EASTHAMPTON (WGGB) – When ABC40 was first to break the story of a police investigation into Easthampton’s ‘Jones News’, former customer James Hibbard said he immediately went to check his payment records.
“I began calling my creditors and sure enough, this bill hadn’t been paid, this bill hadn’t been paid…” Hibbard says, flipping through several receipts. “I think they should shut him down. I think he should go to jail. It’s disheartening that he’s doing this to hard-working people.”
Hibbard says he has used ‘Jones News’ to pay a few of his bills for the past 3 years. He says despite having two checking accounts, he pays these bills in cash out of convenience. He says he always receives a receipt and up until recently experienced no problems with the business or it’s owner, Alan Bouyea.
“You think these bills are being paid.” He says. “And they’re not.”
Hibbard says when he realized what was going on, he confronted Bouyea at his store. He says the friendly demeanor he was greeted with upon entering the store, quickly vanished when he said to Bouyea that it wasn’t a social call.
“I told him I wasn’t leaving the store until I got my money back.” Hibbard says, which including late fees was $691 dollars. “He went into the back and came out with a stack of $100 dollar bills and put it down on the counter. And he was still smiling.. no remorse. Nothing.”
Mr. Bouyea refused to comment on the investigation by the Easthampton Police Department when Abc40 approached him recently. Police say more than a dozen victims have come forward with the same allegations. They wouldn’t comment on whether criminal charges would be filed.
In the meantime, Hibbard says he’s contacting all his creditors to make them aware of the situation. He says some companies were aware of the ‘Jones News’ investigation already after noticing other customer’s checks from Bouyea were bouncing.
“I know I’m not the only person this has happened to. I hope other people come forward.” Hibbard says.
If you use ‘Jones News’ and believe you are also a victim, contact the Easthampton Police Department or our newsroom. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org