Tommy Clack Takes a Plea But Stays Out of Jail
Tommy Edward Clack, 40, appeared in Anne Arundel County court on Tuesday. He was there to accept a plea agreement to charges related to paving scams that took advantage of senior citizens going back to April of 2011.
The sentencing portion was held until May 10.
The states attorney did not ask for any guarantees that Clack would stay in town. Clack has twice fled in between court appearances. Kristin Fleckenstein, spokeswoman for the States Attorney, said that no bail hearing was held, so Clack was able to walk out of court on Tuesday.
Clack faces up to two years in jail for defrauding Anne Arundel County senior citizens upwards of $70,000. Fleckenstein added that all of the victims will have an opportunity to give statements prior to the sentencing.
Clack was first on the radar in Anne Arundel County in April of 2011 when (this writer) was alerted to Clack’s scam of pitching a quick and cheap job to a homeowner at a drastically reduced rate. He then complete the job and charged more—a lot more. In the case of one Davidsonville homeowner, Clack gave an estimate of $400, then invoiced for $60,000 (not a typo).
During his entire time in Maryland, Clack was working without a contractors license and in violation of several Maryland contracting laws, including soliciting work and beginning work in less than the three-day window for selling services. These are the charges the state pursued and Clack pleaded guilty to.
During his time working in the state, Clack drove a red truck with “Maryland Paving” on the doors. When I worked at Edgewater Patch, I was able to contact him by phone where he gave me a phony contractor identification number.
After Clack’s initial arrest and release on bond, he fled to Charleston, SC. In June, he was arrested at a $3,000 a week resort. By then Clack was facing more charges relating to the paving scams. He had left victims in Davidsonville, Lothian, Epping Forest and Arnold. He was also charged with grand larceny for stealing $25,000 worth of game equipment from a Greensboro audio dealer.
Later in June, Clack was returned to Maryland by U.S. Marshalls and again released on bail. By August, he was again working as a paver in Delaware, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and in Howard County. All three jurisdictions reported a similar ploy with elderly homeowners, a red truck and a man named Clack.
Clack then fled to Florida. He was using another alias by then, reportedly either Thomas Bramble or Tommy Clark.
In February of 2012, Clack was picked up in Florida and again returned to Maryland. After a brief hearing in Glen Burnie, he was taken to jail.
On Tuesday, Clack politely answered each question from the judge or his attorney.
“Yes sir, no sir, thank you sir,” he said softly when the judge asked if he understood the proceedings.
States Attorney Marot Hoskins told the judge that the state was only prosecuting two of the home improvement cases and dropping the others. Clack pleaded guilty to two counts each of operating as a contractor without a license and selling home improvement services without a license.
The charge of grand larceny for the home audio equipment, as well as charges of defrauding senior citizens were dropped. The maximum sentence for the remaining charges is two years in jail.
In total, there were 10 cases against Clack pending. Five of those will be prosecuted under the plea agreement. Hoskins told the judge that restitution is close to $70,000.
The amount individual victims are owed is between $2,000 and $15,000 each. The states attorney’s office has kept a list of each victim and the dollar amount. Fleckenstein later said that even though all of the cases won’t be prosecuted, all of the victims will be able to give the judge an impact statement at sentencing. Restitution will be given to as many victims as possible.
The plea agreement also asked for Clack to return the audio equipment he had acquired from “Classic Game Room,” a Greensboro, NC, audio dealer.
That is if Clack sticks around. He has skipped out on bail twice, and until May 10, he is a free man.
However, now that he has pleaded guilty and the court has accepted the deal, leaving town might not be such a great idea. Fleeing could add time to his sentence.
Clack’s paving scam has left him barred from home improvement contracting work in the entire state of North Carolina. Clack also has eight outstanding charges in South Carolina for defrauding seniors in a similar paving scheme. There also may be charges in other states too. Fleckenstein said that if requested, Clack could be handed over to other states for prosecution at the end of his jail term.
The South River Source will check in with Clack and the proceedings on May 10.