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Shipping scam sinks Colorado father-son hops business

flores hops business
Posted at 5:20 PM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 21:21:46-04

DENVER — Randy Flores knows everything there is to know about hops. He and his son have been buying and selling hops pellets to craft breweries all around the world for the last 14 years.

So when they received a large order from Panama City, nothing seemed suspicious at first.

"The grand total on the invoice was $19,057.50," said Flores.

Flores told Contact Denver7 that he checked out the brewery, and the credit card payment was approved. A few days later, he sent $6,000 of that money to the brewery's shipping agent.

"But before we shipped anything, they came back to us a couple of days later saying we'd like to purchase the same thing for our next brewery," Flores said.

The second charge sent up the first red flag. Flores says the credit card processing company, Paysafe, discovered the credit card was fraudulent — 23 days after the first charge.

Records show a Department of Homeland Security Investigator opened an investigation, while PaySafe sent Flores to collections to get the charge back.

"From there, that's where the whole mess got even messier," he said. "It would have never happened if their security system had been in place and, you know, strong enough to figure this out before it happened."

Flores and his son decided to fight back — David versus Goliath style — in court, arguing that Paysafe and the bank, J.P. Morgan Chase, should also be accountable for the money.

Paysafe declined to comment to Contact Denver7. A Chase spokesperson issued a statement, saying, "The Arapahoe County District Court has dismissed US Hop Source’s complaint."

Now, Flores says Chase is going after his business for legal fees, too.

"We will probably need to file bankruptcy because at this point, we don't have the money to pay that," he said.

While he prepares to close his doors, he hopes at least the other guys will listen and learn.

"Beware, beware, beware," Flores said. "Scammers are getting more and more sophisticated every day, and the corporate giants, they're basically squashing a father-son business that supports a small family."

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