DENVER (CBS4) – Luis Galvez has worked in kitchens for 25 years. Recently he decided that with of his experience, he could probably run his own business.
He and his wife saved up enough money to buy a brand new food trailer. That’s when they turned to Larry Perez. He was part of a business called Brothers Custom Food Trucks.
“We agreed on price. We chose a trailer, we chose equipment,” Galvez said.
Galvez gave Perez the money he had saved up but soon he started to suspect something fishy was going on.
“I went after two months and nothing was there,” Galvez said. “I decided to ask for my money, too, but he never gave me anything.”
It turns out Galvez isn’t the only food truck investor that got taken for a ride. According to the Colorado Attorney General’s office, Perez and his associate Rudy Martinez took thousands of dollars from clients to build custom food trucks that were either never delivered or equipped with unsafe, fraudulent parts. When they did come through, the food trucks failed safety inspections. Additionally, neither Perez nor Martinez held a motor vehicle dealer’s license as legally required to sell trucks and they “skipped title,” so operators had trouble registering their trucks with the state.
On Thursday a judge ordered the owners of Denver Custom Food Trucks to pay $4.5 million.
Galvez is hopeful he will eventually get his money back.
“It’s my money. I worked hard for it,” he said.