WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Two different automotive shops said a former employee ripped off customers. While facing charges in one scheme, police said Jeremy Galindo ripped off customers at Speedy Transmission. Today, Galindo, also known as Jermey, was charged with organized fraud.
Gary Holmes is fighting cancer, and treatments are draining his energy.
"There are good days, and there's bad days. More bad days than good though," Holmes said.
Unable to handle the day to day operations of his business, in June, Holmes hired Galindo to keep Speedy Transmission running.
"What this guy did was so slick. The way he did it. Against me, against the business, and against the customers," Holmes explained.
Customers and the business allege Galindo used several schemes to steal money.
"I gave him $160," customer Dolores Korengay said.
Korengay thought it was a down payment for financing, but said she never got any financial paperwork. She only got a handwritten note acknowledging the deposit.
"I don't want to be used by anybody, and don't play with me when it comes to my finances," said Korengay.
Joan Smock made a $400 deposit for repairs.
"I made the check out to Speedy Transmission, and then he [Galindo] said I don't know where he [Holmes] wants me to put this. Would you leave it blank? Now I know you're not supposed to do that, but I did it," Smock explained.
Holmes said Galindo cashed the $400 check, but the money never made it into the business account.
Within a month of hiring Galindo, Holmes noticed invoices weren't adding up and calculated the losses at $10,000.
"There is only one way to do business with a customer and that's the right way. You don't take a shortcut, you don't lie to them, and you don't cheat them," Holmes said.
Holmes doesn't want his customers to feel cheated, so he's discounting the repairs for any customer who has a receipt from Galindo.
Speedy is not the first business to lose money. Galindo was charged in February with a scheme to defraud. The probable cause statement said he overcharged and double charged customers at Goodyear Tire in Boynton Beach.
The loss was estimated at $12,000.
"I can't believe that the man would actually do this and not think he was going to get caught," Holmes explained.
On the phone, Galindo told me quote, "You have the wrong guy or something" and hung up.
Galindo called back, but that conversation soon ended in dial tone too.
He's not answering the Consumer Watchdog's questions, but Galindo will have to answer to a judge for the new charges of organized fraud and petit theft for the case with Korengay.
"Maybe if he sits somewhere in a little cell he'll be able to think about what he's done to people," Korengay explained.
The lesson for customers; don't pay for car repairs with cash and never give someone a blank check.