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Man behind Fargo furniture restoration business committed consumer fraud several times, fled the state

Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 6:06 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -

An update to a Whistleblower story we told you about in January. North Dakota authorities said the man behind a furniture restoration business in Fargo committed consumer fraud several times and must pay more than $30,000 in penalties.

“Very unfortunate and an unusual result,” said Parrell Grossman, Director of Consumer Protection & Antitrust Division at the ND Attorney General’s Office.

Phyllis Magelky was among several people ghosted by Nathanial Warren, who ran Woodchuck Furniture Restoration in Fargo.

She said she gave Warren a down payment of just over $1,000 to fix her World War I era kitchen cabinet that belonged to her grandparents. It didn’t get done, and that was the last she saw of her money.

“He never contacted me, and so I feel pretty deceived,” said Magelky.

After closing up shop, authorities said Warren left the state. Attorney general investigators have information he may have registered a vehicle in Maine.

“Warren’s lack of cooperation was extremely frustrating,” said Grossman. “He failed to communicate with us. Failed to acknowledge the conduct.”

Grossman said the judgment against Warren includes $21,000 for the 11 people scammed, $10,000 in civil penalties for consumer fraud violation, and another $3,000 for other costs and fees.

“We don’t know if these items were lost, destroyed or sold,” said Grossman.

Grossman said they did everything they could to get the sentimental items back into the hands of their owners.

For Magelky, she found part of her cabinet outside Warren’s building.

“I have a lot of mixed feelings about it, I think, because I felt bad for him, thinking he was sick, maybe,” said Magelky. “A little violated. I just feel like it was my property, and I had a right to choose what happened to it.”

Magelky said whether she gets her money or item back is a moot point; she just wants Warren to answer to the law because messing with this many heirlooms isn’t okay.

Authorities said another person owns the Woodchuck Furniture building, and they’ve refused to cooperate with the attorney general’s office, and there’s no way to get the items back.

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