A twice-convicted felon who scammed elderly residents in West and Lorena into paying for home repairs he did not perform was sentenced to 30 years in prison Monday.
Judge Ralph Strother of Waco’s 19th State District Court sentenced Ronald Wayne Pruitt, 47, of Garland, to prison and also ordered him to pay $11,800 in restitution. Pruitt pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of more than $1,500 but less than $20,000 from an elderly individual and one count of exploitation of an elderly person.
The charges against Pruitt were enhanced and he was prosecuted as a habitual criminal because of felony convictions in Bowie County in 2011 for burglary of a habitation and one from Rockwall County in 1999 for securing execution of a document by deception.
As a habitual criminal, he faced a minimum of 25 years in prison and a maximum life prison term. Pruitt must serve at least a quarter of his 30-year term before he is eligible for parole.
According to records filed in the case, a man identified as Pruitt, dressed in a hard hat and safety vest, came to the home of an 87-year-old woman in West and said he was there to check if electrical repairs were needed to her home.
He told the woman he had been shocked by her circuit panel and needed to go into the attic to make electrical repairs. He came down with a wire that appeared to be damaged by an animal and told the woman squirrels had gotten into her house and chewed up her wiring.
She wrote him a check for $4,500, which he cashed using fake identification at State National Bank of West, according to the arrest affidavit. She told police she realized later that no work was done in her attic and no repairs were needed.
A month later, Pruitt struck again in Lorena, this time choosing an 82-year-old man and telling him he worked for an electric company, according to court records. Pruitt told the man his electric meter showed to have a shortage problem.
The man let him in and he said he was going to replace wiring in the attic. The man wrote Pruitt a check for $4,500.
Pruitt and another man returned to the man’s home a few days later and said they were there to repair his roof. The man told West police he paid them $3,400 that time. The man said he later realized that no repairs had been done in the attic or on the roof and that both of his checks had already been cashed.
The other man with Pruitt was not arrested, officials said. The affidavit states that Pruitt is wanted for parole violations and by “multiple agencies” on outstanding warrants.
Pruitt’s attorney, Jack Hurley, declined comment after Pruitt was sentenced Monday.