Chicago

Second Arrest Made In Phony Home Repair Scheme Affecting Victim After Victim In Chicago Area

CHICAGO (CBS) — Another arrest has been made in a phony home repair scheme that CBS 2 has been tracking for months. Police now say they have arrested both suspects, and prosecutors can move forward.

CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas reports the timeline of a case that spans more than 60 miles, from one county line to another.

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Tiana Hill takes no pleasure in this moment. She’s glad it exists but not glad to see it.

“It’s just sad,” she said, looking at the latest mugshot in a fraud investigation that she helped with.

In fact, the mugshot wouldn’t exist if not for her.

“Maybe I was the person God chose to put this to end and to step out,” she said.

In late 2020 Hill told CBS 2 that Riverside Roofing and Masonry took thousands of dollars from her, then disappeared from her South Shore home without finishing the job.

“It’s been so hard,” Hill said.

Hill connected us with another person with a similar story, someone who’d snapped a photo of one of the so-called contractor, Justin Ephraim.

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Then there was the Crocker family. They saw our first reports and recognized that man from their home repair nightmare in Crete.

“And it does hurt,” Donyiel Crocker said.

That caught the attention of Crete police.

“A key turning point in this was when our victims were able to identify Ephraim from the CBS news report, that really opened up the doors,” they said.

Back in July, Crete police explained that two people now face felony charges in the case. At the time, detectives said they’d already arrested a Jorge Molina, but they were still looking for Ephraim.

Then, last week, Ephraim was arrested outside his house in Chicago by Glencoe Police, who said they were assisting Crete with their warrant.

“Y’all actually doing the story and listening, we were able to help others from being impacted and affected by this and to being scammed as well,” Hill said.

Hill hopes Molina and Ephraim learn to leave their old ways behind, so no one else suffers like she did.

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Both those men were arrested earlier this year on lesser charges in Glencoe, but now Crete police say they combined that Glencoe case with theirs, leading to stronger charges and the new arrests.

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