Alex Ilayev is a barber. He’s opened a new shop downtown on 14th Street. But he’s the one who just got clipped.
He needed signs and business cards for his new venture. A friend gave him a recommendation: a guy named Alberto. So, Ilayev went along and gave Alberto $1,500 for the job.
Here we are four months later and no signs, no business cards and no Alberto.
Ilayev says all he did get were excuses:
“I’ll be there next week. I’ll be there Tuesday. I’ll be there Thursday. I’ll be there next week. Oh, you know what? Never mind, I got sick."
That’s just a sample of the excuses Ilayev says he heard. So, he contacted me.
Our first stop was a sign shop in Brooklyn where Ilayev says Alberto claimed to work. The guy there was a character. But after we showed him a photo of Alberto, he said he’d never seen the guy before.
So, now’s a good time to mention that Ilayev found out Alberto seems to be an alias. His real name is Attilio Villalobos. And after we left the Brooklyn shop, I gave him a call.
Guess what? Villalobos hung up on me.
Next, we went to an address Alberto/Atilio gave in a text message as another place he had in Hempstead.
That address isn’t a business. But across the street is a sign shop. So, we figured maybe there might have been a typo in the text.
Turned out, the guy who owned the sign shop couldn’t believe someone would try to claim his shop as his own.
Then we paid a visit to his home address. His car wasn’t there. So, I called him.
Guess what? He hung up again.
But maybe we’re getting somewhere in persuading Attilio to do the right thing. The day after I visited his home, Villalobos called Ilayev and promised to pay him back. He did not say when.
No surprise there. But we’ll be happy to report when Villalobos makes good.