Former N.C. Building Inspector Arrested on Forgery Allegations

April 8, 2008

North Carolina officials arrested a Pinebluff, N.C. man on three counts of common law forgery, one count of obtaining property by false pretense and one count of falsifying government documents, according to Insurance Commissioner Jim Long.

Richard Clyde Caton, 59, was processed at the Moore County jail under a $10,000 unsecured bond, Long said.

Since 2005 Caton has been the Town of Aberdeen’s chief building inspector, but Department investigators allege that he obtained his position by providing fraudulent and fictitious licenses certifying him as a qualified building, mechanical, electrical and plumbing inspector.

The Department of Insurance licenses building inspectors who complete an application process and pass a written exam; Department records show Caton never held such licenses.

As a board member of the Town of Pinebluff, Caton allegedly obtained licensing information from two town employees, used their valid licenses to falsify his own inspection certifications, and forged a Department of Insurance official’s signature.

Without the certifications, Caton would not have been eligible for the chief building inspector job and its accompanying annual salary of $46,000. During his employment with the Town of Aberdeen, Caton inspected more than 4,000 properties, residential and commercial, and issued approximately 300 residential certificates of occupancies. The Town of Aberdeen has started the process to re-inspect these properties.

Investigators received a tip about Caton’s alleged misconduct from the Town of Aberdeen’s Planning Department after officials there noticed his name was not included on the Department of Insurance’s Web site, which lists all licensed building inspectors. The Town of Aberdeen and Moore County District Attorney Maureen Krueger assisted in the investigation.

Source: North Carolina Department of Insurance

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