Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Special Place in Hell

"A special place in Hell."

I would bet that even an Atheist has uttered these words when referring to criminals.

There are days when I have my doubts about God’s love when I read or hear about criminal acts, especially the ones where the victim not only suffers by the actions of the criminal, but from the oppression of our legal system where the criminal has all the rights and the victim’s voice is never heard.

It is cases like these that bring Dante’s adage to mind. "The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who, in time of crisis, remain neutral" Which is the reason I am posting this blog.

The crime against me is a minor thing by comparison, but an education none-the-less.

I, along with several others, consigned items to a small shop that opened in Ruston, LA. Personally, I worked for several hours over several days pricing and inventorying over 200 items, with hopes of earning a little money to do something special with my family.

Many of the consignors fell victim to her scam to rob us of the income our items generated or the items themselves. The store remained open for only a few months, then she skipped town leaving no forwarding address; not only owing her consignors, but her landlord $3000 for three months’ rent.

Oh, in an email she promised to pay us all on January 15, 2013.

But here’s the reality. The woman is a thief who set out to purposefully commit fraud against these consignors. How do I know this? As it turns out, she had done this before, and I have a feeling she will do it again. We, the consignors, acknowledge that we may never see the income our items generated or our items that were stolen, but the education, for me, has been the most costly.

I feel that I have a responsibility to share this education I have unfortunately earned to help prevent others from falling for such a scam.

I am NOT saying anything against other consignments shops or their owners (although, in my research, I found several incidents of similar cases); I am simply sharing my experience.

Although the loss of over $500 income due to the criminal acts of this woman has been difficult, it is her “Christian” fa├žade that has really caused my distress. She also robbed me of my faith in God, and my trust in those who call themselves Christians.

Other Christians have told me, I am blessed. Blessed? Every day is a “God ‘blanking’ hates me” day because I wake up every day in physical pain. It is because of my belief in God that I am reminded that “God ‘blanking’ hates me” when he tops off that physical pain with an extra helping of “people suck” causing me emotional pain…every day.

Okay, I am blessed. Blessed that from this experience, I have something to share. For me to not share my testimony, I am just as guilty as this criminal by not protecting others from her evil.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17 ESV

Unfortunately, due to our judicial system that protects the criminal, I cannot add her name to this post, even though she has fled the state.

Yet, I will say that I have seen the embodiment of evil; with her deceitful smile stretched across sharp, white teeth and her yellow eyes glinting with malevolent intent.

She called herself a Christian. She posted Biblical and inspirational quotes on her social media page praising God for all her blessings. Is this her attempt to lure in more hapless victims like a spider spinning a web?

A spider has a more noble character.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  Mathew 7:15 KJV

What I have gained from this experience was a camaraderie that grew from meeting the other victims and learning of how their lives were affected.  It also opened dialogues with others who have suffered similar (if not significantly greater) loss at the hands of someone they trusted.

My heart goes out to all victims of crimes; especially those that hit on such a personal level that the victims’ path in life are altered in a detrimental way.

However, a “Christian” willingly commits a crime will thankfully suffer their own consequences.

They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. Titus 1:16 ESV

For the record: I no longer call myself a Christian. I no longer attend my church. I no longer sing in my church’s choir. I no longer volunteer for my church’s activities.

I believe in God, I believe Jesus came to this world to die for our sins, and I believe in following the commandments, and seeking comfort, and gaining knowledge from God’s Holy word.

I know many wonderful Christians and I am so blessed that they care about me enough to call me their friend.  They are  an inspiration to me and I truly love and admire their faith and purity of heart, even in adversity. Yet, I pale so by comparison that I do not feel worthy to call myself a Christian.

My spirit is soiled by my encounter with this "Christian", and I have prayed to God over and over for help. The answer came to me at 5:11 AM this morning.

I realized I had to write about it. I know I should forgive and move on; however, when I sought comfort from Biblical quotes, I found more inspiration in the ones that supported my responsibility to educate than those conforming me to forgive.

Forgiveness (but not forgetting the knowledge I have gained) will come later. I know that this is something I have to work towards and, as someone said, there is more to be gained from hard work.

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Luke 6:35 ESV

But here is a Biblical quote for you, K.A.; one I am sure you will not be adding to your social media page.

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. Revelation 21:8 ESV

Praise be to God.

Update: I sent this link to the woman's husband via Facebook because I do not know what happened to his wife's page. The following is his response and in purple: my rebuttal.

Mrs. Taylor, you have some nerve. No One ran a scam on you or anybody else. Really? Your wife previously had a clothing consignment store where she did not pay the consignees nor returned their unsold items. I'm sure my income alone exceeds yours. No doubt, since basically the only income I generated last year, your wife stole!
You have no business commenting on our agreement with the Landlord. True, but according to the First Amendment, I can add this bit of information to support my article. It seems like you are saying my wife deserves to go to hell from what I read. You are entitled to interpret the article anyway you choose. I am just glad there is a Hell (and a special place in it) for people who pose as Christians while ripping people off. You were told to come get your things because we were leaving and you failed to do so. Prior to your hasty exodus, I heard rumors that your wife was asking the consignors to pick up their things because she had other plans for the shop. When I spoke to your wife in person, at the shop, I was prepared to collect my things. She just smiled at me and told me that she wanted to get rid of some of the things that were not selling but wanted to keep my things because they were selling. She also told me she would not be able to pay me for my items that has sold until the next month or so. As far as notifying people...posting a Facebook message is not a professional way to contact the consignors. If she were acting in an ethical way, she would have called her consignors on the phone (our contact information was on our inventory sheets that she had in her notebook) before leaving town. I only found out she had skipped out on her responsibilities because I sent her a personal message. For weeks my wife and I made arrangements with you and many others to pick up your items. When I came by to get my things, the store was not open when I was told it would be. When I tried to make an appointment, that 16 year-old child you hired was only available on an afternoon that conflicted with an obligation that I could not get out of, so I sent my Mother and two sons with my inventory list to collect my things. That 16 year-old child you hired only gave them 30 minutes to collect my merchandise, which was not enough time to get the majority of the approximately 200 items on my list that I consigned with you. Especially since approximately 50 items were unaccounted for. One of you being a preacher that had items in our store and the preacher not responding either. When a group of consignors and I met with Mr. Hoogland to pick our things, another consignor and I called several remaining consignors who did not show up for their things. One person the other consigner spoke to had no idea that she had to pick up her things by a certain date. I called the lady from West Monroe with the handmade toy giraffes, etc., and she told me she was NEVER notified and had NO IDEA the shop had closed. Even the woman who had all the furniture built out of pallets had no idea what was going on due to your lack of communication. This is further evidence that you and your wife did NOT properly notify ALL the consignors. Which further supports the evidence that your committing fraud was intentional.

You two probably go to the same church. Irrelevant. If you thought this was going to give you satisfaction , you were wrong Actually, this opportunity to expose your wife (and apparently you now that you admit to your involvement) for this crime IS rather satisfying. and from what I understand from public officials in Ruston you have made a ass of yourself. Apparently, anyone who has the audacity to report a crime; is an ass. Calling my friends 16yr old daughter a nasty name. I may have. I was extremely upset at the realization that I was a victim of a crime; however, the girl IS a thief. She stole my property and that of other consignors and put them on Ruston Market's Facebook page. And, yes, we all have the evidence.  If you wanted this resolved you should have responded as necessary. I did, I collected approximately 150 of the 200 items I consigned with your wife.  I sent your wife my inventory sheet as she requested and I have an email from her saying she would pay all the consignees in January. I have no need for your money or items. Then why haven't you sent the consignors (including those from the clothing shop) their money? Also, check your home for a framed painting of a shack with a Coca-Cola sign over a window and one of a bird hunter with his dog and a windmill in the background. They belong to me. When I brought them in, your wife went on about how she was going to buy the painting of the shack for your home. I never got paid for these, either. This comes from me, Steve AXXXX Jr., you mam (That should be ma'am which is a contraction of the word "madam".) are out of line especially if you claim to be a "Christian"? Apparently, you did not read the part where I said I don't call myself a Christian. I find it difficult to conform to a group that calls themselves "Christians" while committing a crime. Revenge is what I'm sensing. I have no need to seek revenge.

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Romans 12:19 KJV 

Tell who you want, your are wasting your time trying to trash my wife. You are absolutely right. Your wife did a fine job all by herself. I am not her only victim. Good day and I wish you the best with Christian journey. Right back at you.

More updates:
Steve P. AXXXX Jr.
I'm not sure of why I would be interested?
You have accused my wife if a scam and of doing this before. I have no idea where the previous time came from being we had just moved back to La in 2011.
You vendors do not have any idea of the gamble we took that involved my 5 young children. None of you helped organize, clean, construct or much of anything. If you were not selling we didn't make money. All the expense came from our savings! We didn't charge booth rent as I recall. So, everyday that you think you we at a financial loss due to your lack of priorities, think if what we provide and in return we going in the whole , stressing if my income would suffice and if you all's merchandise would sell.
This is my last conversation with you. You think we actually had the time in our life or that we are that twisted to think of such a scam. Be no means do we conduct ourselves like that and if you think so you need a psychological evaluation.
Mrs. Taylor I wish you the best and unless your last blog was about apologizing I'm not concerned. Good luck.

This message is not going to be a rant, so please read on.
I think you should know that I was one of the first people to consign at your wife's shop. I even offered to work at the shop. I have a business degree, I've worked in retail, I used to volunteer at a charity consignment shop. I even owned my own shop, and I can tell you that I know what dipping into savings is all about but I NEVER commingled the money due my vendors with the operating funds of the business nor personal needs.
I offered to teach art and acting classes (another thing I have a degree and/or previous experience with) but she never called me. 
I felt your wife had so many wonderful ideas for her shop and I sincerely, and I mean sincerely, hoped for her success because I felt our community needed such a venue.
I brought my own shelving and bags (for my gourds) and helped to set up my things. So you can't say that I did not offer anything to support your wife's shop. That is simply not true.
I came by often, only to find the store was either closed on a day or time it should be open or, in some cases, she wasn't there.
True, you would have been better off renting booths than having a consignment shop. Or, perhaps she could have taken consignments for her booth area only. I seem to recall that I mentioned this to her when I was sharing my own experience.
The shop had some great merchandise and the place looked really cute. I don't know why she wasn't getting the traffic she needed.
The point is, your wife was still responsible for the rent due Mr. HXXXXXXX, the consignors items and the responsibility to pay them for their items that could not be accounted for when she left. Not doing so is a fraudulent.

When I tried to send him the message, I discovered he had either blocked me or cancelled his social media account.

Now, wouldn't that make you a bit suspicious?