Man Who Scammed Elderly Colorado Residents With Tree-Trimming Fraud Faces 8 Years in Prison

By: Beth Moreton | Published: Apr 29, 2024

With cases of fraud on the rise, it might be comforting to some that police are taking action.

This is what happened when scammer Joseph Tyler was sentenced to 8 years in prison in March 2024 after defrauding mostly senior people from their money. 

Tyler Claimed To Do Garden Services

Tyler set up a fake business that claimed he carried out gardening services.

Joseph Tyler’s mugshot photo.

Source: KKTV 11 News/YouTube

The Longmont Leader reported that this was mostly tree-trimming and general home improvement services. 

Tyler Didn’t Work Alone

Tyler wasn’t the only one working on this business; he got his wife, Amelia Tyler, in on it too.

Amelia Tyler’s mugshot photo.

Source: KKTV 11 News/YouTube

Between them, they would go to senior people’s homes, claiming to offer a service that was never carried out.

They Asked for the Payment Upfront

KKTV reported that the husband-and-wife duo would ask for the payment upfront before any work had been done.

A person handing another person some money. There are four notes, one $10 note, and three $20 notes.

Source: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

Amelia would then deposit the cash or cheque while Joseph trimmed a few tree branches. Once the money was in, she would pick him up and claim they had to go and pick something up, only to never return.

Amelia and Joseph Got Away With the Scam for Years

The scam was carried out throughout various counties within Colorado, including El Paso, Denver, and Jefferson.

An aerial view of Denver, Colorado. There are high-rise buildings all throughout the city.

Source: Acton Crawford/Unsplash

They first started the scam in February 2020, ending in October 2022. 

Joseph Didn’t Have a Permit

Paschal states that a permit is required for tradespersons to carry out work. 

A tradesman holding a piece of paper.

Source: Freepik/Freepik

So, it may come as no surprise to some that Joseph did not have a permit to carry out the work and was likely untrained for it as well. 


One Woman Lost $100,000

1819 News reported on a woman, Virginia Cannon, who got caught up in the scam. 

Two piles of $100 notes secured with green, red, and yellow elastic bands. The notes are on a white table.

Source: Celyn Kang/Unsplash

Some work was started on her home, but it ended up causing further damage. When Joseph didn’t return, Cannon repeatedly called him until he eventually returned just $20,000 of the stolen money. 


Joseph Has Been in Prison Previously

This isn’t Joseph’s first time in prison, as he was previously sentenced in 2013.

Joseph Tyler mugshot. The word “custody” is written across his image in red.

Source: @ArvadaPolice/X

CBS News reported that he went to prison for three years after he failed to register as a sex offender. 


There Were at Least 50 Victims

The police believe that Joseph and Amelia have conned at least 50 people out of their money.

An old man holding a $1000 note.

Source: Dii Nyau/Pexels

Many of their victims were of an older age, with most of them being at least 50 years old. 


Amelia Served a Year in Jail

Amelia cooperated with the prosecutors and pleaded guilty to her crimes.

Amelia Tyler’s mugshot. The word “custody” is written across her in red.

Source: @ArvadaPolice/X

Yahoo! News reported that as a result, she was sentenced to a year in jail which she has already served. She is now on a three-year probation intensive residential program.


Joseph Will Serve 8 Years

As he didn’t cooperate, Joseph was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

A black and white photo of the inside of a prison. There are cells on either side of a corridor with bars on the front of them.

Source: Emiliano Bar/Unsplash

He was also ordered to pay just $23,000 in restitution. 


ElderWatch Helps Recognize Scammers

AARP ElderWatch has been set up to help elderly people recognize fraudulent behavior.

The AARP ElderWatch logo. It has a red background and a white box in the center. The box says, “AARP ElderWatch a partnership with the Colorado Attorney General.”

Source: @StopFraudCo/X

Volunteers are on hand to help elderly people recognize, refuse, and report fraud and scams.