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Accused of ripping off thousands of veterans, business owner says their anger is 'warranted'

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A northwest Tennessee man who is accused of taking the money of more than 23,600 people nationwide – many of them veterans – by failing to deliver custom wooden flags, told News4 Investigates that his customers should be angry.

The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office is asking a judge to issue a summary judgement in its case against Justin Scott, who owned the company Rustic Flag in Trenton, TN.

“We’ve gathered the facts. There’s been a violation of Tennessee law, instead of going to trial, let’s just rule on this,” Tennessee Attorney General Communications Director Samantha Fisher said.

The state attorney general requested in court filings that the court issue a judgement of $3,639,019.95 for the 23,645 customers who do not receive their custom flags.

“There are not 23,000 unfilled orders. That is absolutely false,” Scott told News4 Investigates.

Scott said he estimated the unfilled orders are somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000.

“I wonder what you would say to them because there are a lot of them that are really angry with you,” asked News4 Investigates.

“I think there is anger warranted. You spent your money with a veteran-owned company that you thought would provide you with a product,” Scott said. “I am 100% truly sorry to my brothers and sisters that didn’t get what they ordered.”

The attorney general also claims in court filings that Scott purchased cars, four wheelers and paid off his home.

Scott said that claim is untrue as he purchased those vehicles and paid off his home before he got “in over his head” with orders that he couldn’t fulfill.

“How much blame do you accept for what’s happened with these flags?” asked News4 Investigates.

“One hundred percent. I fully understand that there are people that didn’t get their product and that hurts my heart,” Scott said.

“Do you have the money to pay back anything to these people?” asked News4 Investigates.

“Absolutely not. My wife and I have nothing of value. Everything we have has been sold or liquidated,” Scott said.

“So how can you ever make this right?” asked News4 Investigates.

“Whatever I do for a job, I’ll give it all up,” Scott replied.

“It is a very real possibility that the state won’t be able to collect on the full amount,” Fisher said. “We’ll try to. We’ll try to distribute whatever we can to those customers.”

Travis Tyson, an Idaho man who purchased a custom flag for $267 to honor his father’s military career years ago, said he’s not expecting his purchase to arrive anytime soon.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get a flag and I doubt I’ll ever get a refund at this point,” Tyson said.

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Copyright 2020 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the chief investigator for News4 Investigates. His reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, and the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims.

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