I-Team: ‘Million Dollar Decorator’ Rips Off Dorchester Nonprofit, Others Across The Country

I-Team: ‘Million Dollar Decorator’ Rips Off Dorchester Nonprofit, Others Across The Country


. TONIGHT AN EYE TEAM INVESTIGATION, A BOSTON NONPROFIT THAT SERVES LOW INCOME KIDS SAYS AN INTERIOR DESIGNER TOOK THEIR MONEY AND THEN NEVER DELIVERED. AFTER THE ORGANIZATION CONTACTED US TO HELP RECOVER THE FUNDS, THE EYE TEAM’S RYAN KATH DISCOVERED OTHER VICTIMS ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY. Reporter: WELCOME TO MILLION DOLLAR DECORATING. WITH A NAME LIKE THAT, YOU CAN UNDERSTAND WHY A TINY BOSTON NONPROFIT THOUGHT IT HIT THE JACKPOT WHEN JAMES SWAN OFFERED TO HELP. CHARMING, ARTICULATE. Reporter: THE ORGANIZATION SOON FOUND OUT THE HIGH OFFER CAME AT A HIGH COST. THE NONPROFIT SERVES LOW INCOME KIDS. HOW DO YOU DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT? AT DORCHESTER SPORTS, THE PROGRAM HAD A SECURITY NEED FOR LIGHTS. NOT A SAFE PLACE ONCE THE SUN GOES DOWN. Reporter: EXECUTIVE DRENGOR GARL — DIRECTOR GARLY MET THE DESIGNER AT AN COMMUNITY EVENT, HE OFFERED TO DO THE WORK FOR FREE AND BUY THE LIGHTS AT COST. THE THINNEST FINANCIAL MAR JINZ Reporter: THAT’S WHY IT WAS A BIG DEAL TO CUT A CHECK FOR MORE THAN $15,000. AFTER MONTHS OF EXCUSES AND DELAYS, THERE WAS STILL NO LIGHTS. NO ONE WOULD DO THIS TO A NONPROFIT YOUTH ORGANIZATION. IT JUST COULDN’T BE POSSIBLE. Reporter: BUT IT WAS. THE NONPROFIT EVENTUALLY TOOK SWAN TO COURT AND WON. THE DESIGNER PAID HALF THE MONEY BACK AND THEN — HE DROPPED OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH. Reporter: WHEN THE EYE TEAM CONTACTED SWAN, HE ADMITTED HE OWED THE MONEY AND PROMISED THE CHECK IS SCHEDULED TO BE CUT AND SIGNED THIS WEEK. THAT WAS IN APRIL. WHEN THE MONEY NEVER ARRIVED, THE EYE TEAM DID SOME DIGGING. HE FEELS NO REMORSE. Reporter: ATTORNEY BROOKS REPRESENTED A NEWTON FAMILY WHO HIRED SWAN TO DECORATE THEIR HOME IN CHESTNUT HILL. THEY LATER DISCOVERED FURNITURE THEY PAID FOR WAS NEVER EVEN ORDERED. THIS WAS A CONSCIOUS MISAPPROPRIATION OF FUNDS AND THEN THE DECEIT THAT FOLLOWED TO HIDE THAT. Reporter: THEY SUED AND WON A JUDGMENT OF MORE THAN $211,000 BUT THE DESIGNER FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY AND WALKED AWAY WITHOUT THE FAMILY COLLECTING A DIME. I THINK IT PROBABLY EATS AT THEM EVERY DAY. I IMMEDIATELY THOUGHT HE WAS GONE. I JUST HAD A BAD FEELING Reporter: DANIEL ERICSON IS OWED MORE THAN $150,000 AFTER HIRING SWAN TO DECORATE HIS LOS ANGELES HOME. EVEN A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR COULDN’T TRACK HIM DOWN. HE’S HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT. GREAT TO BE WITH YOU. Reporter: THAT’S WHAT FRUSTRATES VICTIMS THE MOST. ALONG WITH PROMOTING HIS PODCASTS, SWAN FREQUENTLY POSTS ABOUT HIS TRAVEL TO TRADE SHOWS IN DALLAS, VEGAS, CHICAGO, EVEN OVERSEAS. PARIS WAS AMAZING. Reporter: BUT WHEN SWAN SHARED A PHOTO OF HIS BOARDING PASS ON THE WAY TO CALIFORNIA, THE EYE TEAM WAS WAITING FOR HIM WHEN HE TOUCHED BACK DOWN IN PORTLAND, MAINE. DO YOU REMEMBER TALKING TO ME SEVERAL MONTHS AGO WHEN YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO PAY BACK THE NONPROFIT IN DORCHESTER? I DON’T, NO. Reporter: SWAN TRIED TO GET AWAY BUT WE LET HIM KNOW WE LOOKED IN HIS BACKGROUND. YOU’VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR YEARS TO PEOPLE. WE WALKED THROUGH THE TERMINAL, ACROSS THE STREET, IN TO THE ELEVATOR. WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL THAT MONEY? Reporter: TRYING TO GIVE HIM A CHANCE TO REFRESH HIS MEMORY OR EXPLAIN HOW HE HAS THE FUNDS TO TRAVEL THE WORLD. WHY NOT SCRAPE THE MONEY TOGETHER TO PAY BACK THE NONPROFIT? LIKE YOU SAID YOU WOULD? IT’S STILL NOT OKAY THAT HE’S OUT THERE DOING THIS. REALLY BOTHERS ME BECAUSE IT AFFECTS THE KIDS AND THE FAMILIES THAT I SERVE HERE. Reporter: AFTER OUR ENCOUNTER AT THE AIRPORT, SWAN CONTACTED THE EYE TEAM TO SAY HE STILL PLANS TO PAY ALL DORCHESTER SPORTS BACK. BUT HE DENIED ALL WRONGDOING ON HIS PART WITH ANY OF THE CASES WE TOLD YOU ABOUT.


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