Delaware furniture store target of fraud probe

WILMINGTON, Del. - September 6, 2013

Mike Wharton faces more than 20 counts of consumer fraud and is fined more than 100,000.

"He kept saying, 'Get out if my store, get out of my store,''' said Janice Robinson.

64-year-old Robinson recounted the scary moments inside the Amish Mill in June when she arrived looking for a rocking chair she had ordered weeks before.

She tried to leave, when she said Wharton, the store owner, locked her inside.

"When I turned around, he locked the door, he said, 'You're not going anywhere, the police are coming they'll put a lot of charges against you,'" said Robinson.

Robinson joins more than a dozen other customers of the Amish Mill who are now listed in a civil administrative complaint against the Wilmington store, a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General's Office for consumer fraud.

The office cites a pattern by Wharton, noting two criminal cases pending against him and one where he allegedly got physical.

A lengthy cease and desist letter also orders Wharton to stop charging consumers $5.95 for each phone call inquiring about belated orders, plus storage and restocking fees.

It also orders him to pay $115,000 in fines for the more than 20 consumer fraud charges.

When asked about the long list of allegations, the store owner denied them.

"Not at all, we're not that type of people," said Wharton.

He says that he has thousands of happy customers who continue to come back to him.

The Better Business Bureau says they have tried before to work with the Amish Mill to no avail.

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