9/16/2014

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Victim of advertising scam: 'Someone needs to stop him'

Victim of advertising scam: 'Someone needs to stop him'

STAYTON, Ore. – Lunchtime for Crystal Gonzalez means making meals for dozens of people who need a little help at home.

She started a restaurant and meal delivery service for seniors in Stayton.

Back in March, Gonzalez said she got a phone call from a man offering to sell her ad space in a local publication.

“He said his name was Roger and he was contacting me from the Salem-Keizer Senior Center,” Gonzalez said. “He wanted to let me know they do advertising in the bingo program that they have and he wanted to know if I’d be interested in advertising to thousands of seniors that play bingo.”

Gonzalez said it all sounded good. She gave Roger Byl $150 for the ad.

“I thought everything was legit, that everything that was going on was legit.”

But the ad in the bingo program never showed up.

Gonzalez called the senior center. To her surprise, they told her Roger Byl does not work for them, and he never has. An employee told her the senior center doesn’t sell ad space in their bingo programs.

“How dare you. How dare you come to my business and lie and cheat me out of money that I’ve worked so hard for, my family’s worked so hard for,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve struggled to get where we are. It’s not fair.”

Gonzalez did some research online and found out that Byl has a history of trouble. Reports from the California Attorney General’s Office showed dozens of people had complained about Byl, claiming they paid him for ads that he never delivered. In 2006, the Attorney General’s Office expanded its investigation and asked anyone who bought advertising from Byl or his wife to contact investigators.

Gonzalez created a Facebook page called “Stop Roger Byl” and filed a complaint with the Oregon Attorney General’s Office. She finally got her money back months later, but said the Facebook page will not come down.

“He needs to stop. Someone needs to stop him,” said Gonzalez.

So where is Roger Byl?

The business address he uses for his company, Northwest Bingo Programs, is a post office box in Roseburg, Ore.

We found a flower shop in Glide, Ore. run by Byl’s wife, Tammy. The flower shop was part of the California Attorney General’s Office investigation.

We found Tammy Byl at the flower shop. Here’s the exchange between Tammy and myself:

Kerry: “Hi there, are you Tammy? We’re looking for Roger.”
Tammy: “He’s not here, so you’re at the wrong location.”
Kerry: “OK, where is he located?”
Tammy: “He has a PO box in Roseburg.”
Kerry: “Where is his business location?”
Tammy: “That’s not your business, but he has a PO box in Roseburg.”

Tammy claimed to know nothing about Roger Byl’s history of complaints.

Tammy: “OK, I’ll have him call you.”
Kerry: “Do you recall problems with the California Attorney General?”
Tammy: “No. Thank you.”
Kerry: “You don’t remember any problems?”
Tammy: “Thank you.” (closes door)

Later, Tammy asked to speak off-camera. She said Roger had problems before, when he was in car crashes and on medication, but that was no longer an issue.

Roger was hiding in a house in rural Glide. We drove about 20 minutes on a rural road until we came to a gate with a no trespassing sign. From there we called him on his Northwest Bingo Program number, but got his voicemail. He called back and said there was only one job in Oregon that went south. Byl said he’s done many other successful jobs.

When asked to name other places where he’s been paid for print jobs, Byl refused to answer. When we asked him to talk on speakerphone for this story, he hung up.

Gonzalez still wants to warn people about Byl.

“It’s not right to represent yourself to be someone who you’re not and to lie and cheat people out of good, hard-earned money that’s honestly earned,” she said.

How to file a complaint with the Oregon Attorney General’s Office

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