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I-Team: North Reading Man Charged In Land Surveying Scheme

By Lauren Leamanczyk, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Lauren Leamanczyk Lauren Leamanczyk
Lauren Leamanczyk is an I-Team Correspondent for WBZ-TV News and is...
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WOBURN (CBS) – A North Reading man is accused of passing himself off as a licensed land surveyor and charging people $650 to $800 for his work. Authorities say Martin Finch stole the identities of actual licensed surveyors to accomplish the scheme.

Aaron Spagnolo needed a survey before he could move forward with an addition on his North Reading home. He found Martin Finch on Craigslist.

“When he came here he told you he had a license?” WBZ’s I-Team asked. “Yes. He even pre-emails. Even on his business cards things like that, it all says licensed.”

Finch did come and perform a survey on the property. The trees are still flagged at Spagnolo’s house. The problem is Finch doesn’t have a license. The number and stamp he used belonged to someone else.

“We paid to have it professionally done, not someone who pretended to be a professional,” said Spagnolo.

Prosecutors say Finch worked for as many as 20 to 25 people, each time claiming he was a licensed surveyor.

Wednesday he appeared in Woburn District Court facing serious charges of Larceny, Identity Fraud and Unlicensed Practice of Engineering of Land Surveying. The accusation is that he committed fraud, taking unsuspecting customers’ money and that he stole the identities of three local professional surveyors, whose stamps and license numbers he allegedly passed off as his own.

WBZ caught up with Finch after the court proceeding. “I had all best interests in mind and I know some people were hurt and I’m not happy with myself about that,” he said.

He says he is a trained engineer with a degree from Wentworth.

“Why didn’t you just get your own license?” WBZ asked. “I have on many occasions tried to pass the exam for licensure and have not yet,” Finch replied.

His lies could cause problems. The surveys Spagnolo and others paid up to $800 for are no good. It almost set back Spagnolo’s whole project.

“It blows my mind that he’s out there doing that to people,” he said.

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