MILWAUKEE – A puppy fraud scheme has been busted in Milwaukee. Federal investigators say three suspects scammed people across the country who were in the market for a puppy, taking the money but never delivering a dog.
“It was a Havanese puppy,” said Karen Parness. “A female, about 10 or 12 weeks old.”
It wasn’t the ending Parness expected when she started her search for the perfect puppy last year. The Henderson, Nevada woman found a website she thought had a match, writing to the business owners.
“They had all their ducks in a row,” said Parness.
She sent $500 via the money app Zelle and expected the dog to be flown to her, but when the person on the other end asked for another $1,500, she knew something was up.
“I said, ‘This just doesn’t sound right. I’m not comfortable with doing this,'” said Parness.
She went to the authorities. Investigators say Parness is one of several people scammed by three suspects in Milwaukee, Blaire Hudson, Sona Spora and Milwaukee rapper Sona the Voice.
According to a federal complaint, the three ran the website Cassy Havanese Breeders, posting photos and profiles of puppies before taking money from their victims and never giving them a dog.
“We saw this scam skyrocket,” said Jim Temmer, CEO of the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau.
Temmer said puppy schemes have grown during the coronavirus pandemic.
“There’s no dog,” said Temmer. “There never was a dog, and as soon as you stop sending cash, you’ll never hear from them again.”
That’s exactly what happened in this case except the suspects behind the scheme were caught. Their victims hope for justice.
“I hope they end up in jail, pay everybody back,” said Parness.
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The BBB says the best way to avoid the scam is to shop local.
The suspects now face federal bank and wire fraud charges.