Scam alert: Fort Worth-based Touchdown Sports strikes again in New Jersey, Texas – Fort Worth Star Telegram
When Jonida Lagji was contacted by Fort Worth-based Touchdown Sports about buying a banner and 1,000 T-shirts to support the local high school, she thought it was a good way to raise awareness for her insurance agency in Old Bridge, N.J.
She had just opened a few months earlier and also wanted to support the schools in her community, which is about 35 miles south of New York City.
Lagji bought the sales pitch and agreed to pay $6,000 for cups, T-shirts, banners that were to be distributed at two local high school home football games. The proceeds from the sales were to go to the schools.
But when Lagji attended her first Old Bridge High School game last week, there was no merchandise to be found.
“I saw there was nothing — no banners, no cups, no T-shirts —nothing,” Lagji said. “That’s when I knew.”
The story was the same at the other school she sponsored, Sayreville High School.
Touchdown Sports strikes again.
The Star-Telegram wrote about the company in April and May after being alerted that Touchdown Sports, which also goes by Boost Sports and TD Sports, had been accused of scams all over the country. The company has moved its office more than once and officials have repeatedly refused to talk to the Star-Telegram.
A Google search for “Touchdown Sports scam” finds more than 50 hits across the country.
School districts from Montana to New York have issued warnings about the company. In North Texas, the Allen school district, SMU and its partner, Learfield Sports, have all sent cease-and-desist letters to Touchdown Sports.
‘Stopped answering my calls’
Round Rock real estate agent Carolyn Abbott said she agreed to pay the company $1,600 for items to be distributed at the Leander school district’s Rouse High School home football games.
Like Lagji, Abbott realized something was awry when she attended a game.
“I was supposed to get a banner displayed at all of the home games and I was also purchasing T-shirts to be thrown out at the game,” Abbott said. “It wasn’t until I sat at the game and saw my banner wasn’t there that I realized what had happened.”
Leander school district spokesman Matt Mitchell said the issue has been brought to the school district’s attention.
“Some local businesses notified Leander ISD earlier this week that they purchased unauthorized sponsorship products through TD Sports,” Mitchell said in an email. “The district internally manages banner advertising programs and partners with booster clubs to support students. LISD is sending a cease and desist letter to the company.”
Both Lagji and Abbott said the company went silent when they started reaching out to find out what had happened.
“Until July or August, they were answering my calls but they know when the season starts and then they stopped answering my calls,” Lagji said.
‘Thinking about hiring a lawyer’
The Better Business Bureau has given the company an F rating with 28 complaints against it.
In a response to the Better Business Bureau, the company said it offered “sponsorship opportunities through advertisements on local high school spirit items. We are in contact with someone (usually a cheer coach) at the high schools and we discuss with them the items they would like to receive (shirts, banners, cups, or balls). They let us know the items they will like to receive, then we work to get the sponsors on the items, to provide them to the school.”
But Touchdown Sports denied the Better Business Bureau’s request for verification of agreements with public schools, claiming they were private information and has not responded to the BBB’s further requests for information.
The company, which was incorporated in 2015, first had an address listed in Richland Hills. It’s now located in the Riverbend Business Park along East Loop 820 in east Fort Worth. Texas Secretary of State’s office records list Joseph Elkhatib as the company’s registered agent.
In at least some cases, the company produced T-shirts and other items, making it difficult to say customers have been defrauded. But most school districts have their licensing agreements with local sponsors, which means other memorabilia cannot be distributed at games or school events.
While none of the company’s actions appear to rise to the level of a crime, both Lagji and Abbott aren’t going quietly.
Lagji filed a local police report and is disputing the charges with her credit card company. Abbott may go further.
“I’m thinking about hiring a lawyer,” Abbott said.