UPDATE: Boise, March 14, 2012 -
Boise Police detectives learned this week that a man accused of
traveling the Northwest scamming seniors has been sentenced to ten
years in an Idaho prison.
Sentenced:James W. Schmidt, 51.
10 years, 3 cts Grand Theft
Schmidt pled guilty earlier this year to
three counts of Grand Theft following a Boise Police investigation
that began back in 2009. Officers say Schmidt's victim was an
elderly Boise woman conned by Schmidt out of more than $75,000.
"We think this guy targets
seniors, gains their trust, then swindles them," said Det. Brad
Thorne of the Boise Police Financial Crimes Unit back in 2009 when
officers were searching for Schmidt.
Boise Police detectives worked on the
case with police in Washington and Oregon where Schmidt has also
been suspected of and charged with similar crimes. Boise Police
detectives were told Schmidt was arrested by US Marshals in New
York State. He was sent from New York to Washington state to face
charges, and was returned to Idaho on March 22, 2011 where he has
been incarcerated and did receive sentencing credit from the judge
for time served.
What Happened:In late
December, 2008, family members of the elderly woman reported to
Boise Police that she may be the victim of theft or forgery. The
woman, in her 80's told officers she met a man later identified as
Schmidt in August, 2008 when he knocked on her door
selling air cleaners. The man befriended the woman and
eventually gained her confidence.
In late December, the woman's family
noticed more than $60,000 of the woman's personal checks
cashed by Schmidt. They found another $15,000 in credit card
debt used by Schmidt.
According to investigators,
Schmidt traveled Northwest states targeting the elderly by selling
his products, vacuums and air cleaners, door to door in
neighborhoods known to have a significant senior population.
Detectives say he would start relationships with seniors who seem
vulnerable, gain their confidence, possibly by offering them rides
or other assistance, then gained access to and manipulated
Here's what Boise Police
and Boise City Prosecutors would like citizens to be aware of
regarding door to door solicitations:
- Boise City license requirements are for everyone, even
charities. (Charities are just exempt from paying for the license
- A Boise City solicitors license should have the official Boise
City logo along with a picture of the solicitor.
- The solicitor is required to clearly display the official city
- Citizens should ask to see the license. If the
solicitor cannot display one, citizens are urged to call
- Homeowners should be aware some door to do people will use a
scam to get inside their homes such, as pretending to do a survey
or ask questions about products in their home, and then once inside
try to steal something.
- Homeowners have the right to tell people they are not
interested at any time. Homeowners can put up a no solicitation
sign, or they can simply not answer the door.
- Homeowners should not be pressured into buying something and
they have every right to ask a person to leave. If a person refuses
to leave, homeowners can and should call police.
- If a person in their neighborhood is acting suspicious to
please report it to police.