Parker County Sheriff's Criminal Investigations Division conducted a lengthy investigation on an individual for defrauding several victims out of thousands of dollars in a septic service business scheme.
"The arrest, charges, and search warrant followed months of investigating a man who promised to provide septic replacement and services to area residents," said Parker County Sheriff Russ Authier.
Investigators identified the suspect as Joe Frank Slater, 52, of Granbury, after using the identification of relatives and other individuals to forge records, open banking accounts and enter into contracts under the business name of '24/7 Septic Services.'
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Authier said, "The suspect entered into contracts with the victims, took their money utilizing it for personal use, forged government records, failed to provide services and stole identifications, adding up to more than $100,000 stolen from unsuspected Parker County residents in a span of six months"
Following the investigation, Parker County Sheriffs discovered Slater spearheaded similar schemes across North Texas with the majority of his victims being elderly.
Investigators discovered the suspect had been using notary stamps and forging their signatures to certify and file government records with area permitting offices. Police say Slater also convinced other individuals to notarize and sign records outside the presence of the victims.
Parker County investigators teamed with area law enforcement agencies to learn Slater had conducted similar scams in neighboring counties, while spending the money at bars, restaurants, adult video stores, groceries, fuel, bills and Christmas bonuses for employees.
Parker County Criminal Investigations Division assisted Hood County Sheriff's investigators in executing a search warrant for Slater's business located in Tarrant County. Investigators seized victims' files, company records and several notary stamps. Police say they discovered Parker County records showing Slater fraudulently filed several packets for permits relating to at least 17 varying properties located in Parker County.
Authier said each victim identified Slater as the suspect who took their money without providing services and forged their permitting records. At least half of those victims reported knowing Slater as using an alias identity.
The Better Business Bureau was contacted by sheriff's investigators, who stated Slater has additional case complaints from other victims under at least three different septic businesses.
On April 10, Slater turned himself into Parker County authorities and was charged with several counts of forging government records and theft of property up to $30,000 from elderly victims.
Slater posted a total bond of $46,500 and was later was found to be on parole at the time of the offenses for a previous conviction of scamming several individuals out of money in a hunting lease scam.
A parole violation warrant was issued for Slater, who was re-arrested on May 4 and remains behind bars in Tarrant County after his bond was denied.