A Florida finance company sued Christopher Butler, Mega Mattress, and Jay Samander in U.S. District Court in August for allegedly defrauding the company. The Attorney General is currently prosecuting Butler in Hinds County for fraud charges related to the same allegedly fraudulent transactions. The lawsuit claims the defendants defrauded the lender of over $400,000. Mega Mattress is owned by Elias Dabit.
The lawsuit states:
8. U·Own is a finance company that provides services for rent·to·own companies nationwide. When a consumer elects to finance the purchase of a product at a U·Own affiliated retailer, U·Own pays the retailer the full purchase price and enters into a loan relationship with the consumer.
9. Mega Mattress is a rent·to·own retailer located in Jackson, Mississippi. Mega Mattress specializes in the sale of discount mattress and furniture products.
10. At all times relevant, Christopher Butler and Jay Samander were employed by Mega Mattress in Jackson, Mississippi....
12. On or around July 1, 2014, U·Own and Mega Mattress begin a mutually beneficial business relationship. Under the terms of their agreement, Mega Mattress agrees to use U-Own as its exclusive provider of consumer financing services and U·Own agrees to provide financing to Mega Mattress customers.
13. U·Own provides financing to Mega Mattress customers based on, among other things, an existing checking account in the customer's name and a delivery receipt demonstrating that the customer actually received furniture.
14. In the early stages of its relationship with Mega Mattress, U·Own completes more than 600 transactions for Mega Mattress custome1·s. These transactions involve actual customers with actual bank accounts who are seeking financing for the purchase of actual items of furniture.
15. In September of 2015, U·Own notices that an inordinate number of its Mega Mattress customers are delinquent on their credit payments.
16. U·Own begins reaching out to these "customers" and learns that they were informed by Mega Mattress and its employees that they were denied financing and had never 1·eceived furniture from Mega Mattress.
17. These conversations raise red flags at U·Own because Mega Mattress had provided all necessary originating documents for each of these "customers".
18. With more than $400,000 invested in loans to Mega Mattress customers, U·Own launches an investigation to determine what has transpired. As a result of its investigation, U·Own learns:
a. Mega Mattress, through its employee Christopher Butler, encouraged individuals to apply for financing through U·Own;
b. To initiate the application process, Butler would meet potential applicants at an automotive service center in the Jackson area where applicants would be driven to a financial institution for the purpose of opening checking
c. These applicants would create "dummy" checking accounts which they did not intend to use for ordinary banking purposes but only to satisfy U·Own's loan requirements;
d. The applicants, using their new dummy checking accounts, would return to Mega Mattress and apply for financing;
e. Mega Mattress would submit a loan package to U·Own, including delivery receipts, which were signed and approved by Jay Samander;
f. U·Own, believing these checking accounts and other supporting documents were real, would approve and advance financing;
g. Meanwhile, at Mega Mattress, these applicants were told they had been rejected for financing; and
The plaintiff is represented by attorneys Brandon Jones and David Baria. The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan, III. Judge Jordan granted an extension of time to serve Butler with a copy of the lawsuit. U-Own claimed in its motion requesting an extension of time:
h. These applicants were never provided furniture by Mega Mattress.
19. Without knowing of the above scheme, U·Own provides financing to numerous individuals who it believes received furniture and were seeking financing for same. On this basis, U·Own advances hundreds of thousands of dollars to Mega Mattress for what U·Own believes are legitimate furniture sales.
Defendants Mega Mattress and Jay Samander were both served October 3, 2016.
Defendant Christopher Butler has been the subject of an investigation unrelated to this matter. Though he was incarcerated, his whereabouts were unknown. Through an investigator, Counsel learned of Butler’s appearance in Court but the District Attorney would not allow the server to serve Mr. Butler.U-Own asked for actual and punitive damages.
Counsel continues his attempts to serve Butler but believes additional time may be necessary. The current deadline for service in this matter is December 20, 2016. Plaintiff requests an additional ninety (90) days within which to locate and perfect service on defendants.