Oklahoma Man Linked To Goshen Scams Arrested

GOSHEN (KFSM) — An Oklahoma man accused of defrauding three families of nearly $15,000 via a construction scam has turned himself in to authorities.

Henry Cooper, 28, of Spiro, Okla., faces three counts of felony theft of property.

Goshen police said Cooper solicited the families last fall for cheap asphalt work on their driveways, but demanded exorbitant payments upon completion.

Cooper initially asked for $12,000, $6,100 and $3,750 from each family, twice settling for slightly less money, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The families balked at the prices, but Cooper threatened to seize their property in lieu of payment or put a lien on their homes, according to the affidavit.

Police said Cooper, who doesn’t have a license to do the work he is offering, collected about $14,750 from all three jobs.

“I mean he’s basically intimidating them,” Sgt. Jason Travis said in September. “One of the ladies that we spoke to was afraid that he would come back to her house.”

Police suspect Cooper has made thousands of dollars through this scam, and authorities say he isn’t the only person trying to defraud residents.

Birkett Wootton, an investigator with the Arkansas Contracting Licensing Board, said Cooper is part of a  tight knit community of “asphalt layers.” He said they’re based out of Spiro and work outside of bigger cities.

“They don’t allow anyone outside of the family to join,” Wootton said. “They have their own culture, they have their own rules and laws. They basically have territories where they meet and decide who gets to work where.”

Travis said police have reports Cooper was handing out flyers as far away as Rogers.

“He’s working the entire Northwest Arkansas area … and we just want to warn people,” Travis said. “We don’t want people to be taken by him.”

Anyone with more information can call Goshen police at 479-443-7171.

Residents can also visit the state licensing board’s website or call 501-372-4661 to see if a contractor is licensed to work in Arkansas.

Cooper is free on a $10,800 bond. He has a hearing set for Dec. 20 in Washington County Circuit Court.