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Criminal complaint filed against carpet cleaner

March 12, 2009|Martha Groves

The Santa Monica city attorney's office has filed a 16-count criminal complaint against the owner of Clean Dry USA, a Woodland Hills carpet-cleaning company, alleging grand theft by false pretenses, false advertising and elder abuse. Three of the alleged victims, including one who lives in Santa Monica, are elderly.

Deputy City Atty. Adam Radinsky said that circulars distributed throughout the Southland offer one price and arrangement for carpet cleaning but that "a very different scenario actually takes place."

Through an agreement with the Los Angeles city attorney's office, Santa Monica was authorized to file all of the counts on behalf of Los Angeles, of which Woodland Hills is a part.

Arraignment is scheduled March 17 in Los Angeles County Superior Court for Sharon Gilboa, the business' owner, and the corporation, Clean Dry USA Inc..

Mark Werksman, an attorney for Gilboa, called the allegations "completely unfounded."

"This is a big misunderstanding," Werksman said. "My client . . . has always treated customers fairly and provided a good service."

Each of the alleged offenses is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of one year in County Jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Consumers who have lost money to Clean Dry USA or an affiliated company known as Target Carpet Care should immediately contact the Santa Monica Consumer Protection Unit at (310) 458-8336 or http://www.smconsumer.org.

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