Hay Scam Alert - Advice needed

OK yes, I accept the fact that I am the dumbest person in the world for this mistake. Please hear me out. I bought hay sight unseen from someone I didn’t know for $2700. The company is called Hayward, Ltd. There is a website. There is at least a year’s worth of messages from them in my spam folder as they use the program Constant Contact. I spoke to a man calling himself Frank about the quality of various Timothy hay around the country. About shipping prices. He’s a shipper, he said buys hay all over the place and delivers to people who want to buy in bulk. I have been getting $9500 truckloads of hay from further away that I really really like. But right now at the end of the year, I’m feeling poor and the idea of getting a smaller load was appealing. I was willing to take the risk on new hay that “a lot of folks were really liking” No I didn’t get references and yes I paid an out of state stranger up front. We had talked several times, emailed and texted. Seemed like such a knowledgeable and nice guy. In retrospect, a little extra anxious to sell in a market that should keep him really busy. But it felt like we had a connection. He knew all about the hay I normally get, I shared the hay tests with him. He offered to put me in touch with one of his hay farmers. He kept trying to get a three way call set up (I know, why didn’t he just offer me the number?) but I never had time when he did. At the busiest possible moment, I settled up with him. A check that I took a photo of and texted.
It was cashed almost 3 weeks ago and I have no hay. He texts me every couple of days, and says it’s set up for a certain day and then it doesn’t come. Yesterday was the most recent day that it was supposed to come. No word. Today, I guess I am going to call the police. Any advice folks? other than you stupid idiot, what were you thinking? Trust me, I get that. I stay up every night thinking about that. I do actually know better and have never paid for any hay up front in my entire life. The only precaution I took was to do a quick search for various combinations of hayward ltd + scam and got nothing.
I have a first name (Frank), an email address, an invoice, a website and a cell number. The website is http://www.haywardltd.com/ I have no address and no last name.
He’s listed on http://www.hayexchange.com/ as well. Does anyone have advice on the following two fronts: 1) Is there anything I can do to recover anything and bring him to justice? 2) Where else do I post this to protect others from this dude? I don’t do enough Facebook to know which forums would reach the most horse business owners. I thought about creating a website like haywardltdisascam.com but I don’t know if that would show up in results fast enough to help anyone. I’m so cynical about what the police are going to say. The bank said, you’re on your own. :.(

OMG!!! " Hay Buddy". I talked to him too but didn’t end up buying any hay from him. I didn’t need or have storage space for 300 bales and couldn’t find anybody else to split a load so we never got to the invoice stage. I was on the fence about whether he was legit or not - something about his demeanor made this former auditor suspicious but when I talked to him he sounded like he knew what he was talking about.

And I went out to his web page and that sounded legit too - somebody that had a network of haulers that might be looking for a backhaul. I did get some bad vibes when I turned on my phone one weekend and he had sent me 5 or 6 text messages after I had told him I wasn’t sure if I had enough people interested and I was waiting to hear from friends. Nobody else that has sold me hay was that desperate. He told me the hay I was interested in was OG coming from Somerset Kentucky from a grower he did business with. He also told me he had lots and lots of references in my area but did not offer any names or phone numbers. I wasn’t going to even get to the invoice stage before I had a friend check the hay out and I doubt I would have sent him a check. I would have been only interested in a credit card exchange so i would have recourse if he sent junk. Or nothing.

I am not sure where you are - I am southwest of Birmingham - but I did see in the last few days he is advertising again on CL in Atlanta and Birmingham and probably other cities in the Southeast. You can post " Hay Seller Scam" on CL in those cities. I don’t know where he lives and I will look to see if I have his last name ( which may or not be legit). Somehow I got the impression he lived in Colorado from talking to him.

As far as what you can do to get your money back - I don’t know. You need to talk to a lawyer about that. You could also join some hay sales groups on FB ( Central Alabama, Georgia, Northern Alabama/ Southern Tenn). I would join as many as you can and post your story. Somebody else might have been in your same situation and might have some more information on him.

I hope he is just trying to find a hauler and you will get hay but it doesn’t sound good. I finally broke down and bought a used flat bed trailer and just get my own hay mostly. Saves me from getting ripped off although it is a pain.

He posted on the Atlanta CL on December 15,16,18 and 19. He doesn’t have any contact information - you have to contact him through the CL E-mail number.

Landers ltd. uses the same website and photos, but it’s a different phone number. Maybe he’s an “honest” partner who could help. In order to warn others, can you give a review on the hay exchange or craigslist? Check out YELP for a possible review.

Your legal recourse depends on how much effort, hassle you are willing to put into it. I don’t have any personal experience with this kind of fraud. Might want to call you local DA’s office and see if they have any suggestions.

From what you wrote I gather you send payment to him outside of your state? If so good chance this would fall under interstate wire fraud? Which breaks Federal laws. Give a call to an office of the FBI in your state?

Hi Zelle, I was wondering if you ever got your hay or your money back?

I was considering purchasing from Frank, but did a google search first and found your post and another one on COTH. I looked at his website, which is now Claibornelanders.com, and I spoke to him on the phone.

I private messaged you some info that might help you if you never got your hay or money.

It would be great for others to know if this ever got resolved!

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Got a check for 1050 (of 2700). Not sure why. No explanation. I also posted on internet hay exchange. The only way to do that is to say you have hay for sale and then in the comments explain the situation. I’ve gotten many responses saying they want to buy hay from me - which I’m not selling! I think hay exchange has a lot of fraud. Be careful, folks.

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Do not purchase from Frank! I also got scammed by Frank. Claibornelanders.com or claiborne@claibornelanders.com. I did get some poor quality hay. The load was poor quality and he under shipped by 200 bales. He blamed it on the truck size. He didn’t make good on a refund for the 200 bales and stopped answering my calls and e-mails. I do have an address for him in Portland and hope to pay him a visit soon.

I just looked back at the details. Frank under shipped me 56 bales at $12.80 per bale or $716.80. He also over billed on trucking by $8.33 per bale or $466.48. I’ve been trying to work out a solution to get the $1,183.28 back since September of 2018 and still no refund.

Since this involves multiple victims, has anyone had luck filing a police report?

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Current info on “Frank Landers”. His name & company name comes from his “wife” of the last 4 years. He’s now used up her 401k, etc. He catfished her at a vulnerable time kin her life (yes, his # is on a social catfish site). He was at the Castle Inn in Lawton, Ok as of 6-2o,21-19. No one knows his real name or history. He’s around 63 yrs old, & there are pictures & video of him. He’s virtually untraceable. He’s been working out of Oregon, came to Okla on train. He has very bad & quick temper. Don’t know what all he might be running & hiding from.

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“Don’t know what all he might be running & hiding from.”

The police?

If this is multi-state, couldn’t you involve the FBI?

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OHH, I Know him. Famous “Hay Buddy” !
I already had something to do with him, but everything turned out very badly. Yes, I got hay as a result, but I waited about 2 months (MONTHS) for hay !!! This is generally how to understand ??
So now I just agreed with farmers from the neighboring state and they supply me with hay directly - maybe not as good, but as quickly)