INSIDE EDITION Investigates Horse Selling Scam
Marisa Kalayjian loves horses. The teen has been competing in horse shows since she was a little girl. She even saved up her own money to buy one.
"I had saved up my allowance money from my grandpa and my parents for about three years," said Marisa.
Marisa and her mom thought they had found the perfect animal when they saw an ad online, placed by Trina Kenney. The ad described the horse as "bombproof," a term that means very docile, perfect for teens. The horse was named Red Mare.
But something very strange happened when Red Mare was delivered. For one thing, it was the dead of night. Marisa didn't get a good look until the next morning.
INSIDE EDITION's Lisa Guerrero asked Marisa, "When you met Red Mare, what did you do?"
"I started crying," said Marisa.
Red Mare was in such bad shape, she couldn't walk on her back legs. And worse yet, she was totally wild. Marisa's mom, Jona, says her daughter could have been killed had Marisa attempted to ride him.
Turns out, Trina Kenney had told Jona that her own daughter had been riding the gentle horse for a full year. But a sales record obtained by INSIDE EDITION shows Kenney had bought Red Mare for $400 at auction a mere three weeks earlier.
"As a mother I don't see how she could not have remorse or guilt for that, for what she's done," said Jona Kalayjian.
Suzanne Bond also bought a horse from Trina Kenney. She paid $5,000 for a horse named King Arthur, which was supposed to be calm and rideable for her young daughter. Once again, the horse was delivered in the dark of night.
"In the light of day, I see an emaciated animal. His ribs are completely protruding," said Bond.
King Arthur was 500 pounds underweight and had been horribly abused.
"He had been tied up and from his yanking he cut his own throat," said Bond. She says the horse had an inch deep gash around his entire head.
She discovered King Arthur is also a Thoroughbred, a breed known for its high-strung ways, which would not have been safe for her daughter.
"I couldn't take a horse that was a track horse and put my 8-year-old daughter on its back," said Bond.
The U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles, Joe Akrotirianakis, says Trina Kenney made $200,000 selling horses like Red Mare and King Arthur to nearly 100 people around the country. In one scheme, Kenney took sickly brown horses and painted them black to make them look like an expensive breed known as the Fresian.
Trina Kenney was eventually arrested and convicted for fraud.
An INSIDE EDITION producer caught Kenney with her as she drove to federal prison to begin serving three years behind bars.
"I did not do these things," said Kenney.