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Here comes the fine

The owner of a shuttered Arizona bridal boutique who left hundreds of dress orders unfilled before briefly setting up a similar shop in downtown Medford will have to repay dozens of brides.

Erica Kristine Mote of Medford, known until earlier this year as Erica Miltenberger, will have to repay $90,000 to dozens of women who bought wedding dresses they never got from Pearl Bridal in Phoenix, Arizona, along $250,000 in civil penalties to the state, according to a news release issued earlier this week from the office of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and filings in Maricopa County, Arizona Superior Court.

The Arizona AG previously stated that the shop had accepted 286 dress orders worth roughly $277,000 unfilled before the wedding shop abruptly closed in the middle of May 2018. The state now believes only about $90,000 worth of dress orders went unfilled and unrefunded, according to the release.

Months after the Arizona bridal boutique’s abrupt closure, Miltenberger changed her last name to Mote and opened a wedding shop named XOXO Bridal Gallery in the 400 block of West Main Street. The short-lived Southern Oregon shop garnered waves of criticism in February after a group of Arizona brides caught wind of the new business.

Mobilized through the 386-member Facebook group “Victims of Pearl Bridal Phoenix,” dozens of Arizona women inundated the new business with one-star Google and Yelp reviews accompanied by stories of their dashed hopes and lost money.

By the second half of March, Mote’s store had vacated its high-visibility location in the New Medford Hotel building after at least one victim, Rachel Mann of Paradise Valley, Arizona, said she called the landlord of the Medford store location.

In March, signs outside the business stated XOXO Bridal Gallery was moving to a new location at a complex of office suites in the 300 block of South Central Avenue. The business now appears to be permanently closed, with no listings online, and the shop’s website is no longer active.

Business registry searches through the Oregon Secretary of State’s office show no other businesses in Mote’s name, no recent business under the name Erica Miltenberger or Mote’s husband, Tyson Miltenberger.

The Miltenbergers will be prohibited from operating any apparel-related business in the state of Arizona, according to terms of a consent judgment filed Wednesday in Maricopa County by the Arizona Attorney’s General’s office. As part of the judgment, the Miltenbergers also agreed to dispose of their remaining wedding dress inventory, according to the Arizona AG’s office.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

Lia Halt of Phoenix, Arizona wears the wedding dress she purchased in March 2018, but never received, at the shuttered Pearl Bridal in Arizona.{ }{ }That store's owner just opened XOXO Bridal in downtown Medford.Submitted photo.