Special Report - Dangerous Deals
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Daniel Lockett is now facing 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct. The Kalamazoo masseuse sold massages at Unity Integrated Wellness all over the internet including on Groupon.
Lockett has a valid masseuse license but police say some of his massages were anything but legit.
“She was having a massage when Lockett started with the left leg and began to massage her thighs up and down with both hands on either side of her leg moving up and down to the point where Lockett’s hands touched her pubic hair and labia. This happened approximately 20 times,” explained an officer during Lockett’s probable cause hearing in a Kalamazoo County court.
The Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office says 20 new potential victims have come forward.
The Newschannel3 I-Team has found Lockett's online ad is still running on Groupon, weeks after Lockett was charged.
The Groupon site also shows Lockett has an 83-percent rating with four pages of comments. Those comments are something you should be leery of says Sheriff Rick Fuller.
“I ask people to take these things with a grain of salt,” says Sheriff Fuller. “Take some of these things as they could not be a real source,” referring to other online sites.
Fuller says some sites purport to be a vetting site but actually aren't.
“It’s really difficult now because there are so many things and so many resources out there that may not be fully vetted as it was in the past,” says Fuller.
The I-team has found headlines from across the country with the same allegations as the case in West Michigan.
So how does Groupon vet the people it advertises? The I-Team put Groupon to the test.
Using the website, we registered “Walter's Massage Therapy” at 590 West Maple Street, the address to Newschannel3.
Within minutes, we had a Groupon merchant agreement in our hands. The questionnaire didn't even ask us for a valid massage license.
But just two hours later, we received a voicemail from a Groupon salesman. We also received an e-mail, saying Groupon wanted to tailor the best ad for us.
The I-team called back, explaining our investigation, inquiring how masseuses are vetted. The Groupon salesman never returned our phone call.
Sheriff Fuller says he can't comment on Groupon's business model but says in the age of the internet, take extra precaution.
“In the past, people might refer to the Better Business Bureau or a downtown chamber or organizations the professional says they belong to,” says Fuller. “There's a lot of sites that purport to be a vetting source and they are not.”
Our investigation also finds Lockett did not have a criminal record before he was charged with criminal sexual conduct. However, we are told he was fired from another massage therapy business for similar accusations.