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Owners of defunct restaurant ignore lawsuit

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SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — The owners of a Smithfield restaurant that abruptly closed its doors last year has declined to respond to a lawsuit filed by Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin.

Faial Restaurant & Lounge closed for good in July, leaving more than 1,000 customers with gift certificates they couldn’t redeem. Kilmartin decided to take the owners to court to try and help the customers recover their money.

According to court documents obtained by Eyewitness News, Jose and Emelia Faria disregarded the suit. Kilmartin’s office has now filed a motion to find the couple in default, saying “no answer has been filed on behalf of the Defendants.”

“We’re always hopeful that it doesn’t get to this point,” Martha Crippen of the AG’s office said Wednesday. “We want to try to resolve this without having to go to court because the civil process takes a long time and that isn’t good for the consumers.”

The court documents revealed the unclaimed gift certificates are collectively worth more than $152,000.

The next step in the process is for the AG’s office to prepare formal affidavits for every customer who filed a complaint.

“It is a huge undertaking but we want people to get what they paid for,” added Crippen.

Faria declined to comment on the matter.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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