(COLORADO) — A couple has been indicted by a state grand jury on 51 counts for allegedly operating a criminal tree-trimming scam that targeted older Coloradans in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, El Paso, Jefferson, and Otero counties from at least February 2020 to October 2022.

According to a press release from the Colorado Attorney General’s (AG) office, Joseph Camillo Tyler and Amelia Marie Tyler are accused of repeatedly using deceptive tactics to commit financial fraud on vulnerable older Coloradans, many of whom the AG said were over 80 years old.

According to the grand jury indictment, the husband-wife team would show up at a residence to solicit tree-trimming or home-repair services for a set amount of money.

The AG said that occasionally the homeowner paid in cash, but more often, they paid by check. Amelia would then cash the check at the homeowner’s bank while the husband cut a few branches at the victim’s home. After cashing the check, the wife would return to pick up the husband before he completed most of the job.

The Tylers would then tell the homeowner that they needed to get something and would be back, but they rarely returned to the jobsite, the AG said. At least 50 individuals were victims of the tree-trimming scam, ultimately losing around $40,000 in total.

The Arvada Police Department, which led the investigation into the criminal ring, arrested the defendants in October of 2022 for crimes connected to the pattern of racketeering activity alleged in the indictment.

“These types of predatory actions against some of the most vulnerable members of our communities will not be tolerated. To steal from people who have saved a lifetime to live out their golden years is appalling. We appreciate the hard work our detectives committed to this case and are thankful for a swift indictment,” said Chief Ed Brady of the Arvada Police Department.

The charges against the Tylers include two counts of violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, a class 2 felony, and various felony counts of theft, conspiracy to commit theft, aggravated motor-vehicle theft, and criminal exploitation of an at-risk person.

Both are due in Jefferson County Court in February.