The Pulaski County sheriff's office says some of its employees may have been scammed by a company that said it would produce yearbooks for the agency but never delivered the finished product.
Lt. Carl Minden said APL Imaging took photographs of sheriff's office employees about a year ago and also took orders for a yearbook in which the images would ultimately be compiled.
But the yearbook was never delivered and the company hasn't been returning phone calls, Minden said. It appears to have declared bankruptcy, leaving anyone who paid for the yearbook in advance seemingly out of luck.
Minden is among an unspecified number of employees who lost the money, which he said was about $60 per book.
"The company’s owner has a history of scamming consumers by taking their money, producing some of the product, not returning call, and then filing bankruptcy," the sheriff's office wrote in an email to employees Thursday. "The owner has scammed many agencies across the Southeast including law enforcement and at least one military readiness group."
Minden said the sheriff's office didn't lose any money since the orders were actually placed by individual employees. Because of that, Pulaski County "has no recourse for action," though individuals who lost money can try to get it back, the email said.
Minden said employees were required to have their pictures taken for the book, but that no one was required to buy it.
He said it's possible the bankruptcy was legitimate and the company intended to fulfill the orders before declaring bankruptcy. But, he said, online posts from other agencies suggest other agencies have encountered similar problems.
"To use the word scammed is a strong word," Minden said. "I don't want to put myself in a liable situation. We have not received our product yet, and I don't know if we will. Because we can't contact them. Nothing's valid anymore."
Minden said the agency has been in contact with the Better Business Bureau.
The email to sheriff's office employees included a phone number for APL Imaging. A call there Friday morning returned a message saying its mailbox was full.