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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — If someone owes you money you can take them to small claims court. But what if that person can’t be found? That’s what one family was dealing with, until they watched WWAY and learned the person they were looking for was just arrested for insurance fraud.

April Bradshaw contacted us with a common complaint: her boss owes her money. She worked for Stephanie Holanek at Hidden Treasure Consignments in Wilmington. Bradshaw claims Holanek went out of town and left her to run the store

“I finally left a message with her husband stating I wasn’t trying to be ugly, but this is business, this has been going on almost four weeks, I need a paycheck, and until I can get a paycheck, I’m not coming back,” Bradshaw said.

The Department of Labor investigated and ruled in Bradshaw’s favor, but her only option was to go to small claims court to get her $933.

Her court date came, but the magistrate told her sheriff’s deputies could not find Holanek at her business or her home.

“What do we do?” April’s mother Barbara Cavanaugh said. “He said, ‘I suggest you become a good detective and see if you can find a good address for her, and when you can find a good address for her, come back and pay another $30, and we’ll try to serve her.'”

That was that, until Bradshaw and her mother saw our news story about Holanek being charged with insurance fraud and obtaining property by false pretense.

“It was really frustrating for us to be told to be good detectives and for us to find her and then here she is on the news being arrested,” Cavanaugh said.

We went to Holanek’s home. No one answered the door.

You won’t find Holanek at Hidden Treasure Consignments. The store is closed, and there’s a commercial real estate sign in the window.

But Bradshaw and her mother know where Holanek will be November 10. That’s when she’s due to appear in New Hanover County Court for those insurance fraud charges. Bradshaw will have go to back to the courthouse and pay $45 to reinstate the summons and have deputies serve Holanek with it.

“I’m sure we won’t ever see the money, but it’s the principal of the thing,” Cavanaugh said.

As for how Holanek was found in the first place, she was arrested at the courthouse. The state Insurance Commissioner’s office says it appears she turned herself in.

The $126 Bradshaw has spent so far at small claims court can be added to the $933 she’s owed.

We’ll keep you updated on the story.

Comment on this Story

  • not getting the dough

    Small Claims Court a great thing if your defendant will actually pay. All they do is tack a notice to the person’s credit report. There is no wage garnishment or real satisfying outcome. I have been dealing with a landlord issue for over a year now. The loser has not paid anything & while the amount he owes us gets interest added, I feel I’ll never see any of it. Oh & let’s top this off with him counter suing us for light-bulbs. What a joke!

    She will have to re-serve the woman about every 90 days but will probably never see her money.

  • KD123

    I also worked at Hidden Treasures over the summer. Stephanie fired me, “left town”, and did not pay me for my last two weeks of work. I didn’t file a claim because I didn’t think it would be worth it. I am glad that justice is being served! She also tried to get me to move into her “guest home” in return for working at her store. I am so glad I didn’t make that mistake. Serves her right!

  • Donald Hollingsworth

    I served on the jury for Stephanie Holanek’s trial during the week of 03March2014 – 07March2014. We found her guilty on all 6 counts.

    She must pay restitution of over $26000 to State Farm Insurance and 4 to 5 months in prison.


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