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Local 10 News investigation leads to drafting of new bill

Proposed law comes after man with dementia sold $8,000 worth of beauty products

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Local 10 News investigation has grabbed the attention of state lawmakers in Tallahassee, who are now taking action.

State Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, said there's clearly something lacking in the law and is now drafting a bill that's being dubbed "Terry's Law."

Last November, Local 10 News investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier featured several stories on what happened to Terry Owens, 67, as he walked to get a slice of pizza.

Owens, who was once a professor and actuary, now suffers from advanced stages of dementia and prostate cancer and has no family.

Friends said Owens was lured into Luxury Beauty near the Galt Ocean Mile in Fort Lauderdale in October and sold $8,000 worth of beauty products.

Among the products were two bottles of 24-karat gold facial serum.

"Terry isn't capable of making decisions like that," Peter Harrington, Owen's friend, who has his power of attorney, told Local 10. "He is very vulnerable and will say yes to anything. He isn't even interested in shaving, never mind 8 grand in beauty products."

Ring said the story stuck with him.

"The business owner was taking advantage of this individual who needs protections," Ring said.

Under the proposed law, anyone who has been declared mentally incompetent by a doctor would have 72 hours to return merchandise worth $1,000 or more.

"Right now the bill is in drafting," Ring said. "We are going to work with the Judiciary Committee, and we'd like to see penalties for people who don't comply."

Since Owens' credit card has a $5,000 limit per purchase, friends said the $8,000 bill was divided so the transaction would go through.

The owner of Luxury Beauty, Nissim Buzaglo, refused to return Owens' money and kicked Weinsier out of his store.

"You are making me look bad," he told Weinsier in November.

Buzaglo did issue a full refund after several stories aired on Local 10 News.

"For him to not want to refund the money until your story, that's disturbing," Ring said. "There is clearly something lacking."

Luxury Beauty closed days after the Local 10 investigation aired.

Follow Jeff Weinsier on Twitter @jweinsier

Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10