Scam artists target Heartland restaurants

Scam artists target Heartland restaurants
By: Erica Byfield

PADUCAH, Ky. - Each one of our heartland states has mandatory regulations eateries have to follow.  So, when a letter comes in the mail from the Kentucky Food Service Compliance Center it's not hard for an owner to think it's real, but as one business man found out nothing could be further from the truth.

"Probably two or three times a month," said Kevin Tober.  He eats and breaths the restaurant business and that type of devotion can come with a price.  Tober works seven days a week at BB Whiskers and gets tons of what he calls interesting mail.  "You may have to read over it a couple of times but you can usually tell," said Tober.

And he knows how to tell if it is a scam.  Tober said received so many notices he already knows the opening paragraph by heart.  "This is your final notice warning for buying your new federal and state posters and if you don't comply you'll be fined."

This latest letter not only ended up in his mail box, but at countless other restaurants in McCracken County.

It warns owners they must buy a twenty dollar poster to hang in the restroom telling employees to wash their hands before they go back to work.  "You would be surprised as far as some of the things you get in the mail," added Tober, or face two hefty penalties: a nearly three thousand dollar fine and the possible loss of their license.  "You know when it's a scam and when it's not," said Tober.

Leaders in the Commonwealth aren't buying the letter either, since there's nothing on the books with that requirement.  Greg Stumbo the Kentucky Attorney General filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Kentucky Food Service Compliance Center.  "I think it's a good idea they need to be on the ball on these things," said Tober.

The company sending out the letters is run by Mandatory Posters in Michigan.  Kentucky isn't the only state taking action against them, five other states, including Missouri and Illinois, have pending lawsuits.