A wedding store owner swindled brides out of up to $50,000 and left them scrambling for dresses before their big day, Michigan police said.
The owner of Birmingham Bridal — a 58-year-old West Bloomfield woman — used customer payments for designer gowns to fund her gambling habit, according to a Sept. 11 news release from local police.
The woman perfected the “art of scamming,” one customer wrote on Yelp.
“You’ll come in with expectations of receiving a brand new dress and then find yourself calling a disconnected line…” the customer wrote.
An attorney for the woman could not immediately be reached for comment by McClatchy News.
Following an extensive investigation, detectives said they found that the woman was using new payments to fund purchases for old orders as well as to gamble.
She told investigators she was hoping to win back sufficient money to complete the orders, police said.
She defrauded victims of between $40,000 and $50,000, police said.
Her store closed in June, and she was arrested Sept. 8 and charged with fraud, police said.
After her arraignment, she was taken to the Oakland County Jail.
Birmingham is about 20 miles northwest of Detroit.
Many people can gamble or play games of chance without harm. However, for some, gambling is an addiction that can ruin lives and families.
If you or a loved one shows signs of gambling addiction, you can seek help by calling the national gambling hotline at 1-800-522-4700 or visiting the National Council on Problem Gambling website.