Three Florida men are facing charges of scheming to defraud and counterfieting labels after they were caught manufacturing fake bullet proof vests and selling them at gun shows and through eBay. The trio, which included former Ocoee City Commissioner Scott Anderson and two accomplices were arrested by Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents in October.
FDLE Special Agent Daniel Banks said the fake bullet proof vests were reassembled from old and expired body armor and did not provide any ballistic protection. When the vests were tested, bullets went right through them.
“One of the materials they used was duct tape to hold it together, and that is not an industry standard, and that is not something that really should be used in the manufacturing of ballistic vests,” says Banks as quoted by WMFE.
Many of the fake bullet proof vests were sold with copied labels of legitimate brands that may have included OMTactical, Point Blank, Safariland, Diamondback Tactical and a fictitious company called Full Dragon Armor. FDLE estimates that as many as a thousand fake bullet proof vests could have been sold at various gun shows over the last two years.
Arrested besides the 57-year-old Anderson were his business partners, Scott Williams, 51, and Arami Rodriguez, 36, would sell these fake bullet proof vests on eBay and at gun shows throughout the southeast.
Iwan Luiten marketing manager at EnGarde Body Armor, one of Europe’s leading body armor manufacturers, says body armor and bulletproof vests should only be purchased new through trusted and reliable vendors. “Body armor is manufactured under strict guidelines for quality control and has a specific rated lifetime defined by the materials of construction,” says Mr. Luiten “Our vendors also have to meet strict guidelines and ballistic protection products should only be purchased through authorized resellers. Would you really want to trust your life to a ballistic vest you bought on an online auction site?”
FDLE was alerted to the fraud in August when a suspicious customer called Point Blank Enterprises when he suspected his vest was a fake. The trio could face up to 10 years behind bars.
Anyone purchasing bullet proof vests through eBay or gun shows in the Southeast part of the United States in the last two years should verify the authenticity of their possibly fake bullet proof vests by calling the manufacturer.