Company up in smoke after CEO ditches court date on drug charges

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by Chris Nagus / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on May 7, 2013 at 9:51 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 8 at 6:57 AM

(KMOV) -- Customers of Arkidus Home Protection got ripped off big time and they're lighting up the Internet. Now News 4 has discovered the guy in charge was doing some lighting up of his own.

One of the men who ran an office next to the Arkidus office in Florida told News 4 “a lot of shady people would come here smoke marijuana and smell the whole office over there.”
 
This all started when a man named Reinaldo Berges registered his business with the state of Florida.
Berges had a bold idea to sell home warranties.
 
They are close to $500 a piece but too bad they didn't help Josie Stone when she had a plumbing problem in her Kirkwood home.
 
“The plumber contacted me and said this guy sounds like a crook he gave me false payment information” said Stone.
 
News 4 tracked Berges down to his last known address at a Miami condo complex. But it appeared that Berges had not been there for awhile.
 
So News 4’s Chris Nagus headed to the office address south of Miami that Arkidus had listed with the Florida Secretary of State.
 
Hatem Banieh works next door to that address.
 
He says the crew at Arkidus spent much of the day locked in the office smoking pot and that really chapped most of the other tenants in the building.
 
“It was coming through the vents, we had complaints from downstairs over here over here it appeared to be a bit shady” said Banieh.
 
Florida investigators have logged 87 complaints against Arkidus, closer to home the Illinois Department of Insurance issued a cease and desist order alleging Berges was illegally marketing home warranties.
 
 
Berges plead no contest to a prior marijuana charge and is currently charged with marijuana possession.
 
But since he blew off his court date, now there's a warrant for his arrest but he is nowhere to be found.
 
“I would love to see this guy get caught and be held accountable because Lord only knows what other businesses he's creating” said Josie Stone.
 
Turns out, Reinaldo's a jack of all trades.
 
When he's not selling useless home warranties, he's running a detail business, a life solutions business along with his latest venture, Silly Rayz: selling wacky sunglasses.
 
Most of the comments on the Silly Rayz Facebook page are from angry Arkidus customers.
 
When News 4’s Chris Nagus called Reinaldo's, the voice that picked up said there was no Reinaldo there and eventually hung up after Chris Nagus started asking questions about Arkidus.
 
Bottom line: some Arkidus customers purchased warranties after seeing good reviews on reputable websites like Angie’s list, that's why it's always good to ask for referrals.

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