Leslie Lara figures Tio Sam Taxes, owned by local Republican bigwig wannabe Erik Ketelaar, owes her about $1,267, the combined amount of her federal tax refunds for 2012 and 2013.
The company, which at one time had six locations in Phoenix and Mesa, heavily marketed its services to Hispanics, advertising on Univision and employing homeless people to dress as "Tio Sam" (Spanish for "Uncle Sam") and twirl signs on street corners.
Bilingual fliers for the business promised: "No charge until you receive your refund," which sounded good to Lara.
"They said they would take their fee when they received a check," she told me recently.
She showed me a copy of her 2013 tax return, which directed that her refund check be sent to a Tio Sam's location near 36th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix.