Attorney general files charges against piano store owner - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

MO attorney general files criminal charges against piano store owner

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INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -

It's been a busy couple of days in court for a former piano owner who's been the center of several KCTV5 investigations.

Tuesday he was in court for charges connected to his piano store and Wednesday focused on an unrelated bad check charge.

Jack Piersee had nothing to say as he waited to go inside to face a judge at the Jackson County Courthouse in Independence, MO.

According to Attorney General Chris Koster, Piersee operated two piano and organ consignment store locations in Lee's Summit. Between 2009 and 2012, Piersee entered into consignment agreements with customers, offering to sell their pianos and organs for a sales commission. An investigation by the attorney general's office found numerous instances of Piersee selling instruments on consignment for thousands of dollars and keeping the sale proceeds for himself.

Without notice to customers, Piersee closed both locations in the fall of 2012 with approximately 70 instruments remaining in his possession. Piersee told numerous customers that he had sold their instruments and was sending their checks, although many never received payment, the attorney general's office said.

When KCTV5's Eric Chaloux last spoke with Piersee over the summer, he said he's made it right with his former customers.

KCTV5 first introduced viewers to Christine Howe this summer.

"I miss being able to play. It was a beautiful piano," she said.

She had left her grand piano at Piersee's shop to sell. Howe said Piersee always had a song and dance when she questioned him about her beloved Steinway.

"I didn't get a lot of feedback for a long time about what was going on with the piano. I'd call him, he wouldn't return my calls," she said.

It turns out the piano sold, but she said Piersee never paid up. After Howe spoke to KCTV5 News, she reached out to the Missouri attorney general's office.

Their investigation led to charges being filed last month. Piersee faces two counts of felony theft and nine counts of deception and unlawful business practices. Along with fines, he could face upwards of four decades of prison time.

Piersee pleaded not guilty and got a continuance until next month.

The attorney general's office said there could be more victims out there. They have found nine of them, but continue to look for former customers of Piersee.

There were a lot of pianos still left in the store that officials have been trying to connect with owners.

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