NEW YORK (WABC) -- It was another banner year for 7 On Your Side who helped to get refunds and restitution for viewers.
2023 began with a big victory lap a decade in the making. A Queens man posing as a landlord was tricking tenants over $37,000 for a fictional apartment, but we managed to squeeze some cash out of him before he got busted.
It would take six more years for the big moment -- all his victims had their day in court as Khan pleaded guilty. And the Queens DA handed each one a full restitution check.
Next the COVID crisis came back to haunt thousands of CityMD patients when they were blindsided with big bills for coronavirus testing.
That is until we asked the largest urgent care in our area for office visit refunds. CityMD apologized and in an incredible about-face, zeroed out all the balances from the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.
Spring would bring wedding brides jilted by a Jersey boutique owner. We went looking for her and alerted the police. The suspect was found, arrested and charged with stealing deposits and leaving the girls gown-less at the altar.
After seeing our story on the air, a small local retailer gave every bride a gown of her choice for free. They got the VIP treatment and the dresses they deserved.
March would also roar like a lion with a series of devastating house fires. We helped families from Mohegan Lake who needed medicine for their sons both with autism.
And we helped the Marine military families, shorted by their insurance companies, after their houses burned down.
The summer would usher in the hottest ticket in town: Taylor Swift. 7 On Your Side had to rescue Swifties scammed out of tickets they thought they had.
That included a 9-year-old from Staten Island with a rare brain condition after a scalper stole the ticket she thought she won.
But StubHub would step up and gift tickets at our request to the various victims and they all got to the show to sing their hearts out and live their wildest dreams.
As summer ended, so did the health insurance for employees of one the largest nursing home providers in the region, leaving one lady with a cancer diagnosis on the hook for costly chemo.
We asked the company CEO to pay the out-of-pocket cost of over $111,000.
Aside from the big payouts, there were priceless stories that were viewer favorites, like making a special delivery for Mrs. Podszus whose newspaper kept landing out of reach.
We tracked down the postman who pepper-sprayed two Newark pooches and got the pups' vet bills paid.
It was also priceless getting two students with special needs to public school on time.
And perhaps the most rewarding stories were helping veterans -- ones with Purple Hearts.
One Vietnam vet kept getting school zone speeding tickets for a car that wasn't his, but was driven by police.
And we helped a Staten Island charity for Mr. and Mrs. Ollis after their son Michael made the ultimate sacrifice by shielding another solider from a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.
We helped restore their nonprofit's phone -- a lifeline for fundraising to help other veterans.
At the end of 2023, 7 On Your Side helped get back $1,342,000. It was the ninth year in a row that we got back more than $1 million for viewers.
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