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Why Are Steinways So Expensive in Orange County?
#2448164 08/06/15 09:19 AM
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This might be one reason!
Quote
A former controller of a Santa Ana piano company Saturday may be wishing he stuck to playing the piano instead of playing around with the books – he’s been sentenced in Santa Ana Superior Court to 18 years in state prison for embezzling at least $5.6 million from the business.

Prior to his sentencing, Russell Eugene Dunbar, 58, had been convicted on Oct. 21 of 17 counts of forgery, 17 counts of falsifying records and 16 counts grand theft — all felonies — along with sentencing enhancements for committing aggravated white collar crime over $500,000 and causing property damage over $2.5 million, said Roxi Fyad of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

The owners of long-established Fields Piano hired Dunbar, who they considered a friend, in 2001, Fyad said.

However, beginning in or around 2003, Dunbar opened a bank account using the fictitious business name Fields Piano Company, Fyad said.

Dunbar then began depositing into his own personal account checks for large amounts of money that he got from the business owners, according to Fyad.

Dunbar then wrote checks for smaller amounts from his personal account and deposited them into the Fields Piano Company account, using the bank receipts to construct altered receipts, Fyad said.

“He then falsely told the owners of Fields Piano that large amounts of money were put into their account even though the deposits were never made,” Fyad said.

“The business owners subsequently paid taxes on the income they thought they had received and were unaware of the losses.” The sentence was handed down Friday.

Dunbar stole at least $5.6 million, but maybe as much as $6.8 million from the company in the course of three years before leaving in late 2005 to invest in a mortgage company that failed in 2006, according to prosecutors.

The theft remained undetected until early 2010, when Dunbar sent a threatening letter to the owners claiming he was owed over $300,000 for real estate transactions,” Fyad said.

The owners then began looking into the transactions, discovered the losses and notified police, she said.


http://mynewsla.com/orange-county/2...year-sentence-for-embezzling-controller/


Gary
Re: Why Are Steinways So Expensive in Orange County?
Plowboy #2448208 08/06/15 11:22 AM
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Wow, that's a lot of money!

Who says there's no money to be made in the piano bizz... baring any crooked accountants. smile

Another story, though unrelated to pianos... several years ago my father-in-law sold some timber (trees) off his property. Several months later 2 GBI agents showed up at my FIL's house asking some questions about the transaction. Seems that the cruiser/agent that bought the timber from my FIL had skimmed hundreds of thousands of dollars from the timber company for himself and was under investigation.

Some crooks get by with their crimes, but most don't...

Rick



Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Why Are Steinways So Expensive in Orange County?
Plowboy #2448312 08/06/15 04:31 PM
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So was Fields Piano Company the sole Steinway dealer in Orange County, CA? How much did he mark his Steinways up by? 20%? If people thought that Steinways in Orange County were expensive, then why didn't they look elsewhere, perhaps the factory?

Re: Why Are Steinways So Expensive in Orange County?
iObsessed #2448326 08/06/15 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by iObsessed
If people thought that Steinways in Orange County were expensive, then why didn't they look elsewhere, perhaps the factory?


Greetings,
It doesn't work that way. The factory only sells to dealers. Dealers don't usually like to cross sales territory lines. I don't know if it is official policy, law, or whatever, but the several times an out of area Steinway dealer has sold a piano here, there was some sort of intermediary step to make it look like a pre-bought piano was just being moved here. I would imagine the dealers have some sort of agreement, all legal, of course, that keeps them from each others' throats.
Regards,

Re: Why Are Steinways So Expensive in Orange County?
Plowboy #2448328 08/06/15 05:15 PM
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An interesting story, but...

Steinways are expensive everywhere, and this kind of thing has nothing to do with it.



Amateur Pianist and raconteur.
Re: Why Are Steinways So Expensive in Orange County?
Plowboy #2448335 08/06/15 05:45 PM
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I have visited Fields Piano several times. Nice setup there. Tons of Steinways; they used to carry all sorts many years ago: Bechstein, Mason&Hamlin, Bosendorder, etc.


debussychopin.
Re: Why Are Steinways So Expensive in Orange County?
Plowboy #2448337 08/06/15 05:48 PM
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Crazy story. A bit crazier that the owners didn't notice it earlier.

Re: Why Are Steinways So Expensive in Orange County?
Plowboy #2448339 08/06/15 05:53 PM
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Steinway dropped Fields in favor of their own proprietary dealerships.

Re: Why Are Steinways So Expensive in Orange County?
Furtwangler #2448342 08/06/15 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Furtwangler
An interesting story, but...

Steinways are expensive everywhere, and this kind of thing has nothing to do with it.



Yeah, I was gonna say they are "expensive" there because they are "expensive" everywhere. I quote expensive because that's a matter of perspective.

5.6 million (or more) in three years is nearly 2 million a year! I don't know what kind of gross revenue a Steinway dealership generates, but that's a lot of money to vanish from any business. Someone should have been paying more attention. They're lucky he was so greedy, and thought they were stupid enough, to come back and try to get even more!

And to think they were paying taxes on income they didn't receive! Somebody should have been paying better attention to the books all along!

Last edited by Retsacnal; 08/06/15 06:16 PM. Reason: Typo


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Re: Why Are Steinways So Expensive in Orange County?
Plowboy #2448373 08/06/15 09:04 PM
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Steinway did not "drop Fields", as inaccurately stated above by "bleak".

Fields Pianos continues to be our authorized dealer in Orange County, CA.

They did close their Los Angeles location several years ago; we subsequently opened up our own corporately owned retail operation there.


Bob Snyder
Senior District Manager
Steinway & Sons

rsnyder@steinway.com
www.steinway.com
Re: Why Are Steinways So Expensive in Orange County?
Plowboy #2448537 08/07/15 01:44 PM
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hey Plowboy.......

That's where I bought my piano actually, right at the time they were clearing everything out. I was told that as a gallery, everything in there goes, then remodel the joint. You probably remember, they closed other locations and kept the OC store where they held an extended clear out sale. I came in months after that ended, yet good fortune landed on my head.

I'm pretty sure I told this story already...... I cut the check, promptly excused myself, went outside and messed myself. I went out back by the loading dock and sitting there was a brand new (no plates) Aston Martin. Let's just say the owner was probably not entirely dependent on piano sales. Sounds like this guy probably had a couple Aston's courtesy of Fields!

blob


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Re: Why Are Steinways So Expensive in Orange County?
Plowboy #2449290 08/10/15 12:19 PM
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Fields is OK. I purchased a piano from them, and not a Steinway, and when it needed some warranty work, the manager Steve took care of it right away with no problems.

I just thought the whole story was sad. here was a guy they obviously trusted and he burned them. Even had the nerve to demand more money!


Gary
Re: Why Are Steinways So Expensive in Orange County?
Plowboy #2449613 08/11/15 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Plowboy

I just thought the whole story was sad. here was a guy they obviously trusted and he burned them. Even had the nerve to demand more money!


In any business you need to be able to trust those around you. I would not want to be in a position where I felt I could not.

However, if there is only one set of hands handling the collection, processing, and deposit of revenue - there is a problem. That has nothing to do with pianos and everything to do with good business, IMHO.

I am sorry this happened. Thank you for sharing this.


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
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rich@cunninghampiano.com
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Re: Why Are Steinways So Expensive in Orange County?
Plowboy #2451971 08/18/15 11:26 PM
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About 28 years ago I purchased a Yamaha G2 when they sold those there.


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