A North Coast businessman, Jeffrey Allen Edwards, has been indicted by the Clatsop County grand jury on 15 felony counts. They include eight counts of first-degree forgery and seven counts of identity theft.
Astoria Deputy Police Chief Brad Johnston announced details of the case Friday.
As of Monday morning, Johnston said Edwards was not in custody and was in an unknown location.
The indictments are a result of a lengthy investigation into numerous complaints that the Astoria Police Department received about Mr. Edwards Astoria area business dealings over the past several years, he said.
The information that was presented to the grand jury involved Edwards practice of soliciting local Astoria residents to pressure wash and/or paint their houses, Johnston said. As part of his practices, Mr. Edwards would claim to be connected to and/or representing a legitimate local business to gain the trust of the victims.
To further the deception, Mr. Edwards would use the legitimate Oregon Construction Contractors Board license numbers of other businesses, or Mr. Edwards would create false CCB license numbers so that it would appear that he was appropriately licensed and bonded with the state of Oregon.
Johnston said during the investigation Edwards was warned that his activity was unlawful and was told to stop, but the Astoria Police Department continued to receive complaints about his business practices.
Edwards has never been licensed with the Oregon Construction Contractors Board and does not have a business license from the city of Astoria, Johnston said.
Anyone in the city of Astoria who believes they have been a victim of Edwards is asked to contact the Astoria Police Department at (503)?325-4411.
Edwards has a warrant for his arrest that is serviceable within Clatsop County. The warrant is unrelated to his current pending charges but is related to his parole on another issue. Anyone who knows a location of Edwards within Clatsop County is encouraged to contact the jurisdiction where he is located.
Johnston said police advise residents to be cautious when hiring people to do work on their homes or property.
Take the time to check with the Oregon Construction Contractors Board before asking for bids or entering into any agreements with a contractor, he said. By doing this, you will be able to verify if the contractor is actively licensed, is legal to do contracting work in Oregon, has a surety bond, has provided proof of liability insurance at the time of application, and also allows you to check on the history of the contractor.
See the Oregon Construction Contractors Board website at http://www .oregon.gov/CCB/ for more information on the best practices for hiring contractors.