DENVER (KDVR) — A man who investigators say was stealing the life savings from people wanting to start their own food truck business is now in jail.
State Attorney General Phil Weiser said Larry Perez had been targeting food truck owners – many of them immigrants.
Weiser said Perez, in some cases, never delivered trucks to his customers.
“We had a family that gave $30,000 to him. He did not build them a food truck and when they asked him ‘can we have our money back?’ he threatened them,” Weiser said.
The attorney general said Perez had been ordered before to stop selling food trucks saying he was defrauding customers.
But he continued doing so, investigators said, out of his father’s business located in north Denver.
Weiser has also fined his father $75,000 for allegedly helping his son violate the court’s orders.
“Scammers often think I can get away with this and make a quick buck regardless of what the law says,” Weiser said.
We are told Perez also owned a company called Denver Custom Food Trucks.
The owner of the Smokin’ Bones BBQ food truck said he lost as much as $80,000 to Perez’s bad truck workmanship. He has one now that works great.
“It was a nightmare. The truck was supposed to be working when I got it. I had to tow it out of there,” Michael Rogers said.
Rogers is glad Perez will not be building food trucks for now.
“I’m a little bit relieved but I’m thinking about all the people that lost so much. Through the grace of God, I have my business but there’s a whole bunch of people that lost everything,” Rogers said.
Perez was sentenced to 18 months in jail.
The attorney general said Perez will still owe most of the $3 million in restitution when’s he released from jail.
An attorney for Perez’s father said he had no comment.
Weiser said while they found many victims, they believe there may be others.