The owner of a Lake Norman marine repair shop and one of his workers are accused of altering customers’ checks by thousands of dollars and depositing the money into the company’s checking account.
Darryl Grady Gibson, owner of River Rat Marine off N.C. 16 in Denver, and employee Kelly Jean Quiram face more than a dozen charges. That includes seven felony counts each of unlawful obtaining credit card information and a felony count of conspiracy, among other offenses.
Gibson, 46, of Gastonia, turned himself in to Gaston County authorities early Friday and was released on $100,000 bail.
Quiram, 42, also of Gastonia, was in the Lincoln County jail Friday on $50,000 bail.
In an interview with the Observer, Gibson denied involvement in the case.
He said he’s been under doctor’s care and away from the shop for three months due to back problems. He said he’d left Quiram in charge of the shop. “All she had to do was answer the phone,” Gibson said.
Gibson said he has known Quiram for 25 years and gave her a second chance after she was previously charged with credit card fraud. “I put all of my faith in her,” he said.
Quiram is no longer allowed at the shop, Gibson said.
Sheriff’s Capt. Tim Johnson said Gibson “tells a different story” to the media than what the evidence shows.
Investigators said evidence also shows that customer credit card information was used to make unauthorized payments to the shop. The unauthorized deposits totaled thousands of dollars, the sheriff’s office said.
One of the checks was written for $840 but was altered to read $5,840, according to Observer news partner, WBTV.
“We’ve been hearing about the company for years,” Johnson told the station. “We did several different investigations. In the last few months, we’ve been getting numerous complaints.”
River Rat Marine has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau.
The company failed to respond to five of the six complaints lodged against it with the BBB and failed to resolve the other complaint, BBB records show.
Court records show Gibson was released from prison in 2007 after serving two years for cheating a person out of services or property. He has been found guilty of 10 other offenses since 2002, including obtaining property by false pretense, larceny, forgery and driving while impaired, according to court records.
In 2002, a judge ordered him not to engage in any work as an independent contractor repairing or selling boats, although it’s unclear how long the ordered lasted.
Court records show Quiram also faces trial on 2013 charges of financial card fraud and obtaining property by false pretense. In 2014, she was found guilty of misdemeanor larceny. In 2013, she was found guilty of shoplifting and writing a worthless check.
In the River Rat Marine case, sheriff’s investigators told WBTV that the name of the business changed, which is why they believe more people might have been victimized.
The sheriff’s office urges anyone who did business with the repair shop to examine their accounts. Anyone who finds discrepancies should call the sheriff’s office at 704-732-9050.