Central Jail in San Diego after he was caught in LA. He is under investigation by both Oceanside and Escondido Police.
Potential victims or witnesses are asked to call Oceanside Police Detective Karla Williams at (760) 435-4771 or Escondido Police Detective John LaRose at 760-835-4730.