Man heading back to prison after bilking elderly

SALEM, Ore. -- A man who served time in prison for thefts in Marion and Coos counties is heading back behind bars, after authorities say he scammed people out of money with bogus construction deals.

Jeffery Woodhouse, 42, was sentenced in Linn County to 13 months in prison, after he was found guilty of bilking an elderly couple for more than $4,000.

Authorities say an elderly Sweet Home couple took out a home loan to make a down payment on property improvements. The couple paid Woodhouse $4,400 to replace siding and paint trim, but he never started the work.

Legitimate contractors must be licensed through the Construction Contractors Board (CCB), and they say Woodhouse was never licensed in Oregon or Washington.

He typically took large deposits or full payment up front, then did little or no work, the CCB said.

Victims described him as charming, talkative and convincing. In making his pitch, he gave some of them calculators or other gifts. "This just underscores the importance of contacting the CCB to see if a contractor is licensed - and to verify that the license information matches the person who is offering to work for you," interim CCB Administrator Berri Leslie said. "Of course, we always urge special caution if someone contacts you out of the blue - whether by phone or showing up on your doorstop," she added. "Never pay a big share of the project cost up front and always check references."