December 15, 2006
St. Louis, Mo. — A St. Louis couple, who owned a now-closed furniture store, and their daughter were sentenced today to five years probation and ordered to pay $54,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to taking money from area residents to purchase furniture but providing neither the items nor refunds to the customers.
Antoinette H. "Toni" McEuen (DOB - 10/12/51); her husband, Harry A. McEuen (DOB - 10/20/50); and their daughter, Kelly L. Roussin (DOB - 2/25/72) of Fenton, pled guilty to a combined 28 counts of Missouri Merchandising Practices violations, all Class D felonies, on Oct. 6. The trio was indicted by a St. Louis City grand jury at the request of Attorney General Jay Nixon, whose office prosecuted the charges.
The McEuens owned Central States Wholesale Furniture, 6135 Manchester, which went out of business in April 2003. The three defendants sold furniture at the store.
The indictments alleged that in 2002 and 2003, the defendants took payments of up to $7,700 apiece from customers for furniture the defendants never ordered nor intended to order. Some victims were subject to high-pressure sales tactics to get them to pay as much as possible up front, being told that their furniture would arrive quicker if they paid 50 or 100 percent up front. According to the indictments, customers were given various excuses why the furniture was not delivered, including being told that the delays were due to the war in Iraq or to a labor dispute in China.
The defendants also misrepresented to customers that their business was in sound financial condition, when, in fact, the defendants had contracted with a liquidator for the sale of all remaining inventory and the closing of the business. The indictment against Harry McEuen also alleged he failed to tell customers that the store's sales tax license had been revoked by the City of St. Louis and that he was not authorized to do business, yet continued to sell furniture.
The defendants' payment of $54,000 restitution will cover losses suffered by 18 victims, with some individual losses in the $9,000 range.