A West Virginia man was sentenced to a Carbon County prison term on Thursday after admitting he bilked a woman out of more than $17,000 in a home construction scam. After he entered a plea to two theft counts, it was learned she was one of a very long list of victims in multiple states scammed by the defendant.
William Harvey Hyer, 61, of Vienna, pleaded guilty to one count each of theft by deception and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, both felony threes.
He was charged by state police at Lehighton with taking money from Lucretia Hysock, of Albrightsville, to construct a garage with upper floor on her property and never finishing the work. The victim said he completed about 10 percent of the work for which she gave him a total of $19,978.
President Judge Roger N. Nanovic, who imposed a total sentence of nine to one day less 24 months in prison, noted that Hyer has prior convictions for doing the same thing in other states and has more charges pending in Ohio.
Hyer said he has spent the last six years in various prisons in Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginian "and other states" for the same conduct.
He claimed that he began his criminal activity in 2005 at age 55 but that was quickly disputed by Nanovic, who said his "rap sheet:" showed he had spent time in jail as early as 2001 for criminal acts such as what occurred in the instant case.
Hyer claimed he spent 18 months in a ministry program in Virginia and is now a ordained minister, something Hysock found very amusing. She told Nanovic Hyer was trying to hide his conduct behind religion. She added, "He's been ripping people off for over 40 years." She said she hired a private investigator and learned about Hyer's prior criminal activities and claimed there are other victims in Carbon who have not come forward yet. It was noted that there are pending charges in Montgomery County.
In addition to the jail term Nanovic ordered Hyer to make restitution of $17,782 to Hysock, and supply a DNA sample and pay the $250 fee. The jail term will be followed by two years of probation, Nanovic also ruled. Hyer was given credit for 212 days spent in jail to date on the charges. Although Hyer is close to reaching his minimum he will not be freed as Ohio authorities have a detainer lodged against him.
After imposing the sentence, which was the high end of the standard range, Nanovic told Hysock that he did all the law allowed him to do in the case. He said she should not expect to get any restitution since Hyer owes between $70,000 and $80,000 to other victims.