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Local company accused of taking money from youth football leagues

Attorney General's Office investigating complaints
Posted at 6:37 PM, Sep 29, 2016

The Florida Attorney General's office is investigating several complaints against STS Athletic, a Brandon based Jersey company that caters mainly to youth football leagues. The complaints allege the company and it's owner, Justin Cardwell, took money from the non-profit leagues and either partially delivered the orders, or didn't send anything at all.

"We never got our money back or our uniforms." Michael Belk, Vice President of the Northbay Panthers in Northern California, said. "I feel like I've been taken advantage of."

The Panthers are out more than $3,500, according to Belk.

Belk filed a complaint with the Attorney General's office, along with two other organizations this year. The other youth football leagues are located in Texas and West Virginia.

Cardwell has refused to talk to us on camera all week. But did speak with us over the phone extensively about other claims against him. We sent him the information about the complaints obtained from the AG's office. He did not respond. Within hours, we're told he contacted the league from West Virginia, who now say their claim is being resolved.

Still, it's not the first time Cardwell has promised refunds, according to several other leagues.

"He said he sent me a refund check in an email. I said 'Thanks. Can you send me a tracking number?' (After that) radio silence. No response." Belk said. 

Belk says that was weeks ago. 

His story is nearly identical to that of a woman who manages a league in Pueblo, Colorado. 

"It's been two weeks." Amanda Barros said. "Nothing, not a penny."

Cardwell told us earlier this week that he mailed a check to the team in Colorado, but could not provide any proof that a check was ever sent.

Several of the leagues claim they've contacted local law enforcement and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

According to HCSO, cases like this may also be considered a civil issue. The leagues need to prove he's intentionally taking money with no intent on providing a service, in order to make the claims a crime.

"That's the grey area of being a civil problem." Larry McKinnon, Spokesperson for HCSO, said.

Meanwhile, Pam Bondi's office is asking anyone who has a complaint about STS Athletic to contact her office by calling 1 (866) 9NO-SCAM. They can also file a complaint online at MyFloridaLegal.com.