Beware: The Scam Is Back

Local businesses are being warned that a company is contacting mountain
merchants to sell advertising on items they claim are authorized by Frazier
Mountain High School. ?This is not true,? said FMHS principal Dan Penner Monday,
Jan. 8. Sports Promotion Network (SPN) has contacted at least ten business
owners asking them to support high school athletic programs.

SPN operates under B&E Industries of Arlington, Texas, an internet search

Preying upon businesses in rural communities by asking them to support local
high school athletes appears to be a persistent business model.

Last spring a Chicago-based telemarketing group calling itself Liberty
Publishing tried to bill area merchants for tens of thousands of dollars.

The attorney general of Indiana is suing Liberty, but the SPN pitch appears
to be nearly identical.

SPN?s website states: ?Through our agreements with more than 5,000 high
schools across America, SPN produces and distributes millions of customized
spirit items that are sponsored by more than 50,000 businesses who proudly
support the schools and communities they serve. The items are provided to the
schools at no cost and are distributed by cheerleaders, booster clubs, and team
members at high school sporting events such as football and basketball games as
fan appreciation and event attendance incentives.?

That is lofty advertising copy, but its claim to have an arrangement with
Frazier Mountain High School is false.

?We have not authorized this,? Penner said, contacting The Mountain
Enterprise to help alert merchants. Athletic Director Rob Roy said local
merchants have sent money to the company, thinking the school would benefit.

A fraud alert for similar misrepresentations to Arcata, California merchants
was found in an internet search. North Coast Journal wrote about SPN
telemarketers asking businesses to buy products to help support Arcata High
School athletics, ?the ony problem is, someone forgot to tell the school,? they

The scam by Liberty Publishing in 2006 was selling sponsorships in a
?football schedule poster? which it claimed was authorized by the high school.
It was not. FMHS varsity football coach J.D. Burnett and his wife, designer Jody
Burnett, produce an annual poster themselves to help purchase team uniforms and

The Mountain Enterprise sat in on a telephone conversation between Frazier
Park business owner Laura Olney and Liberty Publishing?s sales representative,
to hear Liberty?s saleswoman state she was selling the posters through the high
school?s athletic department.

The Indiana Attorney General?s office is still investigating Liberty?s
football poster scam. Olney?s business, Traffic Zone, continues to receive bills
from Liberty for an ad she cancelled.

?Beware of telephone solicitations from people you don?t know personally,? is
the advice from the Better Business Bureau.

Anyone with questions about the authenticity of a promotion to benefit high
school students can call Principal Dan Penner at (661) 248-0310.

?Reported by Patric Hedlund and Gary Meyer

This is part of the January 12, 2007 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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