Larry Washburn wigs out over charge he cheated a cancer survivor

10:05 PM, May 6, 2013   |    comments
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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (KSDK) - 5 on Your Side shines the light on a company that caters to cancer patients.

Mike Rush gets results for a survivor who believes the owner of the business is taking advantage of customers.

Call it a flurry of flying doors, four times during Mike Rush's brief encounter with Larry Washburn.

It took place in and around Washburn's business, Studio 66 in Edwardsville.

The salon is more than a place for waxes and perms, it services cancer patients.

Big, bold signs outside make sure you know it. Its paperwork even calls the place a "Full Cranial Prosthetic Center," key words insurance companies use when considering reimbursement for wigs.

Washburn seemed wigged out with Rush's visit over a sale Washburn made to Christy Fry, who's probably about as strong as Washburn appears evasive.

About three years ago, "I was diagnosed with rectal cancer," said Christy.

With support, along with chemo, radiation and surgery, Christy was hopeful she'd beat it. But last year, she found out the cancer had spread to her lungs.

"It's pretty devastating," said Christy.

So Christy had more prayers, more surgery, and more severe chemo.

She recalled, "If there was a side effect to get, I got it this time."

When Christy finished treatment in February, she decided to buy a new wig to celebrate. Her mother had seen the signs at Studio 66.

"My mom felt like this guy was helping cancer patients and if we were going to buy one why not give him the business," she said.

Christy bought a wig for $475. Even though she felt Washburn was giving her the hard sell to order one, pay nothing, and let him bill her insurance, she paid cash for the display and Washburn agreed to mail her receipt.

That night, she was surprised when she looked up comparable wigs online.

"And I couldn't find one that was even more than like $200," said Christy.

Christy says Washburn hung up on her when she called him about the apparent mark-up, and the drama dragged out over weeks when she says he refused to give her the promised receipt.

Without a receipt, Christy couldn't claim the wig with her insurance company if she chose or take a tax right-off for donating the wig she'd decided she no longer wanted.

She said, "I mean how dare you take advantage of people who are not in a good place. Yeah. So, sorry," she apologized after tearing up.

When 5 on Your Side's Mike Rush went to get Larry's side, Larry told Mike his lawyer will handle it.

Rush: "Okay, so you said it has to be through an attorney, yet you haven't provided an attorney for her to communicate with."

Larry: "No, I haven't. Because I'm not pressing it, she is."

Rush: "You have to provide her with a receipt, you know?"

Larry: "Yes, I did. She got a small receipt that day, but there's another receipt for the insurance company."

Rush: "Okay, she has not gotten any receipt from you."

Larry: "I'm done with this."

Rush: "No, I need answers about why she can't get her receipt. It seems like you're taking advantage of a cancer survivor."

Larry: "Hey, call the cops, Donny." (door slams)

The cops didn't come, but Larry's excuses sure kept coming as he continued to talk behind a closed door.

Larry: "You caught me off guard here. I got all the paperwork upstairs, you just walk in out of the blue like that."

Rush: "No, actually I called and you hung up on me."

Larry: "Uh, anyway."

Rush: "Remember when I called about 30 minutes ago?"

Larry: "I thought you were trying to sell me something."

Rush: "And you said that I was...."

Larry: "I'm not talking to you anymore."

Rush: "You thought channel 5 was trying to sell you something?"

Larry re-appeared and disappeared a few times before finally making his getaway. Mike followed him as Larry walked out of the shop and made his way to a car.

Rush: "Larry, where are you going?"

Larry: "Taking a ride, it's a beautiful day."

Rush: "Why, why are you leaving?"

Larry: "Because I don't want to talk to you anymore."

Rush: "Why won't you answer these questions? Why?"

Larry: "I'm done." (car door slams)

Not satisfied, Mike reported Larry to the Illinois Department of Revenue. Soon, Christy got a call from the agency, and so, apparently, did Larry.

Within days, Christy had her receipt. The Department of Revenue doesn't comment on investigations, but Christy believes the state is looking deeper into Larry Washburn's business dealings.

"He (Investigator from department of revenue) said that they were turning it over to their fraud division and that I might hear something from them in the next few weeks," said Christy.

"The bottom line is that I just don't want somebody else to be taken advantage of, said Christy. "Don't mess with cancer patients. I mean, you know, we've got enough stuff going on already.


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