In the days before a wedding it is one thing for the bride or groom to get cold feet. But it is certainly not supposed to beat owner of the venue who runs off. That's exactly what these engaged now... See More
In the days before a wedding it is one thing for the bride or groom to get cold feet. But it is certainly not supposed to beat owner of the venue who runs off. That's exactly what these engaged now enraged couples say happened to them. An investment in love leading to financial heartbreak. Here is ABC's gio Benitez. Where's our money? Angry couples protesting on the streets of New York this week. They're outraged and it comes days before their wedding day dreams are in ruins. Their vn enue closed for good the owner seemingly missing for weeks. These, two Abby and Ryan saved up for years after falling in love on new year's eve. Now engaged the couple picked a spot for the wedding. A popular happening venue in new York. Rebar. People love that place. 5% discount for all up front payments. Reporter: Abby and Ryan wrote that check, more than $13,000 and handed it to this man, Jason Stevens, rebar's owner. Months after giving Stevens the check. The shocker, rebar's front doors chained up. With the sign, closed and bankrupt. Thought it was a joke. I called her. I couldn't believe it. Reporter: But it was no joke. The couple says Stevens was nowhere to be found. Then just last week, Stevens turns himself in. But not for stiffing couples, prosecutors charged him with something completely unrelated. Criminal tax fraud and grand larceny. We knew he would be at a court appearance Thursday. So ABC news was there waiting. Mr. Stevens, hey, how are you? He and his lawyer weren't talking. No comment now. We want to talk about all the couples left scrambling for a new wedding venue, are you going to give them their money back? Reporter: With Stephens inside court pleading not guilty. We want justice. Reporter: We found angry couples outside with the amounts they say they lost. $34,000. All at one shot? Yeah. He took it less than a month before he goes to court. When Stevens walked out. Fireworks. You took over $800,000 from 160 couples. The week of the closing, were there any red flags? I needed to get into a room. The lock had been changed. These event planners, employees at rebar, now out of a job, and speaking with "Nightline." Even though this place was closing on Friday, he wasn't coming to you and saying, don't take any more checks? Nope. Thursday night. My couple for Sunday evening. Gave me their final paycheck. I went and gave it off to the bookkeeper. Jason at rebar, now gone. We are at least doing what we can to salvage what we can. Couples were contacting me asking me for help and asking me questions. Reporter: You are helping them for free? Yeah. Reporter: You don't have a job? This is true the we feel a moral obligation. Reporter: Meanwhile the new York attorney general is investigating the wedding complaints. Remember that sign, claiming rebar was bankrupt. Well it turns out, Stevens has not filed any bankruptcy papers. Amazingly, these, use happen all the time. And it is why some insurance companies help you insure your wedding plans. For example, a $250 premium will ensure a $25,000 wedding. Abby and Ryan didn't have that insurance. But still have love and hope. He doesn't get to steal our day. You are getting married anyway. We are, we just don't know where. Reporter: For "Nightline," gio Benitez in New York.
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