Posted: Mar 27, 2013 2:51 PM by Janine Reyes
Updated: Mar 28, 2013 8:03 AM
CORPUS CHRISTI -- A man who once held a license as a massage therapist is now accused of selling gift certificates for massages he's no longer licensed to perform.
It appears he's cashed in quite a bit on those gift certificates without giving the promised massages.
6 Investigates has received several calls and emails about Stephen Johnson and his questionable credentials...
When we tracked down the self-proclaimed massage therapist selling gift cards for massages - he insisted he is not running a scam. "I'm not out trying to screw anybody, excuse my language, I'm just trying to make it right," Johnson told us.
Tell that to all the people who contacted us after seeing him on 6 News last night.
"I didn't know he wasn't even licensed until I saw it on the news last night, its amazing," Stephanie Mikeman told us. She forked over $100 in July for four gift cards.
"He had the full table, and that was kind of creepy. He had the full table out and lay down he does the full massage, it was fine. I had no idea he wasn't even licensed," said Anne Hernandez, who gave him $50 in October.
Her coworker, Denise Escamilla, knew he looked familiar when he walked into their law firm, she also gave him $50 for a gift certificate he never fulfilled 5 years ago. She called him out on it, too. "He just played if off like oh, 5 years ago, I was having problems with my mother," Escamill said.
In a facebook post on our story, Kristy Worthington says Johnson scammed her 4 or 5 years ago, too.
Johnson's not only been busy selling gift cards, though, he spent much of that time in and out of jail and he's got mug shot after mug shot on file to prove it.
Most his charges are drug and alcohol related, he's got a 1996 felony conviction for tampering with government records, several possession of marijuana convictions and DWI's over the years and a theft of property conviction in 2009.
Right now he's on probation in Nueces County for DWI.
That's troublesome to those who gave him money and hoped for a full massage after he gave them a sampling.
"He gives little miniature massages where you think, oh yeah, he's a good massage therapist," Escamilla told us.
They all say he's so convincing, they never imagined he might be a fraud.
"You never thought that somebody would come impersonate a massage therapist, you know," said her coworker, Anne Hernandez.
Although they'd like their money back, all agree, they're actually relieved he never honored their gift cards.
Now, they'd just like to see charges filed and the women who work for Gowan Elizando Law Firm, say they intend to see that through.
6 Investigates contacted police to see if there are any charges they can file. Yesterday they told us the cases are civil.
But, the Texas Department of State Health Services says they reported Johnson to police who have the authority to file charges for presenting himself as a Licensed Massage Therapist when he is not. That's a Class C Misdemeanor.
The Attorney General's office also can file a lawsuit against Johnson for scamming customers and for deceptive practices.
So far, they say they have not done that, but we will continue to follow up with them as well.
If you believe you've been scammed by Johnson, here are some places you can contact to file a complaint:
Do you have a tip, information about a breaking news story, or a story idea for 6 Investigates? Contact the KRIS 6 News Desk at 361-884-6666 or send us an email.
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