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N4T Investigators: Hollow Victory?

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TUCSON (KVOA) - A major development has been made in a story the News 4 Tucson Investigators first reported in 2018.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office announced satellite television installer, Donnie Diaz is headed behind bars.

Diaz deceived a handful of Southern Arizonans out of tens of thousands of dollars. The Arizona Attorney General's office said Diaz is going to jail, but his victims said he is not going for long enough.

 "He was just conning everybody," Sylvia Sherry, one of Diaz's victims said.

"Ninety days in jail is nothing," Veronica Todd, one of Diaz's victims said.

Sherry and Todd said Diaz took their cash and disappeared.

"I think he's sorry he got caught," Sherry said.

"Am I happy that it's over? Yes. Do I still think we got ripped off? Yes," Todd said.

As the News 4 Tucson Investigators originally reported in 2019, Todd and Sherry are just two of the 12 Arizonans whom the Arizona Attorney General's Office said Diaz defrauded. He took tens of thousands of dollars for audio and video equipment he never delivered.

In June, Diaz plead guilty to theft and fraud. He accepted a plea deal which mandates he serves 5 years of probation and 90 days in Pima County jail as well as pay a $1,000 fine to the Anti-Racketeering Revolving fund.

"He's probably laughing at the sentencing," Todd said.

Diaz also must pay back his victims a total of $31,778.68, something they say they've been waiting on for a long time. Both women say they spent years trying to bring Diaz to justice. They even brought civil lawsuits against him and winning, but were still left empty-handed.

"It took me over two years and everything I had to do, you know serve them the papers, and get my court costs and everything," Sherry said.

Sherry said she met Diaz when he was installing the Dish Network at her home. He promised her a deal on a television and soundbar. Sherry paid Diaz nearly $2,300 but got nothing in return. Instead, Dish Network sent her a check covering what she paid Diaz plus court costs.

Todd said she and her husband paid Diaz $9,000 for six televisions and a home theater system. At the time, Diaz was a third-party subcontractor for DirecTV. The Todd's said after months of hounding Diaz, he only delivered three of the six televisions they paid for. They took Diaz to court and were awarded $5,981 but Diaz never paid.

Thanks to the plea agreement, Diaz will finally have to pay them back before his sentencing. The Todd's said it won't be enough.

 "We took money out of retirement so we had to pay taxes, penalties for withdrawing twice," Todd said. "The first time to hire him and then the second time to hire somebody else to get it done."

Now the Todd's are on the hook to pay the IRS back for penalties.

 "So no, I don't feel like what has happened in any way shape or form has repaid all the stuff that we've endured over the years," Todd said.

Both women said they are thankful and glad that the attorney general pursued this case.

Diaz is expected to pay all of his victims back in the upcoming weeks. 

Alexis Berdine

Alexis Berdine is an Investigative Multi-Media Journalist at KVOA.

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