3OYS catches up with ex-con over bad check

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A Peoria woman was pretty happy to be getting rid of some used furniture and other household items, until she says she was ripped off for $1,600 in the process.

Not only was she selling everything for $1,600, but she and her fiancé say they even delivered to the guy who was buying it.  But then, after the purchase, after the delivery, came a bad check.

Pia Dowers says she's constantly rearranging her home and buying something new.

A lot of her decorative items were bought at yard sales, and when she's tired of them in her house, she re-sells them.

One person who was interested in buying some of Pia's household items was a guy named Josef Yarmus.

"He was asking if we knew of anybody that had any, like, shelves or desks because he's trying to start up a new office because he was working out of his home," says Pia.

Pia says she had just what Josef Yarmus was looking for, including a desk and some shelving.  In fact, she showed us the entire list of used items that Josef Yarmus agreed to purchase for $1,600.

The only catch, she says, was that she and her fiancé had to deliver all of the items to Yarmus' new business and set everything up for him, which they did.

"That's where the nightmare started," she says.

A nightmare, because after Pia tried to deposit a $1,600 check from Josef Yarmus. she discovered there was no money in the account.

That was nearly two weeks ago. And to this day, she says Josef Yarmus refuses to pay, even though all of her furniture can be seen in his office.

"I just want my money," she says. "That's it."

3 On Your Side got involved and discovered that  Josef Yarmus is a convicted felon released from prison back in 2010.

We went to his business, called Restoration Pros of Arizona. Although it was closed, we did notice someone who appeared to be slipping out the back door. We never did catch up with Josef Yarmus, but I did get a hold of him on the phone.

Gary Harper: "The long and short of it is, you have her furniture and she has a bad check."

Yarmus acknowledged the check he gave Pia is worthless but says there's a reason.

Yarmus: "Let's just pay up on the furniture and get this thing done.I don't have a problem with that.”
Gary Harper: “Well, when's the money going to be back in the account?”
Yarmus:  "Well, what about this X-Box that's broken?"

Yarmus claims an X-Box video console included in that list of items he purchased doesn't work which is just one reason he says he shouldn't have to pay anything now.

Pia, though, says that's nonsense.  The X-Box was brand new and in a sealed box.  But the ex-con did finally promise to pay up.

Gary Harper: "I will let her know I talked to you and that you're going to make contact with her in reference to that $1,600, okay?”
Yarmus: "Thank you."
Gary Harper: "Alright, man."

Well, good news. After that conversation, Josef Yarmus gave up the furniture and everything was returned.

Of course, Pia says after all this, she would rather have the money. But as long as she got her stuff back, she's happy.