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ANNAPOLIS, Md. - He's been wanted up and down the east coast with active warrants in several states. He has been through trials and prosecutors say he’s agreed to plea deals.
But victims feel justice never comes for Tommy Clack. Our investigation into the Annapolis paver’s scam continues, with a look at why some believe his time has finally come.
Tommy Clack is no stranger to the orange jumpsuit, facing judges over and over in court rooms up and down the east coast.
But for now, the Annapolis paver has avoided considerable time behind bars, despite warrants, civil orders, criminal convictions and even being banned from business.
Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney Lance Richardson describes the man his office has attempted to prosecute, calling him, "System savvy, yes, manipulative."
It’s a description some think Clack may have earned after his involvement in a paving scam authorities believe he’s has been running in at least four states including Maryland.
Here in Maryland, the Attorney General’s office reports many of Clack’s victims are seniors who’ve been offered paving services at a discount. Their cost was later increased by thousands of dollars.
North Carolina’s Patricia Odom is one of his victims. She says, "Every day it seems like something is happening with that driveway. It's a disaster."
Odom is one of the lucky ones. When her driveway job went bad, she fought clack for a refund. But it took a court order from a North Carolina judge to get an $11,000 check into her hands.
Once it arrived she told an ABC station there, "We're happy on the paving deal now."
But North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper doesn’t share Odom’s new found fondness for Clack. When asked about his court battles with the paver, he said, "This is one of the most frustrating cases that I have faced as Attorney General."
Cooper is worn down after years of fighting Clack and for good reason. He’s been fighting to stop Clack’s questionable paving practices since 2007.
Years back he even banned Clack from working in his state, but just last month Cooper had to issue another consumer warning after he says Clack resurfaced in North Carolina, rolling more victims.
Cooper says, "His judgment day will come. This guy needs to be in jail. Consumers should not have to deal with this type of person who continues to violate the law time and time and time again."
But is Clack finally paying the price? The paver was picked up on outstanding warrants in South Carolina three weeks ago and pleaded guilty in three 2009 cases.
Prosecutors there say Clack swindled four people out of $90,000.
Clack will be headed back to Maryland in the next month, where active warrants are waiting in four counties, including Queen Anne's, where he's charged as acting as a contractor without a license.
Richardson says, "We thought we had a plea negotiated. We actually anticipated him coming to court."
But Clack didn't appear on his court date. And it's not the first time. It's a familiar pattern for Maryland prosecutors like Richardson, who says they've grown weary of bringing witnesses to court, only to send them home after clack doesn't show.
He says, "It’s a very frustrating scenario for someone who takes advantage of people."
Those customers of Clack’s claim they’ve lost money and time, dealing with black top that's tried their patience. He’s also tested the will of law enforcement who seek to stop him. Attorney General Cooper has made it a mission.
He says a state/federal task force is investigating Clack's operation, joining together in hopes of finally taking him down for good. Cooper explains, "Things are moving now to the point there are going to be charges serious enough where he will be convicted and put in jail, hopefully for a long period of time."
Clack’s attorneys in Maryland would not offer comment for our story or during our previous coverage of his cases.
Clack has made some restitution in some of his cases in the south, but he may be facing more here as well. Many of his cases in Maryland are in various stages of progress, from pleas to sentencing.
Clack is waiting on the outcome of a civil case brought by the Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler’s office.
That case went forward, even though Clack never appeared in court. According to court documents, an administrative law judge found Clack engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices.
The Attorney General’s office has asked for $204,000 in restitution for Maryland victims as well as civil penalties totaling $284,000. A final decision is pending.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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