Two of the figures behind a computer repair business with four Triangle locations have been ordered to pay more than $10,000 in restitution and up to $445,000 in civil penalties after the state Attorney General’s office accused it of deceptive and unfair business practices.
The Attorney General’s office announced Monday that it had obtained a default judgment against Timothy Staie and Mark White of Raleigh Geeks. Staie was the manager and Mark White was the owner of Raleigh Geeks, which ceased operating last year after the Attorney General’s office obtained a temporary restraining order.
Raleigh Geeks had locations in Raleigh, Apex, Fuquay-Varina and Garner and also operated as Caveman Computers, ProTech Computers and Fuquay Computer Center.
Under the terms of the court order, Staie and White also were permanently banned from operating a computer repair business in North Carolina and were ordered to return any computers that are still missing to customers.
A complaint filed in Wake County Superior Court in May 2014 by the Attorney General’s office alleged that Raleigh Geeks regularly received upfront payments for computer repair work without doing the repairs on time, if at all. When customers called to check the status of their repairs or seeking refunds, their calls often went unanswered. There also were instances where Raleigh Geeks returned completely different computers to customers, according to the complaint.
The consumer protection division of the Attorney General’s office received 69 complaints from consumers who reported they lost hundreds of dollars each as well as personal information and, in some instances, their computers.
The Attorney General’s office said it recovered 133 pieces of equipment and returned 37 pieces to their owners. Many computers remain missing or have not been claimed.
Another defendant, Garrett Foster, cooperated with the attorney general’s investigation and agreed to a consent judgment that bars him from associating with Staie and White. Foster also is required to notify the Attorney General’s office if he intends to enter the computer repair business again.
A fourth defendant was dismissed from the case.
Staie and Edwards have been tied to computer repair shops in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., that had similar problems with customers.
White also faced 18 counts of felony conversion when customers accused him of keeping their computers after closing Laptop Pros in Smithfield in 2010. Those charges were later dismissed after property was recovered.