3 On Your Side

2 seniors and a business owner 'mowed over' by two ex-cons

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

An East Valley business owner, along with two senior citizens, say they've been taken advantage of by two men.

The three victims came to 3 On Your Side at around the same time complaining about these two guys.

So, 3 On Your Side got involved and discovered some disturbing details. 

3 On Your Side did some door-knocking, a lot of door-knocking, looking for two guys by the name of Zachary Simpson and Jeff Troub, and we're not the only ones either.

We'll start with Andrew and Heather Young. They own a reputable business called The Tree Amigos.

"I used to work in courts. I traded in transcripts for tree work and we've been outside, loving it for the last 10 years,” exclaimed Heather. 

But they recently discovered their business name has been hi-jacked and is being used by Zachary Simpson and Jeff Troub.

“We've worked so hard for our reputation and to have them out there staining it up, it needs to stop,” said Young. 

Heather and Andrew even had their attorney send the "fake" Tree Amigos a cease and desist letter telling them to stop using their business name.

But the damage, they say, has already been done.

"Using the name Tree Amigos and they're going around preying on old people and ripping them off,” exclaimed Young.  

People like Barbara O’Donnell.

“They took the $1,000 and then, we never saw them again,” O'Donnell said.

She lives in Sun City and says Simpson and Troub performed some minimal work for her and she paid them.

But when she asked for a bigger landscape project to be done in her front yard, Simpson and Troub asked for $1,000 cash up front.

O'Donnell gave it to them but the two never came back.

"We worked hard all our life for our money and we're still working for our money so we can have a good life and I think people like this take advantage of old people," said O’Donnell.   

And O’Donnell isn't the only senior citizen to be taken.

Molly Krandall wrote several checks made out to Simpson totaling about $18,000.

But, she can't remember writing those checks or exactly what kind of work Simpson and his crew were supposed to do.

Stacee Gibbons is Krandall's daughter who still can't believe her mom handed over 18 grand. 

“Mom, what happened? She said, ‘I’m not sure! I don't know!'" Gibbons said.

Gibbons says that's because her mom has dementia, something we witnessed when we asked O'Donnell what day of the week it was.

“Today is, you know I don't even know,” she said. 

So, 3 On Your Side got involved and discovered both men are ex-convicts who spent time in prison on a number of criminal charges.

After discovering 3 On Your Side was looking for the two ex-cons, Troub never called back but Simpson did and he had all kinds of answers.

For example, he claimed he'll stop using a reputable business' name as his but on his Facebook page we found a sign on the side of his truck using the name Tree Amigos.

As for the $1,000 he took from O’Donnell, he claims he doesn't recall that!

And as for the $18,000 he took from Krandall, he told me, "She's a grown woman," and can do what she wants. 

Gibbons says the only real work the two ex-cons did was a take out a few trees, which certainly shouldn't have cost $18,000.  

“They're predators. It's awful. This is an awful, an awful thing and they obviously don't have a conscience,” said Gibbons. 

The Arizona Registrar of Contractors says it is aware this situation. In fact, they've taken complaints from other victims as well.

If criminal charges are filed, we’ll let you know in a follow-up report.

This is a link for the legitimate company, The Tree Amigos

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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