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Cheerleaders pay for jackets they never received

March 9, 2012 8:16:09 PM PST
To tell the tale of how this man Ralph Deluca wound up in court this week accused of ripping off dozens of families, you need to rewind the calendar two months.

The Hawthorne Cubs cheered 7 On Your Side on when we got their money back for jackets never delivered, but that refund was the tip of an iceberg: 7 On Your Side would receive an avalanche of complaints about Deluca's company De and De Athletics.

"It's very frustrating for the kids. It's a lot of money; some of the kids, you know, paid with their own money, babysat and paid the money," said Maura McCarthy, a Rumson Fairfield parent.

Their order was delivered after 7 On Your Side got involved.

McCarthy's daughter never got to wear the jacket as a Rumson Fairhaven Senior during the cross-country season, but at least got what she paid for.

"All the moms kept trying but then finally it was your magical touch," McCarthy said.

But, the touch didn't work in Totowa.

"We want our money back, the girls they're done, they're not getting the jackets," said Dana Barbagal, a Totowa Cheerleader Parent.

The moms all paid for their daughters' winter coats in September, but the cheerleaders went without them because the kids never got their jackets.

"It could be close to $4,000 he took from our kids," Barbagal said.

The squad is run by the Police Athletic League in Totowa, but even that didn't help secure the refund the moms demanded.

"Our check that we received, bounced," another mom said.

The owner of De and De closed his store; the last time 7 On Your Side went looking for him, he refused to see us, leaving Hawthorne's refund check on his porch and promising to make good on the rest of his orders.

This time 7 On Your Side wanted answers in person.

Nina Pineda asked owner Ralph Deluca why he did not make good on his debt yet.

"I'm trying little by little," Deluca replied.

"We got the bounced check in Totowa, the situation in Brick," Pineda said.

"Tell them about two weeks. Two to three weeks, I should have everything straightened out," Deluca said.

The next time 7 On Your Side would see Ralph Deluca was at a pre-indictment hearing in Passaic County Superior Court.

"You said months ago two to three weeks. It's been a month. Come on, these are kids Ralph, who saved their money. You've got to say something. Julio say something on behalf of your client," Pineda said.

Pineda spoke to Deluca's lawyer, asking if Deluca can pay restitution.

"He has every intention to do what's right," his lawyer said.

"As in pay these people back?" Pineda asked.

"That's what he intends to do," his lawyer said.

Deluca's charges of check kiting and fraud by deception were remanded to municipal court.


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