PHOENIX -- Tony Oliverio still mourns the loss of his father, who died unexpectedly.
Russel Oliverio had been sick and in a hospital but was expected to survive, so his son and wife started looking around for 24-hour care following his release.
“They were going to release him and we were gonna put him in a group home,” said Phyllis Oliverio.
The group home is a residential care home in Mesa that was licensed by the state and converted to meet state requirements.
The family thought it was perfect.
“I went there with her and looked through the group home. They had a few older couples ... so it was a legitimate group home,” Tony Oliverio said.
The group home, A West Incorporated, was owned by a man named Wesley Still.
And according to family members, Still wanted money up front.
“What he did was he asked my mom for $2,600 up front for the first month's rent,” Tony Oliverio said.
The family handed the money over to Still but as soon as they did, Russel Oliverio passed away.
Tony Oliverio said he and his mom immediately asked Still to return the money.
“She went to Wesley to ask for her money back," Tony Oliverio said. "Well, Wesley said, 'I already spent the money. I don't have it.' ”
The Oliverios were puzzled because they had just handed over the money a few days earlier, so they asked Still make payments which he did, at least for a while.
“In the last year, he made five payments," Tony Oliverio said.
However, the family says those payments have stopped and they are still owed $1,200.
“I'm at a dead end. He won't return our calls," Tony Oliverio said. "I’m hoping 3 On Your Side can help us recoup some of this money."
3 On Your Side went to that Mesa care home but we was told Still is no longer associated with the care home.
So, we then went to his Gilbert home but no one answered the door.
However, Still eventually did call 3 On Your Side back, saying he realizes he still owes the family money.
But exactly where did the $2,600 to in the first place?
“Uh, uh, just, you know, you just invest in trying to keep your place up and keep it nice and have a good place and things like that," he said. "You're not expecting the person not to come or four days later he passed away. I wasn't expecting that.”
Still went on to say he'll start repaying the remaining $1,200 he owes.
“OK, and what I'm gonna do is call them -- her son Tony has always been very kind to me -- and get with him and let him know I'll make a payment every month and will not miss until it's done."
Phyllis Oliverio says she sure can use the money and hopes Still keeps his word.
"Well, I feel terrible because, my gosh, I'm on a fixed income and I need the money, too," she said.