My name is S.A. Barket. I got to know Shafik Hirji, who runs several Furniture Fashions stores in the Las Vegas area, over the past year. We got to talking about the business climate in general and specifically discussed his stores. After a while, it became apparent to me that this Furniture Fashions business might be something good to invest in and seize what I saw was an opportunity to help the business grow and profit from that.
I raised $1.4 million for Furniture Fashions in Las Vegas, and we began working on opening up another store, which Shafik and I would be equal partners in owning. Now, I knew Shafik had some skeletons in the closet when it came to businesses, so I was a little wary; however, he seemed trustworthy enough, and was always gracious, polite and responsive.
He often texted me “good morning” — almost every day — and did the same almost every evening, texting me, “good night.”
We talked by the phone often, met often, and all was well.
But after having just raised $1.4 million to try to grow the business, a curious thing happened. An interest check for $4,000 due to another investor bounced. I was almost going to let that go, but something was gnawing at me, and I wanted to find out what had caused the most recent million-dollar investment to disappear and why he couldn’t even cover a $4,000 check. I felt as a businessman, it was prudent to see what was going on with the money. There was an initial investment of approximately $400,000, which was followed up with another investment of $1 million. I wanted to know what had happened to that last $1 million.
That’s when this all began. I asked Shafik to see the checking account where the $1 million had been deposited. Makes sense, right?
When I asked for an accountability of all that money, Shafik went ballistic. He stopped texting me, he stopped taking or returning my calls. He acted like it was a personal affront for me to ask what had happened to the million dollars. He wouldn’t show me the money or show me where it went.
The next contact I had with Shafik Hirji was through his lawyer, Harry P. Marquis.
So I started doing my own digging and found a wealth of information on Shafik’s past with Purrfect Auto Service as well as USA Auto Service — two other businesses Shafik started and was the straw owner of, in my opinion, based on the fact that he had checking account statements from Bank of America, called the shots at the businesses, and personally took me to the stores. He certainly had access to the bank accounts of both entities, as he provided several months bank statements from Bank of America related to the two businesses, Purrfect Auto Service and USA Auto Service, demonstrating an intimacy with the accounts that a normal person would not have. He provided them to show me cash flow — revenue coming into the bank from the two businesses as well as outgoing expenditures. Family members names, who I will not identify, yet, were on the accounts.
Remember, Shafik Hirji was issued a permanent injunction and a judgment (approx. $300,000 and accruing interest still in effect) by the state of Nevada due to his underhanded dealings in the automotive business. The check above is proof positive of that. Below is an excerpt of that permanent injunction. It’s very clear that Shafik Hirji is once again playing the part of a straw business owner in the automotive industry, and by not disclosing this, is clearly violating the findings and the order handed down by the attorney general’s office in the state of Nevada.
What I have found on Shafik Hirji is what you see populating this website. His tattered history with both Purrfect Auto and USA Auto is well documented, both in news reports and in public court records. I also found an arrest related to mortgage fraud, and I also found a history of federal tax liens that he had been hit with. Additionally, there are questions surrounding his occupancy (ownership, lease agreements?) of several properties that I’ve detailed in other blog posts.
All this negative information stacks up to cause me significant concern over a man and a business I had just helped raise more than a million dollars for — a significant amount of it being my own money. I guess the old Latin term, “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware) really applies when it comes to Shafik Hirji.
There will be much more digging, and much more to come as I unearth more related to the “Shafik Mystique” as I call it.
Also, consider this: One of the ways Shafik and I were going to leverage the brand and increase profits from this furniture business was to open that other store that I mentioned earlier. However, when I asked for accountability for the money, which was a couple weeks ago, suddenly I found yet another entity opened up by Shafik — Furniture Boutique LLC. See below for the records of the two stores — Sunset Furniture Inc, which is the joint expansion store that Shafik and I agreed to open (record dated Jan. 17, 2017) and Furniture Boutique LLC, which was opened just recently on March 10, 2017.
If you were me, wouldn’t that cause a little suspicion? Would you perhaps be worried that your money was being funneled into another store/business that you knew nothing about? I know the red flags certainly went up when I learned that.
Much, much more to come.