May 16, 2012
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster has filed criminal charges in Jasper County against Jeffrey Wolfson and Gloria Diane Schoeller for allegedly defrauding Joplin homeowners out of a total of $38,000 in the wake of the May 2011 tornado.
Wolfson and Schoeller operated Insurexx, LLC, a Lebanon, Missouri-based company that offered insurance claim adjusting and home repair services to those whose homes were damaged by the Joplin tornado.
The charges allege that the defendants:
Koster filed the following charges against both defendants in Jasper County: three counts of stealing by deceit, three counts of unlawful merchandising practices fraud, three counts of insurance fraud, and two counts of public adjusting without a license.
Koster also filed one count of interference with a civil investigative demand against Schoeller in Laclede County.
The charges against Wolfson allege that he is a prior and persistent offender.
If convicted on the six most serious counts, because of his felony convictions, Wolfson could face a term of up to 15 years in prison on each count. If convicted on the three most serious counts, Schoeller could face a term of up to 10 years in prison on each count.
The pending charges against the defendants are merely accusations. As in all criminal cases, the defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.
In light of these charges, Koster again cautioned Missourians to be on the alert for “storm chasers” – companies that follow severe weather and try to contract with homeowners who have suffered storm damage. The storm chasers will often ask consumers to sign a contract allowing the company to negotiate with the homeowner’s insurance company. The companies often then perform shoddy work or no work at all. Last year Missouri adopted a law barring contractors from representing consumers in insurance claims and also giving consumers a right to cancel if the contracted for work is not a covered repair under the consumer’s insurance contract.