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Laurel man pleads guilty to driveway paving scam

Laurel man pleaded guilty in Howard County Circuit Court today to selling home improvements without a license.

A Laurel man pleaded guilty in Howard County Circuit Court Wednesday to selling home improvements without a license.

Paul Frank, 49, entered the plea before Judge Richard S. Bernhardt, according to the state's attorney's office, after he sold and completed work on a Laurel homeowner's driveway in the 9600 block of Baltimore Avenue in February. County police later arrested Frank and his two sons, Spanky and Ace — all of whom live out-of-state — for soliciting the asphalt driveway sealing and coating service.

Police investigation found that the Franks used black paint mixed with gasoline to "re-seal" the driveways.

The state's attorney's office reported that during the hearing, when asked if the work was acceptable to the homeowner, Howard County Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Rosen said, "Your honor, ultimately it was repaired by someone else."

Frank was then sentenced to six months in jail, with all but 13 days already served suspended. The state's attorney's office also stated Frank has been placed on one year of supervised probation and must pay $260 in restitution to the homeowner, including court costs.

On July 23, Howard County State's Attorney spokesman T. Wayne Kirwan said, a county District Court judge found Spanky Frank guilty of one count of selling home improvements without a license and one count of acting as a contractor with a license. Spanky Frank received a 30-day suspended sentence. Kirwan also said there is still arrest warrant for Ace Frank.

Police and the Maryland Home Improvement Commission released the following list to help residents when they hire contractors:

• Request references from prospective contractors

• Be suspicious of unsolicited offers and services

• Don't feel pressured to make a decision on the spot

• Contractors must be licensed to perform the work

• Always obtain a written contract for the work

• Don't share personal or financial information with prospective contractors

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