RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The North Carolina attorney general filed a motion to dismiss a bankruptcy filing by the owner of the now shut down Apex non-profit, Ry-Con Service Dogs.
Mark Mathis is accused of scamming families out of thousands of dollars by selling them untrained and aggressive dogs.
Kelly Kennedy from WAVY sister WNCN CBS 17 got a tip to look into Mathis’ finances and is digging deeper into where that money went.
Fifty-two people from across the country have submitted complaints to the attorney general about Ry-Con Service Dogs and Mathis. Many of these families say they went to desperate measures to scrape together the $14,000 for a service dog and what they got were dogs that were aggressive and untrained.
“There’s a family I know involved in this mess that doesn’t have a bed to sleep on because they sold the bed to afford the dog for their child,” said Rachel Cummings, a Charlotte mother, who sold her home to buy a service dog for her daughter with autism.
These families want their money back, but Mathis claims he’s broke. So where did all the money go?
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein filed a motion to dismiss Mathis’ bankruptcy filing. According to the court filing, the nonprofit owner used the company’s account to pay for a cruise, his haircuts, and even dating websites.
“Spending that money to finance a lifestyle that none of the people he’s ripping off have the opportunity to live,” Cummings said. “They were just trying to help their children. It’s criminal.”
CBS 17 has learned Mathis spent more than $9,000 at restaurants, more than $6,000 at clothing stores, more than $2,000 on self-publishing websites, close to $2,000 on personal travel and a cruise and more than $400 on dating websites.
Court documents also say Mathis moved more than $70,000 worth of PayPal payments meant for Ry-Con into his personal bank account.
“The sad thing is that it looks like where the money has been spent, how do you recover that? We can’t take his Amazon purchases, we can’t take the food that he enjoyed at whatever restaurants he went to, we can’t take back the cost of the European trips,” said Cummings. “The best that we can hope for is justice.”
Deanna Ranheim raised the $14,000 to buy a service dog for her daughter, Katelyn, with cerebral palsy.
“They were giving their hard earned money to a guy who went on a cruise and a vacation, so it’s just so unfair,” Ranheim said.
If the bankruptcy filing is dismissed, Mathis can be held responsible for any debt he has accrued. Mathis has 21 days to respond to the motion.