LAYTON — Layton police arrested a man Tuesday who is accused of costing numerous businesses more than $70,000 by soliciting them to buy custom T-shirts without delivering.
Brett Delbridge, 39, was charged last week in 3rd District Court with 11 counts of communications fraud and one count of pattern of unlawful activity, second-degree felonies.
Delbridge would make personal and telephone sales calls to businesses interested in printing on T-shirts and other articles of clothing, claiming to represent a company called Image Wear Utah, charging documents state. He would offer customers discounted prices because of a large inventory, asking for a 50 percent deposit upon ordering, charges state.
Delivery deadlines passed and clients never received the products they ordered, investigators say. When contacting Delbridge, clients were given various explanations for the delay, such as his business computer having a virus, products not being ready, or that he had family members in the hospital, according to charging documents. Promised refund checks never arrived.
Natalie Sis, who works in the admissions office of Layton Christian Academy, was one of the dozens who were allegedly victimized. Last year, she said she ordered 100 hoodies from Delbridge for students taking a trip to Italy. It was a deal she "just couldn't pass up." She wrote him a check for half the amount, but said the hoodies never came.
"Right away, every excuse in the book: he had to go to the dentist, … his mother was sick. I think his grandpa died a couple times. It was just unbelievable," she said Wednesday.
According to investigators, Delbridge cashed 343 checks amounting to $184,559 at a Check City in Layton from about June 2009 through September 2012. The Utah Attorney General's Office has since sent out questionnaires to all those who issued the checks. Fewer than half of the questionnaires have been returned, according to spokeswoman Missy Larsen.
The total loss from victims currently known is $72,184, the charges state.
"He was a great salesman, lots of energy," Sis said. "Honestly, he had some really good ideas for design. … It just never happened."
Delbridge was booked into the Davis County Jail Tuesday and transferred to the Salt Lake County Jail Wednesday.
Contributing: Mike Anderson