WARRENSBURG, Mo. — With two of his children by his side, 87-year-old Charles Hogue patiently waited for justice Monday from a home repair man who had pleaded guilty to defrauding him of nearly $60,000.
Hogue, of Warrensburg, was one of multiple victims of Ken Collins Sr. and his Osceola construction business. As documented by FOX4 Problems Solvers the last two years, much of Hogue’s home had been destroyed by work so bad that the only way to fix it was to tear it out.
Several other elderly victims, also featured on Problem Solvers, lived in Kansas City, but Kansas City police had dismissed their home repair atrocities as nothing more than a civil matter. However, in Johnson County, Missouri, both the sheriff’s department and the prosecutor refused to look the other way.
“This is really a crime,” said Johnson County, Missouri, Prosecutor Robert Russell. “They are targeting the vulnerable to take their money.”
Russell charged Collins with three felony counts of financially exploiting the elderly and violating Missouri’s consumer protection law. A Problem Solver investigation showed that Collins had been running the same scam for years and was even convicted for it in Butler, Missouri.
In the Warrensburg case, Collins agreed to pay a total of nearly $90,000 in restitution to Hogue and another victim. Collins will also serve 60 days in jail and another five years on probation.
Part of the plea agreement banned Collins from running a construction company or working for one operated by family members. He also can’t work on any project involving elderly or vulnerable people.
Collins’ son Steven was also in court Monday facing similar charges, but his hearing was rescheduled when his attorney failed to show. A second son, Ken Collins Jr., has a warrant out for his arrest for failing to appear on his charges. Hogue’s children said they won’t give up until all three men are brought to justice.
“Mr. Collins is a predator,” said Hogue’s son, Charles Hogue, Jr. “His whole family are predators. I wish they had got some hard time, but I understand and I appreciate Mr. Russell getting the time that he got and restitution. I’m happy. I’m happy.”
“The good news is we got him,” said Hogue’s daughter Sharon Graves. (With the television coverage) “I think more people will say that’s the person who took money from us, so I think more will come out.”
For now, the message is clear, if you scam the elderly for a living you better steer clear of Johnson, County, Missouri.