An award-winning investigative reporter at Denver, Colorado’s KDVR-TV has left her job after receiving death threats over a story she covered in 2015.
Mediaite said Friday that Heidi Hemmat was KDVR’s consumer and business fraud reporter until she received credible and terrifying death threats from a business owner who was the subject of a winter 2015 story.
In an open letter titled “Why I left KDVR and TV news” published Thursday on her personal blog, Hemmat explained that threats from AAAA TV Electronics Repair and Vacuum owner Muhammed Murib drove her out of her job.
“Shortly after he learned about the charges against him, that were a direct result of me, I got a call from his psychiatrist. She told me he was ‘homicidal’ and was planning to kill me. The psychiatrist thought the threat was so credible, she broke HPPA laws (the laws that protect medical records of psychos, such as the theater shooter–James Holmes) to warn me,” wrote Hemmat.
In February of 2015, Hemmat and the investigative team at KDVR received reports that AAAA TV Electronics Repair and Vacuum was cheating customers by charging them for unnecessary parts and repairs and holding the items hostage if the owners refused to cough up the inflated repair fees.
The investigative team was in the midst of an undercover operation when Hemmat received a tip that Murib had disposed of hundreds of receipts with customers’ private information in a dumpster behind the store. The reporter jumped into the dumpster and found that, sure enough, hundreds of consumers’ credit card numbers and other vulnerable information were there waiting to be stolen and exploited.
Murib confronted her and said he would call the sheriff on Hemmat.
“You probably should,” she replied. “They asked you not to throw these receipts away.”
After the confrontation, Murib engaged in a campaign of harassment and threats, but it was in July of 2015 that Murib’s counselor contacted Hemmat and warned her that the disgruntled shop owner was planning to murder her.
Read it all and read Hemmat’s post: “Why I left KDVR and TV news”.