Solve It 7: “Snow Angels” Fraud

New England winters can be rough. From freezing cold temperatures to nasty nor’easters and snow…lots and lots of snow.

Last year, before the big winter storms moved in, Rick McHugh wanted to make sure his 75 year-old mother wouldn’t have to worry about plowing the driveway of her Danvers home.

“I wanted her to be able to have freedom,” says Rick. “To be able to and do her errands after a snowstorm.”

Rick searched online and found a company called Snow Angels.

“I talked with them, they sounded good,” he says.

He worked out a deal to have the company plow his mother’s driveway for $450 for the entire winter.

“Every two inches of snow, they would come out and take care of it,” he says of the deal.

The snow arrived as expected, and so did Snow Angels, clearing Rick’s mother’s driveway and steps. It was during the next storm that the problems began.

“I got no response the day of the storm,” says Rick.

Rick says he didn’t talk to anyone from the company until the next day. They promised him the would be out to plow within 24 hours. But Snow Angels was a snow no-show.

“They sent me an email saying they weren’t going to be able to service her for the storm nor the rest of the year,” said Rick.

The company offered him half of his money back, a deal Rick found unacceptable. That’s when he called Solve It 7.

We did some research and found out that Snow Angels wasn’t a local company like Rick thought. It was actually based in Minnesota and run by a man named Matt Erickson. We tried contacting Erickson several times, but didn’t hear back. Shortly before our story aired, we spoke with the lawyer representing him, but he declined to get into any of the specifics of the case.

We reached out to the Better Business Bureau who worked with 7News and Rick to get his money back from his credit card company. Rick’s problem was solved. He says it was never really about him, but more about other people who may have been caught up in the scheme.

There were more people than Rick could have imagined.

Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Department of Justice filed felony charges against Matt Erickson, alleging that Snow Angels defrauded more than 130 people across nine states of more than $60,000. Most of his alleged victims are elderly.

Erickson posted bond this past summer. His case is continuing to make its way through the court system. He is facing substantial potential jail time.

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