More than a decade ago, Craig Oliver was on the run, fleeing Alexandria, leaving a number of homeowners out of money and angry at the con man. The convict has taken $2.5 million in cash for renovations promised that he never delivered, and he managed to get away before he could be fully sentenced.
FBI officials thought they had found Oliver this week in Los Angeles, but by the time they arrived to arrest the criminal, he had fled yet again. The Washington Post shares about the scam the clever faux contractor used to steal millions from homeowners.
"Oliver had posed in Northern Virginia as a contractor, offering showrooms, glowing references and even a valid license. The license was stolen, and he would work only until he could cash a client's check."Shirley A. Campolieto, who was being treated for colon cancer at the time, spoke to the publication back in 2005 about being conned by Oliver, but passed away in 2006
"He was so slick. He would hug you, kiss you, bring his wife over. I fell for Craig Oliver."Beth Campolieto, the daughter of Shirley, shares that she and the family doubt they will ever see the money returned that was stolen by Oliver, which amounted to $71,000 for incomplete work that had to be redone.
"Even if the FBI is able to recover the funds, it's too late for my mom. Craig knew that my mom was struggling with cancer, and it was obvious that she wasn't a wealthy person. He took advantage of her and made her last years miserable. Our whole family was truly put through hell because of his greed and lack of human dignity."In Alexandria, prosecutors discovered 68 victims affected by Oliver. In 2005 the criminal pleaded guilty to wire fraud but then disappeared before he was sentenced when he was let out of jail on a $150,000 bond. Oliver's attorney at the time did not return any calls asking for comment. Oliver is also wanted for probation violation in a 1995 securities fraud case.
Eimiller said, Oliver and his wife over," #ShirleyACampolieto told #TheWashingtonPost in 2005. "I fell for Craig https://t.co/FUOudknfr1Over the weekend, new tips led the FBI to learn that he and his wife were working as consultants to a home-improvement business in the Los Angeles area. A spokeswoman for the FBI, Laura Eimiller spoke about the duration the couple has called the L.A. area home.
— rasi (@twisira) September 21, 2016
"It's possible they've been living here a few years. The tip led agents to a photo of a man believed to be Oliver at a 2014 holiday party."By the time agents went to the business on Monday morning, Oliver and his wife had moved on. An employee at the business spoke to the agents and shared that the couple had stopped in to get a check and stated that they were leaving town and possibly heading to Georgia. Additional tips have previously led law enforcement to speculate that Oliver was in either Arizona or San Diego.
Man on lam for decade wanted by @FBIWFO seen in LA today. Seen Craig John Oliver aka Leigh Owsley? Call 3104776565. pic.twitter.com/skbV6KtMLiWhile living in California, Oliver is said to have gone by the name Leigh Owsley, while his wife, whose real name is Jennifer Oliver, called herself Tara Jean.
— FBI LosAngeles (@FBILosAngeles) September 20, 2016
Grace Paik was a victim of the pair in Alexandria's Del Ray neighborhood. The Post shares her story about how she and her husband were conned by Oliver.
"After Oliver had ripped out their kitchen and their HVAC system — and cashed their check for nearly $60,000 — the Paiks got a call from the FBI telling them their contractor was a fraud. Having lost nearly $60,000 to Oliver and more to legal fees trying to recoup their money, she and her husband spent the next nine months slowly rebuilding their home themselves. Stressed and strapped for cash, they nearly divorced."Paik shared about the facade the Olivers put on for them, and how it irks her now to think they would prey on a young family.
"It was like this loving, older couple who seemed like they really wanted to bless us and help us. It just makes me sick now, knowing what I know."[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]