Woodchucking Scam: Know About The Scam!

You can read all the details about this scam that you cannot find anywhere else. Learn how scammers can rob elders without using technology.

Montgomery, United States authorities issued an alert regarding fraudulent wood-chucking employees? How can wood-chucking workers scam people? What is the maximum amount that wood-chucking workers could steal from innocent people’s pockets? What was the incident which prompted the authorities to issue an alert?

Was aware that a session to raise awareness about the issue is planned? Check out more on Woodchucking scam.

The wood-chucking scam:

A man approached an elderly couple in Silver Spring, Maryland. These couples were in their 80s and old. On the request of the couples, their identity and location are censored. The man made it seem like he was a skilled woodworker and repairman, and even painted wood. The man, who introduced himself as Joseph Swanson, was aggressive.

The couple needed some woodwork on their property. The man went through their house and noted down all the items that needed repair. Joseph created an urgency to repair the things and planned the Woodchucking Scam. He listed the branches of trees that needed to be chopped. The couple, however, had an emotional attachment with the tree that their child had a house in and had made numerous marks on it while they were playing as children.

The couple didn’t know they were being scammed at that time. Joseph’s list of repairs was believed. Joseph wanted to raise the amount of the bill. Joseph cleverly included items that didn’t need any repairs.

What was the scammer’s strategy?

The couple used to write checks from their checking account. Joseph took advances to buy the necessary items for repairs. Joseph hired Nicholas Shonabin and Travis Jenkins to work for him. Travis and Nicholas also took advance payments for the purchase of things needed for repairs.

The work was slow and eventually incomplete. Joseph gave the couple several excuses, saying that their partner was in hospital. The couple was well-known in their community as a contributing couple. The wood-chucking employees took advantage of their ignorance to get several payments towards hospital bills.

Joseph brought his family to the house of the couple to complete small tasks, such as painting a table.

Uncovering Woodchucking Scam

During the pandemic of covid in 2020, Montgomery County Police received an anonymous report about suspicious activity at the house of the couple. The case was investigated by Detective Cindy Miranda. She conducted an investigation at the house of the couple.

The audit was to determine how much money the couple had given to the wood-chucking employees from their checking account. The total was shockingly over $200K. This is a large amount of money for unprofessional decor. The Montgomery County Police took action against Joseph

Joseph was sentenced for Woodchucking Scam to six and a half years in prison, while police continue to search for Travis Jenkins and Nicholas Shonabin.


The couple did not know that Joseph was swindling them. However, the wood-chucking employees had already withdrawn over $200K from their accounts. This incident shows how elderly couples can be scammed. The authorities have issued an alert because scammers can use different methods to rob people. Montgomery County Elder and Vulnerable adult Task Force has scheduled a safety discussion on 15th/June/2023, at 10:00 AM.

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