Elderly woman says asphalt workers poured a bait-and-switch

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JACKSON COUNTY, Mo. -- Ruth Barclay, 84, is disgusted by the sight of the asphalt driveway outside her rural Jackson County home. It's unsightly and uneven, plus the weather was so cold when it was poured she knows it won't last.

It was poured Tuesday by a man who knocked on Mrs. Barclay's door, saying he had an extra load of asphalt from another job and wanted to know if she wanted it.

"All you have to pay for is just the asphalt and there won't be any charge on the labor or anything like that," Mrs. Barclay said he told her.

He promised the total cost would be no more than $80, she said.

She agreed. So she was shocked when a little more than an hour later, after finishing the job, he asked her for $10,000

"I about dropped dead," she said.

However, she said she was too fearful to complain and wrote a check for $10,000 to Adam Cline, the owner of the asphalt company.

It was money she couldn't afford to lose. Mrs. Barclay's 88-year-old husband is in the hospital and will soon move to a nursing home.

"I know he's not going to come home," she said with tears in her eyes. "It costs a lot to keep him in some place like that."

For a while it appeared that Mrs. Barclay might have help getting the men to return her money. Her son-in-law Jerry Norris confronted the men while they were still at her house and called the Jackson County Sheriff's Department for help.

"If you guys give my money back to me I won't pursue this," Norris said he told them. "But they said `we don't know anything about your money.'"

A claim that was difficult to believe since Cline had just cashed Mrs. Barclay's check 20 minutes before.

The sheriff's department arrested Cline and another man working with him, Chris Prestito, on outstanding warrants from Oak Grove. But both insisted to the sheriff's department they had warned Mrs. Barclay of the cost of black-topping her driveway before they started working. That's something Mrs. Barclay insisted never happened.

It's a felony in Missouri to financially exploit an elderly person, yet the sheriff's department said it couldn't help Mrs. Barclay because she willingly signed the check. Mrs. Barclay said the only reason she signed the check was because she feared for her life.

Fox 4 Problem Solvers has contacted the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office, which is now looking into the case. We'll let you know what happens.