CLEVELAND — Problems are piling up for the owner of a local estate sales company after a News 5 Investigation into claims she stole money from clients. Jessica Galayda is the owner of Cleveland Estate Liquidators and has been indicted on 6 felony charges all related to her business.
The cases stem from several women we interviewed during our initial hidden camera investigation into Galayda. But there are even more people stepping forward since our reporting who say she took their money, too.
FORMER CLIENT LEFT IN TEARS
It’s been a very difficult time for Tina Senft from Painesville Township.
“It was really just emotional,” said Senft about her mother. “My mom passed away from cancer,” she told us after taking care of her mother for a year. Then, her dad caught COVID. He died just a month later. “Going through the loss of both parents… my family… my siblings were all suffering from this,” she told us in an emotional interview.
Senft hired Galayda to help sell items from her mom’s former three-bedroom home, which she said was filled with furniture, appliances, collectibles and more. After the sale, Senft couldn’t believe the check she got from Galayda.
“What price range should you have gotten?” we asked Senft.
“I would say a couple thousand at least,” she answered.
“On a conservative note?” we asked.
“Yes,” she said.
“And what did you get?”
“$150,” Senft told us.
WITNESS SAYS SHE BOUGHT $180 WORTH OF ITEMS
She and Marilyn Angel said so many things were gone from the home. Angel told us she bought items at the sale that Galayda only accepted cash for.
“I paid her $180 and got no receipt, she never wrote down what I purchased and put the money in her pocket,” said Angel.
Senft saw our investigation and said she had to come forward.
“At least I know I’m not alone,” she said, wiping away tears.
LOCAL SISTERS SAY GALAYDA STOLE FROM THEM, TOO
“It’s already emotional because you lose a loved one. That’s usually why you have these,” said Nancy Sevastakis while tearing up. She and her sister Terri Stone watched our reporting, too. “She goes, 'You’re not going to believe this — this story is on News 5 right now,' and she sent me the link,” said Sevastakis.
They had hired Galayda to help with their aunt’s estate sale, but in the end, it was not good news.
“Several pieces were missing,” said Sevastakis.
“Shoes, Vera Bradley purses. All gone. Not accounted for,” said Stone.
They kept track of the missing items that they say Galayda never had an answer for, including things their aunt’s neighbor purchased.
“She bought tools. She bought a ladder. She bought a patio set. She bought a living room chair. She bought a plant. Those are not on the list… none of these are on Jessica’s inventory of what she sold,” the women told us.
They filed a police report against Galayda and may file a civil suit.
“What do you hope happens with Jessica?” we asked.
“I hope she can never do another sale again and take advantage of people,” said Sevastakis.
“And I hope she goes to jail,” said Stone.
CLAIMS OF NO MONEY BUT CASH SEEN ON CAMERA
News 5 obtained a report that Galayda filed with the courts on October 17 of this year. She claimed she’s indigent and made no money in the previous 26 weeks. One of the problems with that is, within that same timeframe, our hidden cameras caught Galayda collecting money from customers during estate sales, including our undercover producer.
“I guess I’ll do this one for $10, if that’s alright with you?” said our producer at the time inquiring about a handcart.
“All righty…thank you,” Galayda said as she took the money.
As for Senft, she’s spoken with the Lake County Sheriff’s Department about Galayda and is looking for an attorney for a possible civil case. “I hope that (Galayda) loses all of her businesses and hopefully serves time,” said Senft. “It just upsets me that someone would do this to anyone.”
Galayda is scheduled to be in court on December 29 for her arraignment in Cuyahoga County court. She maintains her innocence.
Some former clients told us she’s an outright thief.