In Your Corner: Small business owners sold fake advertising

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CHICKASHA, OKLA. - Gilbert Copeland says Dan Cruz sold him bogus advertising.

“He made me a deal,” Copeland said. “I bought two spots.”

He paid $250 total, one for his small engine service and repair shop and the other his laundry mat.

The ads were supposed to go on To Go menus at La Fiesta Mexican restaurant in Chickasha.

“I paid for an advertisement [and] I expected to get it,” Copeland said. “I don't see it happening now.”

Johnny Torres, La Fiesta’s manager, wants to set the record straight.

His restaurant has nothing to do with Cruz or his To Go menus.

“He hasn't shown us any menus at all,” Torres said. “He hasn't sent them out. He hasn't distributed to the local businesses nor myself.”

Cruz also got paid to redesign La Fiesta's menu, except he won't hand over the hard disk, so there's no way for management to print the new menus.

Torres said, “He basically screwed me, along with a bunch of my customers here.”

Cruz is accused of selling thousands of dollars of fake advertising to dozens of small business owners across Oklahoma. 

Betty Parham sells insurance for a living.

Cruz dropped by her insurance agency unannounced. 

“He said, ‘I'll let you have it for half price.’ I'm like, ‘oh, okay,’” Betty said.

As a new business owner, the part that hurts the most is she doesn't have the extra cash to spend on advertising. 

“To come in and take advantage of small, individual owned businesses that are trying to get by and make a living,” she said. “I understand he's trying to make a living as well, but let's do it honestly.”

Cruz never gives out his cell phone.

He doesn't have a website and his email address doesn’t work.

There's no sign of him on social media sites.

We checked court records and property records.

There’s no sign of him or his information anywhere. 

“Whether or not I get my money back, I'm just trying to warn others,” Betty said.

We know Cruz cashed at least one of his checks at a small Hispanic grocery store on South Broadway in Edmond.

We want to talk to Cruz.

If you know where he is give us a call on our In Your Corner hotline.