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Attorney General's News Release

August 12, 2014

Lee's Summit piano seller pleads guilty to defrauding customers

Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today announced that Jack Piersee of Lee's Summit, the owner of the now-defunct Piersee Piano and Organ, pleaded guilty to 11 felony counts and faces more than 60 years in prison if he fails to make full restitution to his consumer victims within the next five years.  Piersee admitted using his business to steal from his customers, keeping proceeds from piano and organ consignment sales for himself, and then closing his doors with dozens of consumers' instruments still in his possession.

Piersee operated two piano and organ businesses in Lee's Summit, through which he entered into consignment agreements with customers, offering to sell their instruments for a sales commission. Without any notice to his customers, Piersee closed both locations in the fall of 2012, with approximately 70 instruments remaining in his possession. Piersee told numerous customers that he had sold their instruments and was sending their checks, although many never received payment.

After receiving complaints from customers, an investigation by the Attorney General's office found numerous instances of Piersee selling instruments on consignment for thousands of dollars and keeping the sale proceeds for himself. Searches of his business properties found abandoned pianos and organs without accompanying records identifying their owners.

In November of last year, in cooperation with the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney, Koster filed two counts of felony stealing and nine counts of felony deception and unlawful merchandising practices charges against Piersee in Jackson County Circuit Court. The Attorney General's Office successfully identified some owners of the abandoned instruments and was able to return several to their proper owners.

"This defendant lied to his customers, and then closed his doors after pocketing thousands of dollars of their money, never intending to reimburse them," said Koster. "We intend to closely monitor the progress Mr. Piersee makes toward paying full restitution to his victims."

After pleading guilty to all counts last week, Piersee this week paid $10,000 towards the $82,178 in total restitution he owes to former customers. He has also agreed to pay any new victims that come forward to the Attorney General's Office. Missouri consumers that did business with Piersee Piano and Organ can contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222 to file a complaint.

In exchange for pleading guilty to the felony charges, Piersee will be on probation for five years, will serve six days of shock time in jail, and can never operate another piano or organ consignment business in the state of Missouri. He must pay all $82,178 he owes former customers, in monthly installments, by the end of his five-year probation period. If he violates his probation or fails to make timely payments toward consumer restitution, the judge can impose prison sentences of up to 15 years for each of the two Class B felony stealing counts and up to four years for each of the nine Class D felony deceptive business practices counts.

The Missouri Attorney General's Office assisted Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jean Peters Baker in the case.



 
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