Criminal charges filed against owner of M. Kaplan Interiors in Malvern, Chester County

MALVERN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) — Criminal charges have been filed against the owner of an interior design and furniture company on the Main Line.

This follows an investigation by Action News Troubleshooters led by our Nydia Han, who spoke to consumers and East Whiteland Township Police.

The troubleshooters began the investigation after several consumers contacted us about M. Kaplan Interiors, a couple with a storefront on Lancaster Avenue in Malvern, Chester County.

On Thursday, Matt Kaplan was charged with crimes, including theft by deception and fraudulent business practices, and had an arrest warrant issued for him.

“We had put money away. We saved. We were really excited to have a fresh new look,” said Kristen Kerr of West Chester, Pennsylvania.

In 2021, Kerr paid Matt and Margaret Kaplan of M. Kaplan Interiors more than $70,000 in checks and said the Kaplans would not accept credit card payments.

“That probably should have been our first red flag,” Kerr said.

Joan Johnson of Overbrook Farms in Philadelphia ordered a $6,000 bathroom vanity from M. Kaplan and says Kaplan won’t accept her credit card either.

“He just seemed overly eager to get paid. He rushed over to my house and I gave him a check for $6,000 for the vanity,” Johnson said.

Brenda Stank of Center City Philadelphia wrote checks for $81,000 to the Kaplans to renovate their entire condo.

“They basically delivered about 80 percent of what I paid for,” she said. “I’m short of $18,800 and a few odd dollars.”

The Kerrs say they’re missing barstools, artwork, and a few other pieces.

As for Joan Johnson, nine and a half months have passed and she still has no vanity.

But Matt Kaplan says he hasn’t done anything wrong and has a good track record of 14 years in the business with mostly returning customers. He blames the problems “solely a supply chain issue” and says he ordered items on time but can’t control what or when items are delivered by manufacturers.

He also says if you order things specially you can’t cancel them. “(It) puts us in a difficult situation,” he said.

But these consumers claim its shifting stories and lack of timely response and transparency are worrisome.

“I don’t want that to happen to anyone,” Kerr said.

Now we have good news. Johnson received a full refund.

And after troubleshooters got involved, and months after they signed a settlement agreement, Matt Kaplan finally personally handed Brenda Stank a $12,000 partial refund.

“I would have lost $12,000 if you guys weren’t involved,” Stank said.

“If you’re having any trouble, I want to tell all consumers to call or get online — Channel 6, Action News Troubleshooters,” Johnson said.

The criminal complaint filed Thursday is on behalf of Kerr and three other customers whose allegations are very similar.

The East Whiteland Township Police Detective wrote in the warrant: “Matthew Kaplan knew he could not honor the purchase agreements he had made with the four victims named above, but he took their money.”

Remember that it’s best to pay for large purchases with a credit card and not pay the full amount upfront.

Copyright © 2023 WPVI-TV. All rights reserved. Criminal charges filed against owner of M. Kaplan Interiors in Malvern, Chester County

Alley Einstein

Alley Einstein is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Alley Einstein joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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