THE VILLAGES, Fla. - In The Villages, golf carts line the streets. They are used for more than recreation.
For some people, a golf cart is their main mode of transportation.
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Earlier this year, Barbara Hocking decided it was time to upgrade her cart and, she said, she was taken for a ride. "I mean, you feel like somebody just robbed you," she said.
Hocking said she was doing business with Billy Pasternak, with Custom Cart Creations.
She traded in her old cart and, according to a receipt she provided to News 6, she wrote a check to Pasternak for $1,750, to purchase a new cart.
Hocking said she ended up with nothing.
"I mean, you might as well let a crook in the front door and say, 'Hey, help yourself. Take it,'" she said.
The receipt is dated Jun. 13.
For several months after that, Pasternak gave multiple excuses for why the cart was not ready, according to Hocking.
So now I know I'm in trouble," she said. "Red flags all over the place."
Hocking said she contacted the police and sheriff's departments but was told that,because she and Pasternak had a contract, the issue was civil and not criminal, even though she has no cart and her money had not been returned. "I think he should be arrested," she said.
"At my age and stage in life, I don't have that kind of money to throw away."
News 6 investigator Louis Bolden spoke with Pasternak by phone. He did not deny Hocking's claims.
He initially said he would do an interview with News 6 but then stopped returning calls.
When News 6 showed up at his office, he quickly walked to his truck and drove off.
Hocking has filed a civil suit to try to recoup her money.
"When you're retired, nobody should have to go through something like this and take the brunt of it," she said.
She wants others to beware. "Don't go near the man," she said.
Pasternak was given multiple opportunities to respond and declined to comment.
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