You get a good first impression when you walk into Impression Bridal on Roberts Court in Kennesaw. Owner Aly Arcieri and her staff take pride in providing the best service possible to their brides as they prepare for their special day.
That's why they were excited about an opportunity a salesman offered them he said would grow their business and provide a service to their brides: a no-credit-check payment plan.
"Being in the bridal business a lot of times brides can't afford a dress that is $2,000, $3,000, $4,000 or $5,000, and he was basically giving us the opportunity to sell to these brides with a very small down payment," said Arcieri.
Arcieri told CBS46 the salesman's name was Rod Bowling. CBS46 first exposed Bowling in March, 2014, when his company organized a fashion show for aspiring models and told them it would be broadcast on CBS in Atlanta. Models became suspicious when they were asked to sell tickets to family and friends and reached out to CBS46 to investigate. Our expose found Bowling's company was operating without a business license and that he had never paid for air time on CBS. After we questioned Bowling and his business partners, the event was canceled and refunds were issued.
Impression Bridal was not as lucky. "He basically conned me out of $400," said Arcieri.
The payment plan Bowling sold the bridal shop was from a company called Global Check, an alternative loan and finance business, where Bowling used to work. Global Check told us they fired Bowling last year for stealing money. Global Check also said he's still using their name to take money from Georgia merchants.
Impression Bridal owner Aly Arcieri invited us to go undercover and asked Bowling back in the store to discuss his business offer.
"It's time that somebody should do something about the fact that you can't just go up to small business owners and trick them into give money," said Arcieri.
Here is what happened when Bowling arrived, as caught by our undercover camera:
"Let me show you this, are you guys going to be at the Gwinnett [Bridal] show?" said Bowling.
"Yeah we're going to be at the Gwinnett show, we're also going to be at the Atlanta show," replied Arcieri.
"This is what we're doing. Let me turn this phone off. We have secured a booth," said Bowling.
However, organizers of the Georgia Bridal Show in Gwinnett told CBS46 that was not true. Bowling hasn't paid them to secure a booth.
While our undercover cameras were in the store, Cobb County police officers took action, arresting Bowling. He was charged with theft by deception and was taken to jail.
"He was targeting our bridal industry, he was hurting our bridal industry so we needed to step up to the plate and do what needed to be done," Arcieri said after the arrest.
Bowling posted bond immediately and was out on the street the next morning. He then contacted CBS46 claiming to be innocent. We asked Bowling for an on-camera interview to tell his side of the story, but he didn't show up for the interview.
Law enforcement in other jurisdictions tell CBS46 they are also investigating Bowling. If you have any information on Bowling and his activities, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2014 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, January 30 2015 10:30 AM EST2015-01-30 15:30:20 GMT
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