Home warranty company accused of making off with hundreds

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. -- From CEO to MIA, the search for the owner of a home warranty company, which reportedly stole hundreds of dollars from an East Valley man, takes an unexpected twist.

3TV has learned that the people who once worked next door to the suspected thief say Reinaldo Berges, CEO of Arkidus Home Protection, was committing other crimes.

"He's just a con artist that knows how to work the system," said Bob Adelfson, victim of the scam.

While Adelfson has never met Josie Stone, who lives 1500 miles away in St. Louis, the two have both been wronged by Berges.

"He was very unprofessional on the phone," said Stone, "he sounded very shady."

They say Berges scammed them out of hundreds of dollars.

Stone and Adelfson bought home warranty policies through Berges. Adelfson paid $595 for a one-year coverage plan.

But when both of them tried to use their policies, Stone says, "I could tell that getting anything out of them was going to be an issue."

Adelfson was also suspicious that something wasn't right.

"I would call, and someone would answer; I'd ask for Ray [Berges] or tell them I had a problem with my home warranty and looking for the refund. They would say 'hold on' and never come back to the phone."

Reporter Chris Nagus, with our sister station KMOV-TV in St. Louis, flew to Miami to confront Berges at his office and that's when we discovered several other people were also interested in talking with the CEO.

According to Hatem Bamieh, who works out of the office next door, "we had people looking for them, from cops to detectives, and an FBI agent."

Those who worked in the same complex gave us a tour of Berges' now vacant office.

Bamieh told us, "This guy, he sat back here, basically, he was the boss, one time we had to come in and let him know to stop smoking because it was going through the vents and bothering our clientele. They would smoke in here all day long."

Berges and his team weren't just reportedly lighting up; they were quite busy starting up other businesses.

Adelfson told us, "he's actually registered four of them in the last year with the state of Florida, and one of them was his sunglass business. I actually called the Florida Department of Insurance because I thought that's who regulated them and the gentleman I talked to. As soon as I mentioned the name, he says 'oh yeah, we've heard of them before, we've had a lot of complaints.'"

Adelfson says he's out a total of $900 for the bogus home warranty and what he had to pay to fix his garage door.

"I'm a big believer in karma, so he's going to get his someday. It's just sad that someone has to be that way."

Miami Police has issued a warrant for Berges' arrest.