Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 11, 2014

Waste haulers accused of skimming funds

Attorney general's office files new allegations Monday.

From staff reports
Kokomo Tribune

---- — State officials filed new allegations Monday against Kurt and Melissa Kanable, owners of Tippecanoe Waste Removal, claiming the couple used company funds to pay for personal expenses.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is suing the company and its owners on behalf of 766 former customers who claim they paid the Lafayette-based company in advance for services they never received.

The amended lawsuit filed Monday named both Kanables individually as defendants for the first time. The state filed a consumer fraud action against the company Jan. 30, but Zoeller said Monday he decided to add the Kanables as defendants because corporate bank records raised concerns about the use of funds.

State officials allege the Kanables used customer’s payments for personal expenditures including child support, student loan payments, children’s clothing, groceries and video games, according to a statement issued by Zoeller’s office.

“Customers who have been impacted by this business’s abrupt shutdown should know that my office continues to diligently pursue this case and restitution for consumers,” Zoeller said. “The allegations regarding the comingling of corporate and personal funds are certainly of significant concern. My office intends to hold those that were personally responsible for consumer losses accountable. This action today is a step toward finding where the consumers’ payments went and identifying any assets that could go toward consumer restitution.”

Zoeller said 766 consumers have submitted complaints to his office so far — up from 318 when the original lawsuit was filed. Consumers who are part of the lawsuit reported losses ranging from $10 to $231 and totaling $47,160.

Tippecanoe Waste Removal posted a message on its website in January stating the company shut down and claimed all of its accounts would be transferred to Waste Management. The website also stated the new company would honor payments already made to TWR, but Waste Management did not acquire the accounts.

The company is accused of violating the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act and the state seeks a permanent injunction, consumer restitution, civil penalties and investigative costs.

Consumers who made payments to TWR, but did not receive services, can still file complaints with the attorney general’s office by visiting www.IndianaConsumer.com or by calling 1-800-382-5516 to request a complaint form be mailed or faxed to them.