Burton business gets unexpected invoice in the mail

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BURTON (WJRT) - (11/08/16) - Burton business people are taking another look at their bills after an invoice was sent for an ad on a Bentley High School sports poster. The poster was never authorized.

School officials hope no one else was targeted by the scheme.

Steve Welch, owner of Bentley Florist, is a proud supporter of Bentley Community Schools, but doesn't remember placing an order recently for an ad to support the school. The bill is for $149.

There's a good reason he doesn't remember - he never placed it.

"I had a bill in the mail, an invoice for advertising for a sports calendar at Bentley High School. I never agreed. I never talked to anybody about it," Welch said.

The bill came from Sports Media in Maryland.

"I called, left a message. Never got a return call," Welch said.

Suspicious, he called Bentley High School about the bill and asked if there were plans for a sports poster. School officials said there were not.

"It became evident that this was not on the up-and-up and it was going to damage the school if left undetected," said Christoper Arrington, the Bentley Community Schools superintendent.

Arrington sent an email to the Burton Chamber of Commerce, alerting them to the suspicious invoice. Sports Media, the organization that sent the bill has an F rating from the Maryland Better Business Bureau.

Bentley Schools believe the bills are sent to random businesses in the hopes that they will be paid by unsuspecting bookkeepers.

"What I did was Googled it and there's all kinds of complaints," Welch said.

He says business people need to keep an eye on their invoices.

"It goes with the territory, I guess. I'm used to it," Welch said.

Arrington also alerted the Genesee Intermediate School District in case other schools have been affected by the scheme.

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