By Shirin Rajaee

CITRUS HEIGHTS (CBS13) — A local high school baseball team is hoping to warn schools and businesses about an allegedly bogus fundraising effort.

“We want to let other businesses know, that this is going on, that this is happening. Let other schools know that there may be information going out on their behalf,” said assistant coach PJ Peterson.

Coaches with San Juan High School’s baseball program in Citrus Heights say that someone is going to local businesses posing as part of the baseball team and seeking sponsorship. This has already cost at least one local business hundreds of dollars.

Peterson is concerned more businesses that think they’re donating to their local school will be deceived and possibly become the next target.

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“To know that they went through all that time and effort to rip somebody off and to basically take away from our kids and other kids it may have gone to, it’s disappointing for sure,” said Peterson.

The coach says he found out about the alleged fundraising scheme after a local business owner called him to see if the message board sign the owner paid for in support of the team was up.

“He was confused, I was confused, then he put it together that it looks like this is fake,” he said.

Peterson says the local business in Citrus Heights, an auto repair shop, did not wish to be named. The owner had gotten a phone call and a visit from someone pretending to be from the baseball program soliciting sponsorship. According to this invoice, the repair shop contributed about $1,400.

“I hate that a local community business got ripped off when you may need to lean on them or ask for their support in the future,” said the coach.

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The soliciting company goes by the name “Athletic Sports.” It doesn’t have a website, and its address comes back to a UPS store postal box. When CBS 13 called the number on the flyer, the line kept ringing until the message said: “The user’s mailbox is not available at this time.”

Some business owners in the area say it hurts the trust.

“As a business owner, it’s unfortunate you always have to be on guard. We get phone calls all the time with local youth programs looking for support,” said Tom Goett, owner of Play It Again Sports in Citrus Heights.

Now, while a business is out $1,400, a baseball team is determined to warn others.

“Hopefully we can all come together and put a stop to it, and catch them and get some of these places their money back,” said Peterson.

The San Juan HS baseball team did file a police report with Citrus Heights PD. They have also posted the flyer on social media to warn others.

Peterson says he hopes this doesn’t discourage businesses to support their local school programs but says it’s always best to check with the school or program directly before you make a financial contribution.

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