Scamming spa dealer gets busted


7 On Your Side has been investigating this story for months after receiving 16 complaints about a spa dealer who took thousands of dollars form consumers and then never deliverd. That man is now in jail and facing 14 felony counts.

Sally and Milton Hughes paid $7,000 for a hot tub one year ago and never got it. Peggy McGregory of Union City paid $6,000 for a spa she didn't get. When they contacted 7 On Your Side, I demanded answers from the spa dealer, Jim Gerard of Castro Valley, who took their money.

Finney: "They say you took their money and they don't have their hot tub."

Gerard: "Okay, well, I did not take their money and not deliver their hot tub. It's in the works right now."

But that wasn't true for Sally and Peggy.

Gerard: "These are the two people that I have to get resolved quickly now and I'm working on it."

Finney: "These are the only two?"

Gerard: "That is what we have right now."

Finney: "There are no others?"

Gerard: "Uh, no."

That wasn't true either. He must have forgotten about Jan and Doug Graham of Fremont, and 13 other people who complained to 7 On Your Side.

"We said, 'I think we've been ripped off, we're calling the Sheriff's Department,'" says Jan Graham.

Consumers all tell the same story. They paid Gerard in cash, and never got a hot tub -- only a rubber duck and bath scent.

Finney: "Are you shutting down? It's beginning to look a little empty in here."

Gerard: "No, we're not shutting down."

Finney: "You're not shutting down?"

Jim: "No we're not."

Now, Gerard's once thriving dealership is now all locked up and tonight, so is Gerard. He was arrested on 14 counts of grand theft in Alameda County. If convicted, he could face up to three years on each count.

It's exactly one year since Sally and Milt bought their hot tub. Since then, they bought another spa, even though it meant spending a lot more money.

Sally says she is glad Gerad will be held to answer.

"Gee whiz, we're sitting in our hot tub and you're sitting in your jail cell."

Gerard was arraigned Monday afternoon and remains in custody.

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