CREATED Sep. 17, 2013
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Kathy King has a $165 gift certificate to Anthony's in the Catalinas, a restaurant that has been around for 25 years, and she couldn't wait to get her money's worth.
"The atmosphere is great, the view is great, the food is great, everything about Anthony's was great."
But just a couple weeks ago, this was posted on their Facebook page: "After 25 years, Anthony's in the Catalinas is now closed."
And just yesterday, Brian Watson with the I.R.S. told us one of the owners pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return.
"The total over a five year period was about a million dollars of personal expenses that were paid through the corporation," Watson said.
It has left Facebook friends, and viewers like Kathy asking...now what?
"I think it'd be fair to expect cash value for this," Kathy said.
It wouldn't just be fair, but the Better Business Bureau said it's the owner's legal obligation.
"They are owed the money for the gift certificates," BBB spokesperson Nick LaFleur told Nine On Your Side. "So the first thing to do, I would say is try to get a hold of the owner."
We tried calling, writing on Facebook, and going to the restaurant.
There were about four security guards manning the property who told us they would pass our information along.
"Unfortunately in situations like this, it could be very hard to get back the money without going to court," LaFleur said.
But, that's something Kathy told us is not worth it.
"I would hope that maybe the owners would do what's right here."
Here are the Better Business Bureau's tips for the next steps:
• Go to the last known location to see if the company has posted any instructions or signs. If not, ask neighboring companies if they know what may have happened. If the business was located in an office building or shopping complex, you should try contacting the landlord of the building.
• Send a registered letter to the company's last known address asking the owner to contact you. Even if the business is closed, the mail may be subject to a forwarding order. You can also pay a visit to your Post Office to see if the company has a forwarding address.
• If you don't know the name of the principals, check with your city or county clerk's office, or the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC),www.azcc.gov. The ACC has a free public access system that allows consumers to search for information on corporation filings in the state.
• If the business is regulated, such as attorneys, doctors, engineers, employment services, new car dealers, etc., contact the licensing agency. If you're not sure whether the company is regulated or by which office, contact your BBB at 520-888-5353. BBB staff can tell you how to contact the appropriate regulatory authorities.
• Contact the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court in the area where the company was located (www.azb.uscourts.gov or 520-620-7500) to see if the company may have filed for bankruptcy.
• If you are successful in locating the owner and the business is not in bankruptcy, you are still owed your services, product or money. Closing a business does not relieve the owner of his or her obligation to you. If you cannot obtain an appropriate settlement from the company, file a complaint with the Attorney General's office (www.azag.gov), with Small Claims Court or seek the help of an attorney.
• If the company has filed for bankruptcy, you should file a claim with the Bankruptcy Court. The Court will suspend the company's obligation to creditors and customers until it approves a plan to reorganize or liquidate the company. Under the plan, you as a claimant, may or may not get all or part of what you are owed.