ON YOUR SIDE: How does someone under investigation by AG open new, similar business?
A Wright County furniture business is operating under a new name, but selling similar products that conceal firearms by your bedside.
Customers who were victimized by Rough Country Rustic Furniture are wondering how and why the owner, Joseph Ross, is able to open under a new name, even though he is still under investigation by the Missouri Attorney General's office.
Farmhouse Store Co., LLC, sells very similar gun concealment products online.
The Better Business Bureau is sending out the buyer beware, but some are wondering how Ross is able to lawfully do this.
"Absolutely he should not be able to open another company!" said former customer Marlon Dorbeck. He is from Florida and ordered online from Rough Country Rustic Furniture in 2017. He says he spent $380, and has nothing to show for it. He used his credit car to buy, but could no longer get his money back through his bank even, because he waited too long to pursue it, thinking Rough Country would eventually deliver. They never did.
"Bank of America-- because I was outside of that time frame, they denied the claim, even with extensive documentation and what have you," Dorbeck said. It is just one of many customers KY3 News has heard from who can't believe the owner is already able to re-open a similar venture.
"He's veteran owned, he's duping thousands of people," Dorbeck exclaimed.
Joseph Ross' new Farmhouse Store Co., LLC, has an active business license with the Missouri Secretary of State.
Ross had nearly 1,700 complaints and more than 400 bad reviews filed with the Better Business Bureau.
"It seems weird, but it's lawful. He has not been convicted. There has been no court order entered barring him from having another business. I've seen this happen before. I think the people that have their complaints pending that he didn't fulfill their orders should not lose heart," said Darrell Moore, the state's head of prosecution services. "The AG continues to investigate to try to get them restitution."
The wheels of justice, some say, are moving painfully slow.
"It can be slow, but the authority of the attorney general's office is in a better position to get them restitution than if they tried to file their own personal civil suits because that would cost them money," Moore explained.
"He deserves nothing more than a prison sentence and fines out the wazoo, yeah, I'm endlessly frustrated and I've moved on with another company," said Dorbeck.
KY3 News asked Mr. Ross for comment; he declined.
But he did tell the Better Business Bureau, "I'm not looking to have anything happen again like what happened with Rough Country," and "I have learned from his past mistakes."
The Attorney General's office sent us this statement: “We're actively litigating the state case and will continue our adversary proceeding to work to get money back into Missourians’ pockets. We encourage anyone with complaints on new businesses to report them to our office at ago.mo.gov.”