BUSINESS

Local business accused of scamming soldiers in uniform trade

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(WJLA) - The dirt of Broadfoot Field at Fort Meade is a far cry from the sand on a Middle East tour of duty.

Sergeant First Class Lyttleton Yates and his fellow soldiers blow off steam on this diamond, but recently, they battled an unexpected opponent: the company that slighted them in a trade for uniforms.

"They definitely messed with the wrong guys," says Yates.

Anne Arundel County company, “Sports55,” was supposed to help the team trade their fatigues for uniforms – but after Yates’ team paid $800 upfront, they got the runaround for months about the gear that never came.

"It's sickening to think they're going to take advantage of people that protect them, day in and day out," says Yates.

And they’re not the only ones. We dug up more than 300 complaints for Sports55 between the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Maryland Attorney General. Little Leaguers and adult players across the country say they either didn’t get what they paid for or they got their money back.

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler has filed suit against Sports55 and its owners, Kelly Burke and John Eberl.

"The problem with this company is that they haven't refunded one cent to the many, many people that they've deprived of the product that they bought," he says.

Customers owed money by Sports55 will have to get in line, as court records show John Eberl has already filed for bankruptcy with more than $1 million in debt – including more than $100,000 in unpaid rent for this shop.

That shop, which used to feature the company logo, is now gone – along with the owner’s debt, which was discharged last week in a case that documents thousands owed to uniform and hat suppliers, screen printers, and even credit card processors.

So where did their customers’ money go?

We went to find out at both owners’ homes, yet got no answer. But Sports55 customers have plenty to say about action finally being taken.

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