Consumer Alert: Fraud furniture

Brendan Clark - In the eyes of conmen, she was an easy target,an elderly furniture store owner who trusted her customers. But as you'll see in tonight's i-team consumer alert, she fell for a scam that has almost cost her the business she loves.

Dorothy Mitchell got taken. "I guess I'm a sucker, but I was taken. Because they were really friendly people and I just took them as being good and it wasn't so."  Mitchell is having a hard time accepting that she was conned out of more than $75-thousand dollars by people she thought she could trust. The 89 year old and her family have owned Mitchell's furniture store for more than 45 years and now its future is in jeopardy.

"They came in here and shopped for a week or two, before they bought anything, and got friendly with her", says Dale Brown, daughter of Mitchell. "When they came back to buy furniture, they would bring a big check that was made out to somebody else. But they claimed they were shopping for this person and this person was in their retirement home or a boarding home."

The check they gave Dorothy Mitchell would be for as much as six-thousand dollars but the con artists would only buy one-thousand dollars worth of furniture. The family quickly learned something wasn't right. When the bank called, they said it does not look good, it looks fishy.

The check was a fake. Now, the family lost the furniture as well as the money written on Dorothy's account.

The thieves were relentless.The same thing happened seven times before the family was forced to step in.

"This store was her whole life and we finally had to put our foot down, and it just destroyed my mother, we had to take her out of the store because people were taking advantage of her," says Brown

Six people were arrested in connection with this scam. Postal inspectors say no individual or business should accept checks that are not made out to them directly.

The six people arrested in connection with this scam are still awaiting trial.


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