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N4T Investigators: Former moving company customers awarded damages in six-year-old lawsuit still unpaid

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Another former customer of the now-defunct 3 Gorillas Moving and Storage Company tells the News 4 Tucson Investigators he has never been paid the damages awarded to him in a lawsuit from 2016. 

Dr. Ronald Berstein was awarded $1.7 million in damages after a jury found 3 Gorillas Moving and Storage and its owner, Troy Emerson liable for the destruction of his belongings after he hired them for a moving job. 

Dr. Bernstein is fully devoted to his Jewish faith and now goes by Yisrael, which he calls his second life.  

Six years have passed since the judgment and Dr. Bernstein said he has yet to receive a penny of the money. 

“Quite a big sum but didn’t even come close to the value, whether it was the historic value or sentimental value or even the cash value of the good that were missing,” he said. 

Dr. Bernstein said 3 Gorillas stole or damaged more than $2 million of his belongings. He was a successful and wealthy neurosurgeon before he hired the company. He says the company sold an expensive grand piano. He lost high-end art and exotic sports cars too.  

“Everything was gone,” Dr. Bernstein said. 

He said the whole ordeal and court case left him nearly penniless.  

Last month, the N4T Investigators spoke with Karen Barbera who also had a bad experience with 3 Gorillas. She was one of seven victims that were part of the Attorney General’s separate consumer fraud case against 3 Gorillas. A judge ruled in favor of the State and ordered the company to pay an $18,000 fine and around $17,000 to be split among the victims.  

Barbera was ordered to be paid $4,407, but she said she has never received any of the money. She said she feels the system and the AG’s office ultimately failed them.  

“There’s no teeth in the law if no one enforces it,” Barbera said. 

We reached out to the Attorney General’s Office who sent us the following statement: 

“Our office is actively trying to collect on this judgment. After our office obtains a judgment, we send a demand letter to the debtor to set up a payment schedule. Our office then searches for different ways to collect if the debtor is not cooperative. Some of the various avenues include garnishments and liens on assets. It’s important to note that nefarious individuals hide assets to make it more difficult to collect. For example, they may not put a home or a business in their name. Our office, however, remains steadfast in attempting collection efforts. Our record-breaking recovery numbers are a testament to this dedication. Since elected, Attorney General Brnovich’s administration has far surpassed prior administrations when it comes to collections. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to collect nearly $30 million. Here are some numbers I pulled from the last few years: 

2015 - $11,096,000 

2016 - $23,241,624 

2017 - $19,880,442 

2018 - $31,265,955 

2019 - $34,431,503 

2020 - $29,488,729 

When the N4T Investigators confronted Troy Emerson in 2016, he told us “anything a judge tells me to do, I’ll do” 

We have attempted to reach him for comment on this report and got no response. 

It’s still unclear if the other 6 victims from the AG’s case have received any money. 

As for Dr. Bernstein, he said he has moved on. 

“These are material things and there are more important things in life,” Bernstein said. 

If you have a story you’d like us to investigate email us at or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.  

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Chorus Nylander

Chorus Nylander is the Chief Investigative Reporter for News 4 Tucson. He is focused on giving the voiceless a voice and holding the powerful accountable.

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