Fake religious charity scams elderly in Delaware

A 53-year-old Millsoboro woman faces charges, including home improvement fraud, after allegedly bilking elderly homeowners under the guise of the fake religious group “Serenity Home Group Ministries.”

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit, with help from the State Police, found that Lana Plee Pierce told homeowners her group could fix up their homes for fees that would be tax deductible.  Pierce, who also goes by the name Lana Preston, used the checking account number, address, and federal tax ID number of a legitimate missionary group called “Delaware Bridges.”  Using that false identity, the AG’s office says she was able to get $17,000 worth of lumber and building supplies from Nuttle Lumber.  She’s facing five counts of home improvement fraud, including three charges involving victims aged 62 or older.

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden issued a statement warning homeowners of possible home improvement scams.  “Help protect yourself against contractor fraud by making certain that a contractor is licensed and bonded, follow up on references, ask your friends and neighbors about a contractor’s reputation, and never pay for work up front.” 

If you think you may have been the victim of home improvement fraud, you can call the Consumer Fraud Hotline at 1-800-220-5424.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.