More charges have been filed against a Fairview Montana man, first accused of Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult and Construction Fraud, among other charges, back in October.
But as the allegations start to pile up against 26-year-old Sean Gorman, and now one of his associates, it’s clear this is the work of more than one.
This is a transient merchant scam that has crossed multiple state lines.
These guys are scammers, known as ‘Travelers’, ‘Irish Travelers’, or the ‘Irish Mob’ among law enforcement.
Although we now know Sean Gorman and Bartley Gorman Jr. as two of the men involved in the Gorman Construction fraud case, they also have at least five aliases to keep their scheme going.
The Gorman “Travelers” have taken advantage of older adults in at least Texas, Oklahoma, and North Dakota. But let’s focus on the peace garden state, where the Bureau of Criminal Investigation says, these guys appear to focus on elderly victims, in-and-around oil-producing areas.
Last week, more fraudulent charges were filed against Sean Gorman. Court documents say, again, he used deception to take $14,300 from a 67-year-old McLean County man.
“The conduct and practices of these businesses can actually shock the conscious, in terms of just how horrendous their contract is, and the extent to which they harm consumers in North Dakota,” shared Parrell Grossman, with the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division in the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office.
Last month, the Attorney General’s office put out a cease and desist order for Gorman, a couple of others he’s associated with, and for several aliases Gorman has used to scam vulnerable adults.
This directly followed more charges against Gorman and an associate, Bartley Gorman Jr., in January. In this case, the two men attempted to scam another woman out of $65,000.
“She was so alarmed and concerned that she fled out of a window of her home, and went to the bank where she was informed she was being scammed,” explained Grossman.
In October, KX News reported that Sean Patrick Gorman took advantage of an 86-year-old man in Garrison. He was scammed out of $82,000.
“That’s all he did his whole life was farm, just him, single guy, never married, no kids. That was the basis of his retirement,” shared the victim’s niece, Danielle Levey.
Between the four existing cases, this one traveling crew, consisting of at least three guys (all Gormans), scammed North Dakota elders out of $103,000 and an attempted $65,000.
But there’s evidence this case is much bigger.
Levey explained, “And for every person that says something, there’s a lot more that don’t. It just snowballs.”
The AG’s office can trace Sean Gorman’s name back to 2015.
We asked Grossman why the AG’s office didn’t see a reason to issue a cease and desist at the time, even though there were two cases.
“It wasn’t a situation where we were able to get a clear address on where he was, but he did return email inquiries or phone calls, and he made the refund. So, one particular case or incident doesn’t usually result in an investigation,” Grossman responded.
Recent reports from BCI say the Gormans cost North Dakotans over $2-million before any charges were filed in late 2019.
And they’ve gotten away with it, by paying off people who complain right away, and by moving around.
“I think a lot of times they are embarrassed, or they don’t want to admit to the fact they got scammed,” Levey said.
Here’s Grossman’s advice:
- If you have an older relative who lives alone, talk to them.
- Make sure they know that if someone comes around to install lightning rods, you don’t need those.
- Don’t let someone do any work without getting estimates from other competitors.
- Grossman also says never pay upfront, at most a very small down-payment.
- And, don’t feel like you ever have to open the door for someone.
- Checking references and licenses is crucial, and you can do it through a locked door.
In these cases, Sean Gorman didn’t have either of the two licenses he would’ve needed to legally do this level of construction here in North Dakota.