• Investigators: Duo accused of stealing thousands in interior decorating scam

    By: Mike Petchenik

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - A North Georgia couple is facing charges they stole thousands of dollars from customers who hired them to do interior decorating work.

    Milton police have charged Ken and Randy Hall with theft, but other police departments in Cobb and DeKalb counties are also investigating the couple.

    “They don’t have any regards … no conscience whatsoever. That’s the way they live. Period,” said Gloria Hernandez.

    Hernandez told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik that she hired the couple to decorate an investment property she bought in Milton.

    Hernandez said she paid the couple $50,000 and they told her they would order all of the furnishings and do the work for her.

    “Eventually, I couldn’t get the lamps. I couldn’t get the appliances. I hardly got the fireplace. The cabinets were never done,” she said. “When I called to schedule installment in two weeks, I found out nothing basically had been done.”


    TRENDING STORIES:


    Hernandez said she went to Milton police, who ultimately charged the couple with theft by conversion.

    “M.O. seems to be agreeing to some kind of contractual obligations for renovations or repairs and then get a substantial amount of money upfront and then not providing any of the services that were agreed upon,” said Milton Police Capt. Charles Barstow.

    Ken Hall appeared before a Fulton County judge Monday for arraignment, but his wife remains on the run, investigators said.

    Ken Hall was taken into custody on outstanding warrants from Cobb County.

    Elizabeth Smith and her husband, Ed, hired the Halls after finding them on a Facebook group.

    “There were some beautiful pictures of homes she supposedly decorated, and I thought they were pretty,” said Elizabeth Smith. “We gave Randy, I’m sorry to admit, about $12,000 and it was to refurnish the main floor of our house.”

    But after months went by, Smith said the work wasn’t completed. 

    “Week after week it would be excuses and lies and, ‘I’m coming tomorrow’ and ‘I’m coming next week’ and ‘I’ve ordered this,’” she said. “She kept the money and the week of our daughter’s wedding, we had an empty main floor.”

    Ed Smith said he began doing research and found previous mug shots for the couple and a Channel 2 Action News story about the previous arrests.  

    Smith said they went to the Sandy Springs Police Department, but a detective said it was a civil matter, so they went to a Fulton magistrate judge and swore out arrest warrants on their own.

    “We’d like them to be held accountable,” he said. “They’ve been doing this for years.”

    Jessica Hanna told Petchenik that someone referred the Halls to her to do work on her kitchen and other projects in her Brookhaven home.

    “She puts on a really good front like she’s trying to become your best friend,” she said. “Like your fairy godmother.”

    Hanna said she lost her parents and Hall took advantage of that vulnerability. She has since sought charges through Brookhaven police.

    “They’ve preyed on some of these victims right after they’ve lost loved ones very tragically, and she’s figured out maybe they have a little more disposable income, so she’s preyed on them and manipulated them to give her more money to trust her and it’s all lies,” said Hanna, who said she lost $50,000 to the Halls.

    Petchenik left a call for the Hall’s attorney and was awaiting a response as of Monday afternoon.

    Next Up: