A South Florida woman accused of defrauding dozens of people out of more than $167,000 through a Facebook furniture scheme is facing more charges after additional alleged victims have come forward.
April Garcia, 45, was arrested Tuesday on 29 counts of grand theft and 29 counts of organized scheme to defraud in Miami Gardens, according to an arrest report. More charges were added after two alleged victims in Hialeah claimed they were also defrauded, new arrest reports said.
The reports said 29 people told investigators they had contacted Garcia after seeing a Facebook ad for a furniture liquidation sale offering 50 percent off modern furniture. Garcia met the alleged victims at different furniture stores in Miami Gardens throughout the month of March.
Garcia showed them pieces of furniture and negotiated prices, telling them they would get a better price if they paid in cash, the reports said. Garcia then took payment and gave the alleged victims a date when the furniture would be shipped to their homes, the reports said.
But when the delivery date came, they didn't receive their furniture. Victims who got a hold of Garcia were told their delivery date had changed, while other victims couldn't reach her and found that her number was no longer in service, the reports said.
The Miami Gardens victims were defrauded out of $167,864, the report said. One Hialeah victim said she paid $1,600 through the Cash Up app for a living room set, sofa and chairs that were never delivered, the reports said. Another said she paid $1,500 for furniture that she never received.
"She was very professional, she was very likable, very polite," one of the customers, Martha Wyatt, told NBC 6. "And she told me on Monday when she was ready to go back to her office she was going to then send me another receipt which was going to be the final receipt of purchase."
The manager of one furniture store told detectives that Garcia isn't an employee but was a sub-contractor who would purchase furniture and sell it to her customers, the reports said. The manager said the store doesn't sell to the public, only businesses and licensed sub-contractors, and said he had no idea Garcia was "doing this type of thing," the reports said.
Garcia was later arrested at a furniture store in Miami-Dade. She told investigators her business, Furniture Brokers, closed because the company went bankrupt, the reports said.
Garcia was booked into jail, where she was being held Thursday morning after another appearance in bond court. Attorney information wasn't available.