He may have gotten away with it in Vacaville. But when furniture store owner Hung Anh "Peter" Truong opened up shop in Gilroy, his customers' angry complaints were taken seriously.

Truong was arrested earlier this week on suspicion of defrauding at least 10 customers, either by not delivering chairs and sofas they paid for, or by substituting shoddier merchandise.

The losses are relatively low -- $20,000. But the joint inquiry by Gilroy police and the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office exposed what investigators believe is a pattern of defrauding frustrated patrons in Vacaville, Gilroy and San Jose.

At all three locations, authorities believe, Truong routinely took payments, failed to deliver furniture and then could not be reached by frustrated customers. A local newspaper in Vacaville even did a story on the complaints, but he never faced charges there.

"Furnishing a home is one of the most basic and major expenses a consumer can make," prosecutor Vishal Bathija said. "A buyer's consideration should be based on quality and price, not on whether they will end up losing their money to theft."

Troung, 48, posted $50,000 bail Wednesday. He is charged with 10 felony counts of grand theft and one misdemeanor count of theft. If he is convicted, he faces a maximum of nine years in county jail.


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The investigation found he ran the Furniture Outlet in Vacaville from October 2011 to January 2012, then American Furniture in Gilroy from August 2012 to May 2013. He subsequently popped up in San Jose, where he operated Galaxy Furniture from May 2013 to January of this year.

Customers who believe they are victims of the Gilroy or San Jose stores can file a complaint by calling Bathija at (408) 792-2970.

Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482. Follow her at Twitter.com/tkaplanreport.