Tree trimmer again accused of taking money, not doing work

Daniel Seymour, 47, held without bond in Putnam County jail

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – A man who deputies said has repeatedly swindled homeowners by posing as a legitimate tree trimmer is accused again of taking money and not doing the job, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators told News4Jax that at least 18 people have fallen victim and that number could increase because they continue to receive phone calls and complaints. 

Daniel William Seymour, 47, of Daytona Beach, was arrested Tuesday at a hotel in Palatka after deputies found out where he was staying.

Seymour was released from jail on bond in March after being arrested on multiple charges, including:

  • Two counts of larceny
  • Fraud
  • Three counts of eluding law enforcement
  • Two counts of assault
  • Aggravated battery
  • Resisting a law enforcement officer
  • Hit and run 
  • Two counts of moving violations

Those charges stemmed from a 2018 criminal case that has not yet been adjudicated.

According to Putnam County investigators, less than 24 hours after his release, Seymour began approaching residents, claiming to be a legitimate and insured tree trimmer. Investigators said residents paid as much as $200 in advance to Seymour to trim their trees, but he never showed up to do the work.  

"He was back at it," said Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Joe Wells. "So we began investigating additional cases of theft and burglary."

A warrant issued for Seymour's arrest after complaints started coming into the Sheriff’s Office about him swindling people out of money as a tree trimmer, deputies said.

Investigators said after his arrest Tuesday, more people came forward to report being defrauded by Seymour. According to complaint affidavits, most of the victims were over the age of 60 and the sales approach was the same.

"He would promise work for prepayment of money and never return to do the work, or use his approach to do this work as a way to scope out property then later come back and commit thefts," Wells said.

Court records show Seymour has a long history of arrests dating back several years and has been convicted on charges of issuing worthless checks, organized scheme to defraud, grand theft and petty theft.

"He’s become one of the most prolific offenders I’ve seen in many years," Wells said. "We had some contact with him back in 2012, then he disappeared off our radar until 2017."

That’s when detectives said they started investigating Seymour. The investigation carried into 2018, when Seymour was finally captured after leading deputies on a high-speed chase, detectives said. He spent several months in jail awaiting trial. But in March, his bond was reduced and he was able to post bond. When the Sheriff’s Office said it started receiving new complaints about Seymour, deputies tried to arrest him, but on two occasions, he got away during high-speed chases. He was located and arrested Tuesday after detectives were able to trace his cellphone. 

Seymour is being held in the Putnam County jail without bond, online jail records show. 

Deputies advise anyone looking to hire a tree trimmer to do research before handing over money. The Sheriff's Office also asks anyone who may have been a victim but has yet to file a complaint to come forward. 

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