HUNTINGDON - An Illinois-based company known for its roving gold- and jewelry-buying events handed out some $3,500 in bad checks during a July stop in Huntingdon, police said Friday.
THR & Associates, which holds an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau for its alleged failure to pay clients, admitted to handing out bad checks during a July 4-7 stop at the Huntingdon Comfort Inn, borough police Detective Charles Streightiff said.
"They've been coming into the Huntingdon area numerous times," Streightiff said Friday. "We've had [complaints] as far as Spruce Creek, Alexandria and the Saxton area."
The company's representatives reportedly set up shop at hotels and conference centers across the country, offering to buy old gold, jewelry and antiques.
A THR & Associates representative has promised police that the bad checks will be repaid, Streightiff said, and assured investigating officers that the empty bank account was a mistake.
"[The company] promises that the wrongs will be made right," he said.
THR & Associates has faced similar accusations across the country - a Jacksonville, Ill., radio station reported in May that some 4,000 bad checks had been issued nationwide. The company at the time blamed the mistake on a bank account switch gone awry.
A corporate representative on Friday said the company isn't issuing statements.
Streightiff said a criminal investigation is under way, but said Huntingdon police will likely stand down as long as the company repays its customers as soon as possible. The Comfort Inn, where the event was held, also received a bad check for its part, Streightiff said.
Police are receiving more complaints every day, but Streightiff said there may be even more who likely received bad checks, but in such small amounts that they didn't bother to contact the company.
He said Huntingdon has also faced a rash of wire-transfer and telephone scams in recent weeks, and urged residents to research outside companies before dealing with them.
"I always say 'document, document, document.' The Internet is a very useful tool at times," Streightiff said.
Huntingdon police have asked anyone who received a bad check from THR & Associates to contact them at 643-3960 and to contact company representative Frank Ross at 217-679-1718, ext. 142.
Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.