Sheriff warns of Flint water crisis ‘carpetbaggers’

Potentially lead-tainted water flows from a kitchen sink tap in Flint in January 2016.


FLINT, Mich. (WOOD) — The Genesee County sheriff is warning Flint residents not to trust people promising a high-cost, quick fix for the contaminated water in their homes.

The sheriff’s office said Tuesday it will conduct a full investigation into anyone — “carpetbaggers or opportunists,” as Sheriff Robert Pickell called them — trying to rip off Flint residents.

Pickell said residents’ lack of trust in the government that can’t seem to fix the problem of lead-tainted water is creating an opportunity for con artists to swoop in an offer solutions.

“It’s very suspicious what they are doing and that’s why we are concerned,” he said.

The biggest scam is so-called whole house filters to be installed behind a home’s water meter, which are selling for $1,000 or more.

“It sounds good, it sounds like you can protect your whole house, and the fact is you’re not,” Pickell said.

Plumbing experts warn even if the filters are lead certified, they’re ineffective in clearing lead from pipes in homes.

The second scam is water wells.

“I’m not recommending any of them,” said Harold Harrington with the Plumbers and Pipefitters UA Local 370 union.

It’s unclear how many people have fallen victim to the scams, but at least two reports have been made.

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