Bathtubs land father, daughter in hot water
A father and daughter from Danville were arrested Thursday afternoon in connection with a 60-count criminal case involving walk-in bathtubs that were misrepresented to elderly victims, officials said.
Raj Kamal Suri, 65, and Tori Bhavna Suri, 40, were arrested in Pleasanton and Richmond, respectively. The name of their company is GreenworksUS.
The two have been charged with perjury, money laundering, conspiracy, theft from an elder or dependent adult and burglary with enhancements related to elderly victims. They have also been accused of theft by false pretense, which is a felony according to officials.
Because there were licensed contractors involved, the Contractors State License Board played a role in the case.
No property was stolen from victims in the literal sense, but Rick Lopes at the CSLB said GreenworksUS sales people entered the homes of victims with the intent to “rip them off”:
“They set up this whole fake story in order to entice them into the purchase. … It goes to intent. It doesn’t necessarily matter that they didn’t go through the drawers looking for money.”
Authorities say the Suris used unfair business practices and “various misrepresentations,” including telling their victims that the walk-in bathtubs were made in America. That’s not true, according to Lopes:
“They were made in China, and they were not legal to be sold in the U.S. … They also marketed the tubs as safety tested and meeting state and city codes, which they were not.”
Lopes said that GreenworksUS fraudulently inflated the financial information of their victims on credit applications in order to qualify them for financing. It’s also been alleged that they filed false information with government agencies.
In addition to problems with their paperwork, Lopes said the bathtubs were not installed well:
“So some of these people are out $15,000 for these tubs, plus you’re going to need someone come in and take them out. … These people are out tens of thousands of dollars, and they’re elderly people.”
Dozens of victims across the state lost more than $360,000 in the scheme and some of them were in Riverside, according to the Riverside County District Attorney. GreenworksUS could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon. The company can be found online at www.greenworksus.com.