Asphalt worker pleads guilty to scamming retired janitor out of life savings

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. - An Illinois man has one year to pay back the $17,500 he took from a retired school janitor in Leavenworth County, who expected to get a nice new driveway, or he could face jail time.

A Leavenworth County judge ordered Michael Gaede, 44 of Olney, Ill., to pay restitution and sentenced him to a year of' probation.

In March, 2012, Gaede and an asphalt crew were working in Leavenworth County.  They stopped at the home of Robert Barr and sold him on the idea of getting a new asphalt driveway.  Instead of asphalt, the crew put down what's called road millings. Weeds quickly began to grow in it.  Instead of the original quote of $1,750, the bill came to $17,500.

Barr paid it, draining his life savings.  When his nephew found out, he called authorities.  By the time they caught up with Gaede, he had cashed the check.

"The sheriff's department in this incidence moved quickly enough to be able to catch him and be able to at least find this type of conviction," Leavenworth County District Attorney Todd Thompson said.   

In court Wednesday, the judge told Gaede to repay Barr during the probation period; he could face jail time if he does not. Gaede now claims he has recently suffered a stroke and is applying for disability.

Barr doubts he will ever see his money. 

"If he's disabled, he ain't gonna pay nothing," Barr said. 

The Kansas Attorney General has confiscated equipment from the asphalt crew. The equipment could eventually be sold with the money going back to the victim.

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