Many report scam claiming to be Eversource

LACONIA — Ginny Sanborn of Sanborn's Auto Repair was surprised Tuesday when she received a phone call from the credit department of Eversource informing her that the firm owed an electric bill of $684 and was sixth in line to be disconnected.

"I told them I had just paid our bill and asked them to check our account," Sanborn said. "When they told me they could find my account number, I asked to speak with a supervisor. They gave me a number to call," she continued. " I spoke with another guy who told me several disconnect notices had been sent." Sanborn began to wonder if she had forgotten to pay a bill and said she would go to the Eversource office at Nickerson Business Park in Tilton, only to be told "you'll be disconnected before you get to Tilton."

Sanborn called the bank, which confirmed the check to Eversource had cleared, then drove to Tilton When Sanborn reached the office on Business Park Drive the door was locked. "I banged on the door until a secretary answered," she said. "She called the credit department and we discovered it was all a scam. "It made for an interesting day," Sanborn remarked.

Sanborn was among what she learned were hundreds of business and home owners around the state to have similar experiences.

Sergeant Steve Akerstrom of the Belmont Police said that he took complaints from four local businesses, reporting that they were called by someone purporting to represent Eversource, who said their electricity would be disconnected within an hour if they did not pay the equivalent of two monthly bills with a credit card. He said that the bookkeeper at one firm sought to purchase debit cards at a supermarket, but after buying three was denied a fourth and subsequently learned of the scam. Akerstrom said that two other businesses were on the brink of disclosing their credit card numbers before thinking better of it.

"I think they were trying to get the credit card numbers," Akerstrom said, adding that he contacted Eversource, which was aware of the scam.

Laconia police said they had also received a number of reports, all of which were referred to the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office, which has greater resources than local departments to investigate such scams.

This is not the first time Eversource has been misrepresented. The company has repeatedly explained that its employees do not call customers demanding payment immediate or threatening to disconnect electricity and asked that such calls be reported to the company at 1-800-662-7764. The company offers a guide — "Protect You & Your Family From Scams" — on its website at www.eversource.com.

The number Sanborn was given — 1-844-240-3124 — is answered with a recording as "the business contact center for Eversource." The message continues "to better direct your call, if you are calling regarding a disconnect notice, to make a payment arrangement or to make a payment please hold. Your call is being transferred to a representative and maybe recorded and monitored for quality assurance." When the extension Sanborn was given — 1206 — was dialed, the only response was a busy signal.

Franklin trio - one with Gilford ties - arrested after foiled attempt to break into state police impound

CONCORD – Three Franklin residents turned themselves in to Franklin Police after a Bow Police officer foiled their attempt to retrieve property from a car that had been towed to a New Hampshire State Police compound after a traffic stop in the I-93 where police found evidence that there may be drugs in the car.

Erik Parker, 44, is charged with criminal solicitation for encouraging others to break into the compound, conspiracy to falsify physical evidence, attempt to falsify physical evidence and conspiracy to hinder apprehension or prosecution.

Alfred Morin, 31, is charged with attempt to falsify physical evidence, conspiracy to falsify physical evidence and conspiracy to hinder apprehension and conspiracy to hinder apprehension or prosecution.

Morin is also wanted on an outstanding felony warrant in Gilford for theft by unauthorized taking or unlawful transfer-theft of a motor vehicle. Gilford Detective Sgt. Chris Jacques said the charges stem from an incident in 2015 when Morin allegedly sold someone a Chevy Camaro that he didn't own.

Melinda Hanks, 51, is charged with one count on conspiracy to falsify physical evidence and conspiracy to hinder apprehension or prosecution.

Police allege Morin was found near the fence with a two-way radio and a full-faced winter hat. Parker was the driver of the car that was towed during the earlier traffic stop and Hick was the driver of the car used to take the trio to Bow.

A state police supervisor said yesterday morning that police had not yet searched the car and were in the process of applying for a search warrant.

Sanders sets high bar in campaign

LACONIA — "It's not about electing s president," Bernie Sanders, who continues to run neck-and-neck with Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, told a crowd of more than 150 voters at the Weirs Community Center Monday. "It's about making a political revolution."

Sanders opened by riffing on the two fundamental themes of his campaign — the "rigged economy" and "political oligarchy." The middle class, he said, "has been disappearing for the past 40 years as despite rising productivity, Americans are working longer hours and earning less money.

"Your grandchildren will have a lower standard of living than your children," he continued, "when one-tenth of the wealthiest one percent own as much the bottom 90 percent."

Offering what he called "a very radical idea" with feigned overstatement, he suggested "creating an economy that works for all of us."

"Why," he asked, "are the Republican candidates talking about everything but what's happening to the middle class?" then answered his question by pointing to "the corrupt campaign finance system." Repeating that a small, affluent elite "already owned the economy," he charged that the United States Supreme Court "gave it the opportunity to buy the government as well." When wealthy individuals like casino owner Sheldon Adelson play host to candidates to pick their favorite, Sanders claimed "that's not democracy. That's oligarchy." He said that relatively few wealthy donors, he described as "right-wing extremists," are spending $900 million to "overturn everything government has done since the 1930s to help the middle class." To loud applause, he called for public financing of elections.

The greatness of a country, Sanders said, is measured by how well it cares for its most vulnerable people. He said that America has the highest rate of childhood poverty and youth unemployment among comparable industrial democracies. Likewise, he said that "we should be be doing a lot better for our senior citizens." by expanding Social Security benefits. By raising the cap on taxable income on the most affluent 1.5 percent, Sanders said that the solvency of the system could be ensured for 50 years and monthly benefits increase by $65. He favors raising the minimum wage, dismissing the freedom of employers as "about me paying you three bucks an hour."

On foreign policy, Sanders chided the Republicans for talking "tough" about intervening in the Middle East, but reminded his listeners "it won't be their kids, it will be your kids who will go to war." Insisting ISIS must be destroyed, he said the United States "cannot and should not do it alone" and called for a coalition of major powers and Muslim states.

Asked how to overcome the deep division in the country, Sanders replied that in site of the passions aroused by issues like abortions rights, gay marriage and gun control, "on major issue after major issue, we are much closer together than people think." He referred specifically to economic inequality, campaign finance infrastructure investment, excessive incarceration and climate change as issues on which polls indicate a majority of Americans agree. "There's a lot of common ground," he said.

Seldom has a candidate grounded a presidential campaign on such a stark critique of the economic and political order. By way of introducing Sanders, Lew Henry of Gilmanton Iron Works remarked, "We may never again get a chance like this to change the rotten political system in this great country of ours."

And by seeking not only to win the presidency but also to spark a revolution, Sanders has set a very high bar.