APEX, N.C. (WNCN) – Thursday was a disappointment for dozens of families that say they were taken advantage of by Rycon founder Mark Mathis. The Apex nonprofit provided service dogs to people with special needs.
At this point, Katherine Evaul has lost all hope that she’ll get back the more than $20,000 she spent on Einstein. He was supposed to be a service dog for her son with autism.
“It was just utter havoc and that’s the best word for it, is havoc and chaos,” Evaul said of her dog’s behavior when she received it from Ry-Con Service Dogs. “He’s not gonna be a service dog. We have continued training him.”
Mathis didn’t make it to bankruptcy court, but his lawyer did. The attorney general held a proceeding against Mathis in an attempt to ensure Mathis would be obligated to pay back the families he owes money to. A judge dismissed the attorney general’s filing, saying it was not detailed enough.
“Yes it frustrates me because, as a parent, I want instant gratification,” said Evaul. “I want this man to step up say, even a true apology would just be appreciated, but I don’t think he can do that.
The attorney general’s office filed a complaint arguing Mathis took payments for service dogs he knew were not properly trained. A judge said the AG’s office is asking for more than $1 million in restitution for around 50 families, but only named four in their complaint. The judge gave the AG’s office 30 days to refile.
“At this point, I’ve pretty much accepted we’re not going to see a dime,” Evaul admitted. “That being said, I want to make sure that he’s not allowed to perpetuate this lie of being a dog trainer for special needs children because he’s not just hurting one person — he’s hurting a family every single time he says that.”
Criminal charges are also a possibility for Mathis. Both the AG’s office and the Wake County Sheriff’s Office have been investigating Mathis.
“I would like you to recognize the irrevocable hurt that you’ve done to this family,” Evaul said to Mathis.
CBS 17 reached out to the attorney general’s office for a comment. It sent a statement that reads, in part: “The judge’s ruling about particularity is a procedural hoop to jump through. Our office also remains committed to fighting on behalf of the people who were harmed in this matter.”
The attorney general’s office says it will re-file and they will continue to fight for all of Mathis’ victims.
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