Kirby Vacuum Company Crime Chronology

Compiled: 02/19/08

 

Grand Forks Herald (ND)

 

July 30, 1992  

 

DATELINES: REGION COMPANY LOSES IN RAPE SUIT

Author: Herald wire reports

 

The state Supreme Court upheld a $150,000 jury award Wednesday to a woman who was raped by a Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman in her Fargo apartment.

--------------------------

 

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

 

November 18, 1994  

 

Jury award shows need for background checks, lawyer says

Author: Associated Press

 

AUSTIN - A jury award of $1.7 million to a woman who said she was raped by a Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman with a criminal record proves the need for thorough background checks of door-to-door salespeople, the woman's lawyer said.

----------------------------

 

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

April 24, 1996  

 

 

 

Dateline: Neillsville

 

 

A con man serving jail time for bilking an elderly woman out of $30,000 pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating his work-release rules when he went to a Minnesota casino and won enough money to apparently finish paying her back.

 

Clark County officials thought Alan J. Heath, 39, was selling vacuum cleaners when he drove to the Treasure Island Casino in Red Wing, Minn.

 

The other charges accuse Heath of:

 

Selling a Kirby vacuum cleaner to an elderly woman in Dunn County, and then asking her to write another check because he said lost the original check. He cashed both checks.

Selling as many as 11 vacuum cleaners and seven carpet shampooers in South Carolina, and then taking them back.

-------------------------------------

 

Ventura County Star (CA)

 

May 1, 1997  

 

Man sought in senior scam arrested

 

A vacuum cleaner salesman who allegedly used his sales techniques to scam elderly residents out of more than $100000 was arrested in Santa Barbara authorities said Wednesday.

 

Raymund Michael Crawford 39 of Thousand Oaks was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of grand theft burglary and writing bad checks said Oxnard Police Department Detective Ken Kent.

 

Crawford acted as a Kirby Vacuum Cleaner salesman and after selling to his victims he would recontact them to try to persuade them to invest in business ventures Kent said.

 

Detectives believe Crawford promised high interest rate return on investments but either failed to pay at all paid only small amounts or paid with bad checks.

 

Crawford allegedly bilked senior citizens from Oxnard Camarillo and Ventura out of $115000 Kent said.

-------------------

 

 

 

 

Great Falls Tribune (MT)

 

April 3, 1999  

 

Teen charged with stealing deluxe vacuum

 

A would-be vacuum cleaner salesman has been charged in Cascade County District Court with theft of the demonstration model he was issued at the end of his training.

 

Jeffrey John Lanners, 18, 3024 1st Ave. S., is charged with felony theft.

 

------------------

 

Jan 1, 1999.

Firm liable for rape by employee Texas Supreme Court rules vacuum maker should have required check on salesman;

Dallas Morning News.

 

AUSTIN - The Texas Supreme Court sided Thursday with a woman who accused a door-to-door vacuum-cleaner salesman of raping her, holding his employer liable for her injuries.

--------------------------

- April 20, 1999

Cincinnati Enquirer Ohio

 

Persistent salesman who frightened homeowner is indicted

 

The eager pursuit of a sale has landed a Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman in court. When no one answered his knock on the front door of a Meadow Lane residence Dec. 7, salesman Jeremy Osborne decided to try another, police said.

------------------------------

 

The Knoxville News-Sentinel

 

March 8, 2001  

 

Convicted bank robber charged in more robberies, plot

 

A vacuum cleaner salesman already convicted of robbing a Lenoir City bank has been charged with robbing other East Tennessee banks and plotting to kidnap the wife of a bank president to extort money.

 

Gregory Earl Jones and fellow Kirby Vacuum Cleaner salesman Steven Wayne Mendenhall got the idea to rob a bank after watching the television show "Cops," according to court documents filed by FBI Special Agent Todd Sandstedt in 1998.

 

-----------------------

Dec 13, 2003

Woman claims vacuum salesman groped her

Charleston Daily Mail. Charleston, W.V.

 

 

According to the lawsuit, Bush let White and another, unidentified Kirby salesman come into her house to show her how the Kirby vacuum cleaner works. After the salesmen completed the demonstration, the unnamed agent used Bush's bathroom and left the house.

Bush broke free, but White followed her around performing a sex act, according to the suit. After he finished, he told Bush "he would come back to her residence later that evening, to determine if she would be interested in purchasing the Kirby vacuum cleaner," according to the suit.

-------------------------

Dec 15, 2003

Salesman accused of scam

AP. Columbian. Vancouver, Wash.

 

Mickey Brown was ranked among the top 10 distributors three times during his 17 years selling Kirby vacuums in Tigard, Ore., officials said. Lili Brown operated a separate distributorship from 1989 to 1996.

 

PORTLAND (AP) -- A former vacuum cleaner salesman and his wife are facing lawsuits claiming they ran a multimillion-dollar credit card scam that defrauded the elderly, disabled and fellow church members.

 

Johnny "Mickey" Brown and Lili Andersen Brown allegedly took money for vacuum cleaners from their customers and instead invested it in real estate, according to lawsuits and complaints seeking nearly $4 million filed with the state.

 

U.S. Bank has the largest claim, seeking $3.4 million in its lawsuit that accuses the Washington County couple of fraud and racketeering.

 

-----------------------

www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/kirby_salesman.html

 

Kirby Salesman Swept Up in Crackdown

 

February 20, 2004

A Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman was arrested and charged with financial exploitation of an elderly person, theft by deception, harassment through electronic communications, and violation of the

 

Thomas Schierer, 37, of East Peoria, obtained money and a vacuum cleaner from a Canton couple in exchange for a Kirby vacuum cleaner he falsely represented to be "new."Schierer appeared in court Feb. 10, and bond was set at $25,000.

 

-----------------------------

07/26/04

Door-to-door peddlers arrested

 

WAPELLO, Iowa - Four Des Moines-area men were arrested Sunday evening by Wapello police after a local resident complained to authorities that they were going door-to-door selling Kirby vacuum cleaners.

 

According to a Wapello Police Department report, Aaron Alexander, Michael Feller and Johnathan Johnston were charged July 25 with peddling without a license.

 

A fourth man, Dallas Gamble, was arrested at a Wapello residence during a demonstration. Gamble was charged with peddling without a license as well as possession of a controlled substance, suspected methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 --------------------------

 

March 2, 2005

 

CLERMONT, Fla. -- A Lake County community is on alert after two men allegedly sexually assaulted a young girl in her home.

 

Girl Sexually Assaulted By Traveling Salesmen, Police Say  

 

The two teenage men were going door to door in a Clermont-area neighborhood offering

carpet-cleaning services, WESH News Channel 2 reported.

----------------------

Sep 11, 2005

Wisconsin State Journal. Madison, Wis

CUSTOMERS REACH LAWSUIT DEAL WITH VACUUM SELLER ; TWO WOMEN SAY THEY WERE AGGRESSIVELY PRESSURED TO

BUY KIRBY VACUUM CLEANERS.

 

Madison residents who said they were aggressively pressured to buy Kirby vacuum cleaners from a local dealership have reached consumer lawsuit settlements with the dealership, the Kirby company and a finance company.

---------------------------

 

 

 

 

Times Tribune

11/04/2005

Door-to-door salesman guilty of sex offenses

 

A New York state man was convicted in Lackawanna County Court of three sexual offenses Wednesday, but cleared of three others.

 

A seven-woman, five-man jury deliberated more than six hours before finding Delmar Hooks, 27, of  Elmira, guilty of statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault and indecent assault. He was acquitted of rape, sexual assault and indecent exposure.

 

Police alleged Mr. Hooks, a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman, sexually assaulted a 15-year-old  Clarks Summit girl who allowed him into her residence twice the evening of March 9.

 

----------------------------

Mar 20, 2006

 

Former salesman ordered to pay $12 million for credit-card misuse;

 The Oregonian. Portland, Or.

A former vacuum cleaner salesman accused of bilking more than 100 customers by misusing their credit cards, has come up on the short end of a $12 million civil judgment.

 

U.S. District Court Judge Ancer Haggerty's ruling, sought by U.S. Bank National Association, found that John Henry Brown, also known as Mickey Brown, did not refute evidence showing that he committed breach of contract, fraud and violations of the Racketeering Influence Corruption Act, or RICO.

 

www.wnbc.com/news/10249571/detail.html

 

November 6, 2006

Vacuum Salesman Charged With Burglary, Grand Larceny

 

FREEPORT, N.Y. -- A door-to-door vacuum salesman in Freeport allegedly stole a car of a potential client after failing to make a sale moments earlier, according to Nassau County Police.

 

Police said 24-year-old Giovanny Martinez took the car keys left near the front door of the home and drove off Saturday about 11 a.m. The vehicle was recovered and Martinez of Richmond Hill,

Queens was arrested on charges of burglary and grand larceny.

 

Martinez pleaded not guilty and is being held on $2,500 bail. Police said Martinez, who worked for Kirby Vacuums, stole the keys after he was turned down for carpet cleaning services.



----------------------------



Fox Lake, Illinois
Vacuum salesman charged in burglary
Door-to-Door Sales Company:
Kirby
Kirby Trade Group:
Direct Selling Association
May 30, 2009
Vacuum salesman charged in burglary
By SARAH SUTSCHEK - ssutschek@nwherald.com
Northwest Herald
nwherald.com
Created: Saturday, May 30, 2009 1:15 a.m. CDT
FOX LAKE – A McHenry man on parole for a slew of charges including burglary was charged this week with stealing from a home where he tried to sell vacuums a few days earlier. Alan Dufield, 26, was charged Thursday with residential burglary, a Class 1 felony, and unlawful use of a credit card, a Class 4 felony. On May 2, there was a burglary on Pistakee Lake Road in Fox Lake, and the homeowner suspected the vacuum salesman who had been there a few days earlier, said Lt. Jeff Norris of the Fox Lake Police Department. Dufield gave consent for police to search his home and vehicle, and they recovered stolen items from a storage facility in Crystal Lake, Norris said. In addition to credit cards, he allegedly stole cameras, computer equipment, and other electronics. He also was linked to burglaries in Crystal Lake, Woodstock and Libertyville. Norris said Dufield had been working for Kirby in Crystal Lake for five days before he was arrested. Additional charges are possible, Norris said. Dufield was paroled in May 2008 on charges that included misuse of a credit card, residential burglary, and aggravated fleeing a police officer. Previous charges include forgery, writing a bad check, theft, ID theft, and additional burglary charges. Dufield’s bond was set at $50,000, and he remained in custody Friday afternoon.
By SARAH SUTSCHEK - ssutschek@nwherald.com
Northwest Herrald
nwherald.com
Crystal Lake, Illinois
Read This Story




You Tube: Grandmother survives torture and kidnapping.




You Tube: Man Found Guilty Of Kidnapping And Torturing A Grandma!!!
December 14, 2009, KFMB-TV, San Diego California



EL CAJON, California
Grandmother's Attacker Found Guilty
DMPG Research:
Door-to-Door Magazine Sales Company:
Court Documents reveal that Jeffrey Edward Nelson
Worked for:
Kirby Vacuum
End DMPG Research
December 14, 2009
Grandmother's Attacker Found Guilty
Reported by: Elex Michaelson
Email: elex.michaelson@sandiego6.com
San Diego 6 the CW (XETV-TV)
Last Update: 12/14/2009 11:53 pm


75-year-old Sandy Vinge underwent a 26 hour nigfhtmare when she was kidnapped, beaten and thrown in the trunk of her car. EL CAJON--20-year-old Jeffrey Edward Nelson looked unemotional and sat motionless as a jury convicted him of attempted murder and torture of 76-year-old Natalie "Sandy" Herbst Vinge.

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EL CAJON--20-year-old Jeffrey Edward Nelson looked unemotional and sat motionless as a jury convicted him of attempted murder and torture of 76-year-old Natalie "Sandy" Herbst Vinge.

In December of last year, Vinge was kidnapped from her La Mesa home, beaten, and put in the trunk of a car. She was eventually saved by a Sheriff who pulled over her captors for a traffic violation. Vinge was able to make enough noise to get the Sheriff's attention, who helped free her.

More than a year later, Vinge has mostly healed from her bruises and is grateful she does not have to worry about Nelson returning to her door. "I'm so pleased because if they had let him go, I wouldn't have been able to live here, I'd have to move."

She thanked all her friends and family who helped her get through this difficult time. She also was grateful the jury did not take Nelson's side.

"Some people may have thought he was nicer, because he was being very nice in court, but he's not nice" she said.

Prosecutor Paul Greenwood said Vinge was one of the most "remarkable" people he's ever met. "In all the cases I've handled in the last 13 years of elder abuse cases, every victim is special but she demonstrated amazing qualities. I don't know how any of us could have gone through the ordeal that she went through."

The jury only took 3 hours to reach this decision. "The worst part of a trial is waiting for the jury for a verdict...their quick verdict...I think sends a message."

Nelson had already plead guilty to ten other counts including burglary and carjacking, but wanted to face a jury on the attempted murder and torture charges.

His attorney, Bart Sheela, would not comment to media. He said he had "nothing good to say" and added he had flu-like symptoms and wanted to get home to take some cold medicine.

Nelson faces a sentencing hearing on February at the Courthouse in El Cajon. His accomplice Luis Osborne has a status hearing for his only trial scheduled for December 21st.

Vinge is looking forward to moving forward. "I am happy because this young man won't be able to do this to anybody else. And that's a strong concern of mine because there are ladies out there who are my age and who aren't as strong as I am."
Reported by: Elex Michaelson
Email: elex.michaelson@sandiego6.com
San Diego 6 the CW (XETV-TV)
http://www.sandiego6.com
San Diego, California
Read This Story


Greensboro, North Carolina
Vaccum Salesman Charged With Indecent Liberties Of A Minor
DMPG Info:
Door-to-Door Sales Company:
Kirby Vacuum
Kirby Vaccum is a member of:
Direct Selling Association
Direct Selling Association Web Site
Read The DSA Code of Ethices
end DMPG Info
May 28, 2010
Vaccum Salesman Charged With Indecent Liberties Of A Minor
Carrie Hodgin
WFMY News 2
Created: 5/28/2010 10:50:30 PM
Updated: 5/29/2010 5:29:55 PM

Greensboro, NC -- An investigation by the Greensboro Police Department led to the arrest of a Raleigh vacuum salesman. WRAL reports that Timothy Hayes, a registered sex offender, is accused of molesting a nine-year-old girl during a sales call in Greensboro. Police say he works as a Kirby Vacuum Cleaner salesman. He was at the girl's home to do a sales demonstration for her mother and grandmother. Greensboro Police began investigating the incident in late April. As a result, 37-year-old Hayes was charged with two counts of Indecent Liberties of a Minor. Hayes was placed in the Wake County Jail under a $150,000 bond. According to reports from WRAL, Hayes was convicted of attempted second-degree rape, second-degree kidnapping and taking indecent liberties with a child in 1999. He served more than four years in prison and was just released on parole in March.
Carrie Hodgin
WFMY News 2
http://www.digtriad.com
Greensboro, North Carolina
Read This Story


Hartford, Connecticut
Consumer protection targets sellers, distributors of Kirby vacuums in state
DMPG Info:
Door-to-Door Sales Company:
Kirby Vaccum
Kirby Vaccum is a member of:
Direct Selling Association
Direct Selling Association Web Site
Read The DSA Code of Ethices
end DMPG Info
November 9, 2010
Consumer protection targets sellers, distributors of Kirby vacuums in state
The Middletown Press
Published: Monday, November 08, 2010
HARTFORD – The Department of Consumer Protection is seeking legal action against ten sellers and distributors of Kirby vacuum cleaners in the state.

The DPC is referring to the Office of the Attorney General for enforcement a case against The Kirby Co, The Scott Fetzer Company, United Consumer Financial Services, and all Connecticut distributors of Kirby products, Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell announced Monday.

“We allege that the Kirby and Scott Fetzer Companies, along with their distributors in Connecticut, have engaged in aggressive, high pressure and even unethical sales tactics, including in-home sales calls where sales representatives refuse to leave consumers’ homes, phone calls to consumers in violation of the state’s Telemarketing Act, selling used vacuum cleaners as new, targeting and preying on older residents,” Farrell said. “We also have numerous claims of consumers’ carpets that have been damaged during a sales call. We believe it’s time for a clean sweep of their business policies and practices.”

United Consumer Financial Services, a national sales finance company specializing in consumer retail installment sales contracts owned by the Scott Fetzer Company, allegedly failed to ensure that Kirby dealers and representatives complied with laws pertaining to home solicitation sales contracts, including giving customers notice of the three-day right to cancel their purchase contract, and returning the consumer’s copy of the original contract upon cancellation.

Farrell is asking the Attorney General’s Office to file a civil action against The Kirby Company, the Scott Fetzer Company, United Consumer Financial Services, and the following Connecticut distributors of Kirby products in order to protect consumers from the unfair, threatening and abusive business tactics alleged by consumers in their complaints: JMG Distribution in Waterbury area; RFR Enterprises in Naugatuck area; GP Industries of Norwich in Taftville area; SZ Enterprises in Orange area; K&M Distribution in Rocky Hill area; Golden Circle Distribution in Southington area and South Shore Distributing in Rocky Hill area.


The Middletown Press
http://www.middletownpress.com
Middletown, Connecticut
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Connecticut
State: Kirby's vacuum sales practices 'unethical'
DMPG Info:
Door-to-Door Sales Company:
Kirby Vaccum
Kirby Vaccum is a member of:
Direct Selling Association
Direct Selling Association Web Site
Read The DSA Code of Ethices
end DMPG Info
November 9, 2010
State: Kirby's vacuum sales practices 'unethical'
BY DAVID KRECHEVSKY REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
Tuesday, November 9, 2010 3:22 AM EST
The state may go to court to get the sellers of Kirby vacuums to clean up its act.

Jerry Farrell, commissioner of the state Department of Consumer Protection, asked the state attorney general's office Monday to pursue legal action against The Kirby Co., which uses independent distributors to sell its vacuums door-to-door nationwide. The legal action also would target Kirby's parent company, The Scott Fetzer Co., as well as United Consumer Financial Services and seven state-based independent distributors, including two in the region.

In a news release Monday, Farrell said his department is "seeking a legal remedy and resolution that gives consumers adequate protection from the unfair sales practices of The Kirby Co. and its affiliates, as alleged in consumer complaints in the past two years."

The tactics cited by consumers, he said, include in-home sales calls in which sales representatives refuse to leave; phone calls that violate the state's Telemarketing Act; selling used vacuums as new, and "preying" on the elderly.

"We also have numerous claims of consumers' carpets that have been damaged during a sales call," Farrell said.

The Kirby Co., based in Cleveland, is a subsidiary of The Scott Fetzer Co., which itself is part of Berkshire Hathaway. United Consumer Financial Services, of Westlake, Ohio, is a national sales financing company specializing in retail installment sales contracts. It handles such contracts for The Scott Fetzer Co.

In a statement e-mailed by spokeswoman Halle A. Haniewich, The Kirby Co. denied the state's allegations, saying the company "requires its distributors to operate their businesses in a manner that meets all applicable legal and ethical standards."

The statement also said the company has attempted "throughout the year" to address concerns raised by the state, and "fully supports the DCP's desire to maintain the highest level of business practices" by companies doing business in Connecticut.

The statement added that Kirby officials proposed a plan to hold its distributors to a standard "higher than that required by Connecticut law," and was "disappointed to learn today that, despite this cooperation, the DCP referred its investigation" to the attorney general's office.

"The company is prepared to discuss this matter with the Office of the Attorney General," the statement concluded.

In addition to its concerns about sales tactics, the state accuses United Consumer of failing to ensure that Kirby dealers and representatives complied with laws for sales contracts by not telling customers they have the right to cancel them within three days.

Also targeted in the enforcement action are seven state distributors of Kirby products, including JMG Distribution Inc., at 2100 Thomaston Ave. in Waterbury, and RFR Enterprises, which according to the secretary of the state's office has a business address in Milford. The owner of the company is listed as Ronald F. Rossi, with a home address in Naugatuck. Other state-based distributors targeted included two in Rocky Hill and one each in Norwich, Orange, and Southington.

The Kirby Co. said Monday that RFR is no longer a Kirby distributor. Rossi could not be reached for comment.

Claudette Carveth, spokeswoman for the consumer protection department, said RFR is targeted because of its previous work with Kirby.

"RFR was in business over the last five years, as of the time of the complaints and the DCP investigation," she said in an e-mail. "Apparently it was only at some point in 2010 that RFR was let go by Kirby as an independent distributor. Even though the business is gone, it can still be named in the complaint for alleged misdeeds at the time of our investigation, which also factors in with issues raised about the parent company, Kirby."

Carveth added that, because the investigation continues, the identities of consumers who filed complaints with the state will remain confidential.

Blumenthal issued a terse statement late Monday saying his office is reviewing the allegations "to determine what legal action is warranted."

Chris Jackson, an official with JMG, said he was not aware of the state's claims and declined to comment, referring questions to Kirby officials.

Last year, Kirby was the subject of an investigation by "Inside Edition," a nationally syndicated television program. The story, which aired March 9, 2009, in part featured a Connecticut couple, Brett and Rose Tomlin of Stafford Springs, who said their 89-year-old aunt was taken advantage of by an RFR Enterprises salesman. The elderly woman, who suffers from Alzheimer's, paid $1,700 for a 25-pound Kirby vacuum, they said.

Representatives of The Scott Fetzer Co. and United Consumer Financial Services did not return calls seeking comment.
BY DAVID KRECHEVSKY REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
http://www.rep-am.com
Waterbury, Connecticut
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<
Flint, Michigan
Carpet company manager cited for illegal solicitation
DMPG Info:
Door-to-Door Sales Company:
Kirby Vaccum
Kirby Vaccum is a member of:
Direct Selling Association
Direct Selling Association Web Site
Read The DSA Code of Ethices
end DMPG Info
November 16, 2010
Carpet company manager cited for illegal solicitation
Roberto Acosta | Flint Journal
Published: Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 12:56 PM Updated: Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 1:52 PM
A 41-year-old manager who sent a vacuum salesman door-to-door Nov. 3 in a Swartz Creek subdivision will have his pockets cleaned out. Officer Doug Santiago responded to a call at 7:03 p.m. in the area of Durwood and Oakview drives of a man traveling to homes in the subdivision offering a free carpeting cleaning, but he was also trying to sell Kirby vacuum cleaners. The salesman’s manager was contacted, pleading ignorance of the city’s solicitation ordinance that does not allow for door-to-door sales. He was cited for soliciting the city, as well as equipment and registration violations on the vehicle he was driving. Officers in Gaines Township called state police later that evening after the same vehicle was spotted going door-to-door and suspected as part of some larcenies in the area.
Roberto Acosta | Flint Journal
http://www.mlive.com
Flint, Michigan
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Weirton, Ohio
Kirby Sweeper Sales People Busted For Selling Drugs
February 5, 2011
Kirby Sweeper Sales People Busted For Selling Drugs
WTOV9
Saturday, February 5, 2011 | 4:40pm
Weirton police said they received a call Friday from a Weirton resident claiming that four individuals from Kirby Sweepers knocked on their door, first trying to sell sweepers, then asking if the resident wanted to buy heroin. The four suspects are Latasha Ann Williams, Jack Polyak, Michael Joseph Panza and Andrew Thomas Simmons all sweeper sales people from Pennsylvania. Police said the four were traveling in a white van and were going door to door in the Weirton area. Police located the van in a 7-Eleven parking lot where they were getting gas. "Its very unordinary for that to happen. First since I have been here for that to happen. It was kind of easy when they called in we located the vehicle," said Detective Girard Spencer of the Weirton Police Department. The four will be charged with possession with intent to deliver heroin, possession with intent to deliver marijuana and possession of marijuana.
WTOV9
http://www.wtov9.com
Steubenville, Ohio
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Salinas, California
Salinas police see rise in fraudulent door-to-door salespeople
DMPG Info:
Door-to-Door Cleaner Sales Company:
Kirby Vacuum
end DMPG Info
March 10, 2011
Salinas police see rise in fraudulent door-to-door salespeople
Written by SUNITA VIJAYAN
The Salinas Californian
Filed Under
News
Crime
6:59 AM, Mar. 10, 2011
Salinas police issued a warning to local residents Wednesday, saying that men posing as door-to-door salesmen are actually burglars "casing" residences. Salinas Police spokesman Officer Lalo Villegas said that there have been at least six recent incidents where officers responded to calls reporting people posing as salespersons for Kirby vacuum cleaners. It appears that these would-be sales people are casing residences with intentions to later burglarize them, Villegas said. In one instance, he said, the "salesman" walked into the home uninvited before the resident managed to push the person out. In another, Villegas said, the homeowner told police that several things were taken from the home after they were given a vacuum cleaner demonstration. Villegas said that while on a recent patrol, he personally stopped and interviewed one of the alleged vacuum salesmen. He later found out that the man was a wanted parolee and took him into custody. Villegas cautioned, however, that not all door-to-door salespeople are fake. "If they look suspicious, they probably are," Villegas said. "We want to make people aware that they definitely have the right to tell these [false salespersons] to leave their property."
SAFETY TIPS
Salinas police recommend individuals take the following steps to help protect themselves from fraudulent door-to-door salespersons:
> Ask for identification, such as from the company itself, and the business license to make sure its legitimacy;
> Make sure there is someone else home when you let the salesperson inside;
> If the person appearance is unkempt, chances are they are not legitimate;
> Call 911 if the person refuses to leave your residence.
Written by SUNITA VIJAYAN
The Salinas Californian
Filed Under
News
Crime
http://www.thecalifornian.com
Salinas, California
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Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Vacuum salesman arrested as fugitive in Chambersburg
DMPG Info:
Door-to-Door Sales Company:
Kirby
Trade Group:
Direct Selling Association
end DMPG Info
September 13, 2011
Vacuum salesman arrested as fugitive in Chambersburg
Public Opinion Online
09/13/11
A Chambersburg vacuum cleaner salesman was arrested Tuesday after police learned he was wanted in New York.

Chambersburg Police said Kristoffer D. Johnson, 32, of 337 E. Washington St., was arrested at 140 N. Third St., about 9:40 a.m. after an officer received a tip. Police said Johnson was selling Kirby vacuum cleaners for a local distributor while using a false name.

After Johnson was arrested, a false ID was found on him, police said. He did not cooperate and provide his actual identity, so he was taken to the police station and fingerprinted.

Authorities in New York confirmed that the man was Johnson and that he is wanted. In a statement issued Tuesday, police did not indicate what charges Johnson faces in New York.

He was charged as a fugitive from justice, arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Gary Carter and placed in Franklin County Jail in lieu of $200,000 bail.
Public Opinion Online
http://www.publicopiniononline.com
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Read This Story


Portland, Oregon
Vacuum cleaner salesman/entrepreneur gets 11 years in prison
DMPG Info:
Door-to-Door Sales Company:
Kirby
Trade Group:
Direct Selling Association
http://www.dsa.org
Want to get a real chuckle then read the DSA code of ethics:
http://www.dsa.org/ethics/code
end DMPG Info
December 29, 2011
Vacuum cleaner salesman/entrepreneur gets 11 years in prison
Johnny Brown also ran Ponzi scheme along with sales
By Barbara Sherman
The Regal Courier, Dec 29, 2011
Johnny "Mickey" Brown, the infamous Tigard-based door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman turned Ponzi-schemer, was sentenced by a judge Dec. 21 to 11 years in federal prison and ordered to turn himself in the next afternoon.

On May 11, 2011, a federal jury in Portland convicted Brown, then 56, on 14 counts, including evading income taxes from 1993 through 1995, seven counts of wire fraud and six counts of making false statements to a bank.

Prosecutors had asked that Brown be sentenced to prison for 25 years, but U.S. District Judge Garr King issued the shorter sentence in front of a crowd of victims and friends who packed the Portland courtroom to hear the sentencing.

"I truly hope this brings some inner peace to some of the elderly in the Tigard/King City area who are embarrassed by what happened," said a woman who has been closely following the six-year-long case. "It was very hard watching some of the victims testify about what has happened to them and how they are still dealing with the ramifications of the Browns' fraud years later."

According to prosecutors, between 2001 and 2003 Brown defrauded 114 investors out of $5 million and cost US Bank $4 million.

Brown sold Kirby vacuum cleaners out of at least two offices in King City and Tigard while also persuading customers to let him charge their credit cards to the limit so he could purchase more vacuum cleaners. In exchange, Brown would pay interest on loans and make the minimum credit card payments.

About 10 percent of the money he collected did go to purchase more vacuum cleaners, but the rest was pocketed and used to cover ever-growing debt payments, according to prosecutors.
By Barbara Sherman
The Regal Courier
http://www.theregalcourier.com
Tigard, Oregon
Pamplin Media Group, Portland, Oregon
Read This Story


Las Vegas, Nevada
Man arrested in door-to-door vacuum selling scheme
May 1, 2012
Man arrested in door-to-door vacuum selling scheme
By Molly Waldron
KTNV Channel 13 Action News
CREATED May. 1, 2012
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A man accused of stealing from seniors in a door-to-door vacuum selling scheme was arrested on Monday.

The Nevada Attorney General says 48-year-old Gary Harvey faces several charges, including five counts of felony burglary and financial exploitation.

Harvey allegedly targeted senior citizens as he went door-to-door selling old, broken vacuums he claimed were brand new.

The crimes reportedly happened in November and December of last year, when five Las Vegas residents were sold vacuums for $400 to $1220. All five victims later discovered their vacuums were not new or did not work. When they tried contacting Harvey for a refund, he could not be reached.

Action News talked to victims of Harvey's alleged scheme earlier this year.

Marylin Wilson said she paid $1,289 for her vacuum cleaner. Her son-in-law later took a look at it and realized it wasn't new at all.

Frances Lewis said she wrote Harvey a check for $800, and he promised to deliver the vacuum cleaner the next day. That never happened.

Our first investigation prompted more complaints from those who were targeted. Ken Norton and his wife, Sandie, said they bought a vacuum from Harvey before discovering he wasn't licensed to be selling door-to-door.

All along, victims said Harvey claimed to be selling new Kirby vacuum cleaners. The Kirby Company said Harvey was terminated in 2004 and not a licensed salesperson of their products.

The Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Justice Fraud Unit investigated the case, which led to Harvey's arrest this week.

The AG's office says Harvey could face up to 10 years in prison for each felony count and fines of more than $10,000 if convicted.

Harvey is set to be arraigned on May 2.
By Molly Waldron
KTNV Channel 13 Action News
http://www.ktnv.com
Las Vegas, Nevada
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Las Vegas, Nevada
Everyone needs to be leery of door-to-door offers
May 4, 2012
Everyone needs to be leery of door-to-door offers
Reported by: Mackenzie Warren
Email: mwarren@mynews3.com
Published: 5/04 5:42 pm
Updated: 5/04 5:49 pm
KSNV-TV NBC
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- It is a classic scam that is taking on new disguises and you could be the target. From roofers to vacuum salesmen---the state attorney general and the Nevada state contractors board want you to be on the alert for door-to-door scammers. News 3's Mackenzie Warren spoke to one local couple who was swindled. The Norton's were in the market for a new vacuum and when a man came knocking on their door, saying he worked for Kirby vacuums, they bought it. The Norton's spent nearly $1,000 on a 15-year-old vacuum.
Reported by: Mackenzie Warren
Email: mwarren@mynews3.com
KSNV-TV NBC
http://www.mynews3.com
Las Vegas, Nevada
Read This Story


AVENAL, California
Salesman arrested for child molestation
DMPG Info:
Door-to-Door Sales Company:
KIRBY
Trade Group: Direct Selling Association
end DMPG Info
May 11, 2012
Salesman arrested for child molestation
By Joe Johnson | Posted: Friday, May 11, 2012 12:15 pm
Hanford Sentinel
AVENAL — A door-to-door salesman forced his way into a young girl’s home and forced himself on her before she could escape on Monday afternoon.

Officers were called out to the 400 block of West Stanislaus Street around 3:30 p.m. following a report of a suspect offering carpet cleaning services who barged in on a 14-year-old.

The girl, who was not named, said she answered a knock on the door and came face to face with the suspect. He asked if her parents were home, and when she said no, he pushed his way in uninvited.

The man, later identified as 63-year-old Pedro Rodriguez, started asking the girl strange questions. He wanted to know if she had siblings and what her career goals were. Only once did he make a comment about cleaning the carpet, police said.

Without warning, he grabbed the victim by the arms and pulled her into an embrace. She tried to push him away, but he held her tight and began kissing her over and over. Finally, she shoved him away hard and he left, climbing into a white van.

Officers caught up with the van a short distance away. Rodriguez and two other men were inside. The victim identified Rodriguez, but the two other salesmen denied knowing him. They claimed they had just given him a ride, Assistant police Chief Rusty Stivers said, but investigators later confirmed him as a Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman.

“It’s a sad day when a door-to-door salesman allegedly takes advantage of a young female,” Stivers said. “This is not common, but we want the public to be aware of the potential dangers these salesmen pose.”

Rodriguez was arrested on suspicion of conducting lewd and lascivious acts on a minor. He was booked into the Kings County Jail and remained in custody late Thursday.

The Avenal Police Department is looking for any other victims who may have encountered this suspect. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Officer Troy Holsonbake at 386-4444.

The reporter can be reached at 583-2425 at jjohnson@HanfordSentinel.com.
By Joe Johnson
Hanford Sentinel http://www.hanfordsentinel.com
Hanford, California
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DENTON COUNTY, Texas
Company sends out felon as traveling salesman
DMPG Info:
Door-to-Door Sales Company:
KIRBY
Trade Group: Direct Selling Association
end DMPG Info
July 10, 2012
Company sends out felon as traveling salesman
by JONATHAN BETZ
WFAA.com
Posted on July 10, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Dallas forthworh, Texas


DENTON COUNTY - Jamie Chadwell was already in the market to upgrade her vacuum cleaner. So when two people knocked on her door in early June, offering to sell a Kirby vacuum cleaner, she welcomed them inside.

“We were actually interested in seeing if they could get a spot out of our carpet,” the mother of two said.

After the salespeople left her Denton County home however, she felt like she had been taken to the cleaners. While she watched one person demonstrate the vacuum, she said the other employee was snatching jewelry off her kitchen counter.

“This man came into my home and took my engagement ring,” Chadwell said. “As we were distracted, he was over there stealing.”

Most troubling to her, as she would later learn, was that the salesperson had a lengthy criminal record, including drug and alcohol charges. A history of which his employer was fully aware.

“We trusted him to come in, and I feel angry because they knew he was a felon when he came into our home,” she said.

Fully aware that its business model relies on homeowners trusting strangers with vacuums, Kirby said it requires all of its local distributors to run background checks on its sales force. Distributors caught in violation are penalized, the company insists.

“We require factory distributors to take all reasonable measures to ensure members of sales force do not pose a threat to consumers,” said Steve Baden, a company executive.

Yet the Cleveland-based company points out it has no direct role in hiring salespeople -- it leaves that to local independent distributors.

Yet the distributor, Ernie Nowell of Lewisville, had personal interest in hiring this salesperson. They’re related.

Nowell boasts he’s run a Kirby shop from a storefront on Lewisville’s Main Street for 43 years. Yet, the 67-year-old man admitted he was aware of his relative’s criminal past, but wanted to give him a job and a chance anyway.

“He’s been through lots,” Nowell admitted to News 8 on the phone. “He’s been through lots of rehab programs… the only problem he’s had is possession of drugs.”

He said he was aware employing the relative as a salesperson violated corporate policy.

“He is not a threat to anybody,” Nowell said. “He was as clean as a whistle, no issues… Somewhere along the way the wheels came off.”

Still Nowell insists his relative has done nothing wrong. News 8 is not naming the employee in question, since he has not been charged with stealing the ring.

Nowell said his employee had been working for him since the fall, but was let go when the Chadwells accused him of theft.

“I do pull background checks on people who come through my office,” he said. “I haven’t done anything wrong.”

Consumer advocates say the case is a reminder that homeowners are left largely guessing as to whether to trust door-to-door salespeople, which typically step up efforts in the summer.

“There’s not a great way to know for sure who it is that’s at your door,” said Jeannette Kopko with the Better Business Bureau of Dallas.

Nationally, she said Kirby enjoys a B+ rating.

“If you haven’t invited them there, and there’s a stranger at your doorstep,” she added, “that’s who they are: a stranger.”

Chadwell has decided against opening the door to traveling salesmen again. To drive home her stance, she’s posted a stern ‘no solicitation’ notice on her front door.

“We will never open our door to another salesperson,” she said.

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com
by JONATHAN BETZ
WFAA.com
http://www.wfaa.com
Dallas forthworh, Texas
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OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Catherine Cortez Masto, Attorney General
555 E. Washington Avenue, Suite 3900
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
Telephone - (702) 486-3420
Fax - (702) 486-3283
Web - http://ag.state.nv.us
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jennifer López
DATE: August 7, 2012 702-486-3782
ATTORNEY GENERAL MASTO ANNOUNCES GUILTY PLEA OF DOOR-TO-DOOR
VACUUM CLEANER SALESMAN WHO TARGETED SENIORS
Read PDF AG Release

Note: The Dedicated Memorial Parents Group collects information from various sources:
police reports, court documents, media articles, and secretary of state websites.
The DMPG is not responsible for inaccurate data in any of the above sources of information.
Various company websites change over a period of time. Information and Links also change.
The DMPG cannot control this and for this reason cannot guarantee 100% accuracty of data.
If you have a question or find an error on this website please contact the DMPG WebMaster:
WebMaster
~or~ read the DMPG disclaimer: DMPG Disclaimer
Dedicated Parents Group LLC @ 2012


Las Vegas, Nevada
Victims satisfied after door-to-door vacuum salesman pleads guilty
DMPG Info:
Door-to-Door Sales Company:
Kirby
Trade Group: Direct Selling Association
end DMPG Info
August 7, 2012
Victims satisfied after door-to-door vacuum salesman pleads guilty
Daniel Gutierrez
KTNV Channel 13 Action News
CREATED Aug. 7, 2012
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A door-to-door salesman who was the focus of several Contact 13 reports is now set to pay back his victims.

"The system works and I thank Action 13 for helping us," says Ken Norton.

He and his wife Sandra still don't have a new Kirby vacuum but they're happy to learn the man who ran off with their money has agreed to a plea deal.

Vacuum cleaner salesman Gary Harvey has pled guilty to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses from a person over the age of 60.

"I feel almost vindicated. Everything is working to our benefit since we got screwed over," says Sandra.

Ken and Sandra are just one of 19 cases investigated by the Nevada Attorney General's Office. The AG says Harvey admitted to fraudulently obtaining money while posing as a licensed distributor of Kirby vacuums under the business name HARVCO. He preyed on senior citizen communities in Las Vegas.

Contact 13 first told you about Harvey back in March. We received several complaints from unsatisfied customers like Ken and Sandra, who said they bought new vacuums that were never delivered. Harvey knocked on their door last November.

"He promised us all kinds of things like lifetime bags. He'd even come in once a year in December and vacuum and shampoo our rugs," says Sandra.

It was a deal the couple says they couldn't refuse.

"Started around $2400 and finally dropped it to $972," says Sandra. "He was so smooth," says Ken.

In the end, they were only left with a 10-year-old demo and the new vacuum was never delivered. But back in April, the AG's office caught up with Harvey and he was arrested. Now Harvey has agreed to pay more than $15,000 in restitution. He'll be sentenced in December and could spend up to 6 years in prison and pay more fines.

"I'm happy. I'm happy if we didn't get any money back. As long as he's doing something to serve his time," says Ken.

So here's the Contact 13 bottom line: remember all door-to-door salesmen are required to have a Clark County Solicitor's License. Don't feel pressured to make an immediate decision. Do some research before making a purchase. And always get a receipt.

If you believe you've been a victim of any door-to-door salesman, make sure to file a complaint. Contact the Nevada Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Hotline at 702-486-3132 and press “6” for instructions on how to file a complaint.
Daniel Gutierrez
KTNV Channel 13 Action News
http://www.ktnv.com
Las Vegas, Nevada
Read This Story


Las Vegas, Nevada
Vacuum salesman pleads guilty in door-to-door scam
DMPG Info:
Door-to-Door Sales Company:
Kirby
Trade Group: Direct Selling Association
end DMPG Info
August 8, 2012
Vacuum salesman pleads guilty in door-to-door scam
By Molly Waldron
KTNV Channel 13 Action News
CREATED 5:37 PM
August 8, 2012
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A door-to-door salesman who was the focus of several Contact 13 reports is now set to pay back his victims.

Gary Harvey pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses from a person over the age of 60.

We first told you about the vacuum cleaner salesman back in March.

The Nevada Attorney General's office says Harvey ripped off people like Ken and Sandra Norton. It was last November when the couple paid Harvey $972 for a brand new Kirby vacuum. But all they ever got was a 10-year-old demo vacuum.

Ken and Sandra say they're happy to know Harvey has pleaded guilty.

"I feel almost vindicated," Sandra said. "Everything is working to our benefit since we got screwed over."

As part of his plea, Harvey has agreed to pay more than $15,000 in restitution and could spend up to six years in prison.
By Molly Waldron
KTNV Channel 13 Action News
http://www.ktnv.com
Las Vegas, Nevada
Read This Story


Jamestown, North Dakota
Vacuum vendors irk residents
DMPG Info:
Door-to-Door Sales Company:
Kirby
Trade Group: Direct Selling Association
Kirby Vacuum
Direct Selling Association
end DMPG Info
August 11, 2012
Vacuum vendors irk residents
A team of out-of-state vacuum salesmen have caused many complaints to the Jamestown Police Department this month.
Lt. Bruce Judd estimated the JPD has received more than 25 calls complaining about door-to-door vendors offering
Kirby-brand vacuums. He said many residents were bothered by the salesmen’s high-pressure tactics and thought they
were attempting some sort of scam.
By: Sun Staff, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown Sun
Published August 11, 2012, 07:11 AM
A team of out-of-state vacuum salesmen have caused many complaints to the Jamestown Police Department this month.

Lt. Bruce Judd estimated the JPD has received more than 25 calls complaining about door-to-door vendors offering Kirby-brand vacuums. He said many residents were bothered by the salesmen’s high-pressure tactics and thought they were attempting some sort of scam.

Judd said the vacuum sellers are here legally and have a license to sell here for one year. He said police have approached them and suggested they tone down their sales pitches.

Kirby vacuums are sold by independent distributors who sell through in-home demonstrations, according to The Kirby Co.

The salesmen have also prompted several calls to the Jamestown Kirby Vacuum Center, said Duane Gehring, who owns the business with his wife, Kathy. They said they’ve received about six calls this week complaining about the door-to-door sales.

Duane Gehring said his business does service and warranty work on Kirby vacuums, as well as other brands, but he is not affiliated with the out-of-state salesmen. He said he was worried the salesmen, who are employed by a distributor based in Cheyenne, Wyo., would damage his business’s reputation.

“I’ve been here doing business and paying taxes for 30 years,” Duane Gehring said.

He said anyone with comments about the vendors is welcome to call him and he will forward the messages on to the Kirby factory. His business’ phone number is 701-252-1884.

The Gehrings said they’ve seen other traveling vendors offering different products in the Jamestown area lately and suspected the boom in the Oil Patch encouraged them.

“They hear on the news there’s oil in North Dakota and they come running,” Kathy Gehring said.
By: Sun Staff, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown Sun
http://www.jamestownsun.com
Jamestown, North Dakota
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Kirby Vacuum Investigation Part one

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Kirby Vacuum Investigation Part Two

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Kirby Vacuum Cleaner Scam

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