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Colorado food truck fraudster gets 18 months in jail

Larry Perez was sentenced to 18 months in jail and ordered to pay $3 million in restitution for repeatedly violating court orders and continuing to harm consumers.

DENVER — A Denver District Court judge sentenced Larry Perez to 18 months in the Denver County Jail on Friday for violating a 2019 order banning him from the food truck industry, Attorney General Phil Weiser announced Thursday.

In a related case, the judge also ordered Manuel Perez, Larry’s father, and his business Denver Restaurant Equipment, to pay $75,000 to the State for helping his son violate the court’s orders, a release says. 

“A judge banned Larry Perez from the food truck industry in 2019 after the Department of Law brought a case that held him responsible for his misconduct of defrauding consumers. Yet weeks later he was engaging in the same misconduct that led the court to ban him from food truck business in the first place,” Weiser said. “Larry Perez’s contempt caused significant harm to consumers, and we are committed to holding him accountable for this predatory conduct.”

In 2018, the State sued Larry Perez and his business, Denver Custom Food Trucks, for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from consumers for food trucks and related services but failing to deliver the promised food trucks. In 2019, the court permanently banned Larry Perez from the food truck industry and ordered him to pay $3 million. The court also prohibited anyone from helping Larry Perez to continue working in the food truck industry.

The State filed a contempt action against Larry Perez for violating the court’s order after a months-long investigation by the department’s Consumer Protection Section demonstrated how he continued to take tens of thousands of dollars from consumers for food trucks and related services that he never delivered. Less than two weeks after the court banned him from the food truck industry, he started a new company, Restaurant Equipment Warehouse, selling, fabricating, and repairing food trucks in Denver, Commerce City, and Westminster.

According to the release, Larry’s new business generated so much demand that his garages, and even his home, were overflowing with consumers’ food trucks. In two documented instances, he took consumers’ deposits without delivering a truck, and when one consumer demanded a refund, he physically threatened him. 

In another instance, he took thousands of dollars from a family to repair their food trailer. The same day the family picked up their trailer, a gas line Larry installed exploded injuring the mother and children.

Manuel Perez knew his son was banned from the food truck industry, but he helped Larry to continue selling food trucks from Manuel’s own business in violation of the court’s orders, the release says. The $75,000 that Manuel Perez was ordered to pay will go to help some of the consumers who lost money.

When Larry Perez completes his sentence, he will still owe most of the $3 million previously ordered by the court and will continue to be permanently banned from the food truck industry.

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