Southeast Missouri Con Artist Back in Business With New Online Venture, BBB Warns

  
     
April 20, 2017

Jody WilliamsSt. Louis, Mo., April 21, 2017 – Jody Williams, a Jackson, Mo., man whose online businesses came under Better Business Bureau (BBB) scrutiny in 2015 after some consumers told BBB they never received merchandise ordered from the sites, has created a new site, discountcigarettemall.com, which offers a variety of items from clothing to electronics to cigarettes.

BBB advises extreme caution when dealing with Williams, who told BBB he is in the process of legally changing his name to Boris Casio Escobar. Williams’ former sites – Cigar Lovers Paradise, Apple Refurbishing, Microsoft Refurbishing and Sparked Fashion – have an “F” rating with BBB, the lowest possible. His new business is not registered with the Missouri Secretary of State.

Williams said those earlier businesses were his first attempts at e-commerce and that consumers can now be confident when buying from him.

“There is nothing suspicious or negative going on here,” Williams said in an interview with BBB.

Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said consumers should consider steering clear of Williams’ new business despite his assurances.

“Mr. Williams’ track record of not delivering to consumers shouldn’t be ignored,” Corey said. “Unless he satisfies his previous customers, shoppers in the market for merchandise listed on his site should think of buying from another seller.”

Williams registered discountcigarettemall.com on April 3. The registration information lists Williams’ address in Jackson as the business headquarters.

The website’s address is nearly identical to that of a United Kingdom-based business which sells discount cigarettes. A logo on Williams’ site also looks similar to the one used on the United Kingdom site. BBB could not find any affiliation between the websites.

Williams said he is working with drop shipping companies to acquire products advertised on discountcigarettemall.com. Delivery times could vary greatly, he said, with turnarounds that could take up to two weeks in some instances. As of April 7, Williams said he had made just one sale. He told BBB he is the company’s only employee but plans to hire addition help in the near future.

He told BBB he is promoting the site through Facebook and by other “direct marketing” avenues. He also has promoted a Facebook page called discountcigarettemall.com that was established on April 3. The discountcigarettemall.com site has a rewards program and claims anyone who spends at least $75 will receive a $10 gift card to a well-known national retailer.

Williams posted on Facebook that he will donate five percent of all sales to the American Red Cross. Williams told BBB he has spoken with officials with the St. Louis area Red Cross and was in the process of getting the approval to put Red Cross branding on his website. Officials with the Eastern Missouri Region of the Red Cross told BBB they spoke with Williams but denied his request to use their logo.

In addition to promoting his new business, Williams offers his Facebook followers the chance to buy pornographic videos of him. On April 9, Williams wrote on Facebook he is “going to start building my own porn website. I believe it will be a good next business ventures (sic).”

Williams describes himself in his Facebook biography as a “marketing and business development guru.” His Facebook posts are made under the name Boris Casio Escobar. Williams told BBB he has a June court date in Cape Girardeau County that will finalize his name change.

Williams is currently serving five years’ supervised probation on a 2015 felony conviction for passing bad checks from St. Louis County. He was sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation in January 2017 for a misdemeanor passing bad check conviction in Cole County. Williams is free on bond in connection with a 2016 felony tampering with a motor vehicle case in Scott County. He was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing in that case on April 18.

The BBB found Williams set up a shop called “Lease ville” on spreesy.com in March 2017. The site offered just one product, an iPhone 6s plus, available for lease. An official with spreesy.com told BBB that Williams’ site had not made any sales.

BBB warned consumers about Williams twice in 2015. In a May warning, consumers told BBB they ordered cigars or refurbished smartphones from sites Williams operated, but got nothing. Another warning about Williams was issued in June when he launched two new sites.

It appears Williams has used several other aliases, including SR Jody Williams, Jostence O., Jostence Olof, Sally Benidict and Shelly Husun.

BBB offers the following tips when buying merchandise online:

  • Research any business and its owners carefully before paying any money. Check the company’s BBB Business Profile at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.
  • Ask for references and contact them.
  • Try to determine whether the business has an actual office, and try to speak with someone there before ordering merchandise.
  • Read all terms and conditions carefully before completing a purchase. Make sure to read and understand all warranty information and refund policies. Know your options in case you receive an item that was not advertised.
  • Pay with a credit card in case you need to challenge the purchase later.
  • Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its URL (web address) should start with “https://.” You may also see a picture of a small closed lock in the lower right hand corner of the screen.

For more on recent BBB investigations:

 

St. Louis Area Media Contacts: Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, (314) 584-6743 or (314) 681-4719 (cell), cthetford@stlouisbbb.org

Shellie Kreter, PR & Communications Manager, (314) 584-6723 or (314) 348-5451 (cell), skreter@stlouisbbb.org

Don O’Brien, Investigator, (314) 584-6785, dobrien@stlouisbbb.org

Columbia media contact: Sean Spence, Columbia Regional Director, (573) 886-8965, sspence@midmobbb.org

Cape Girardeau media contact: Joey Keys, Cape Girardeau Regional Director, (573) 803-3191, jkeys@capegirardeaubbb.org

Quincy media contact: Mara Clingingsmith, BBB Quincy Regional Director, (217) 209-3972 or (217) 242-6272 (cell), mclingingsmith@quincybbb.org

About BBB

BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information.