Attention: Members of the Franchise and Business Opportunity Industry, We were advised today by the Franchise and Business Opportunity Expo of a scam currently taking place in our industry that has defrauded many businesses of thousands of dollars. This fraud is being run by Keith Knowles and Shawn Partridge (operating out of a mailbox address in Douglasville, Georgia) who are claiming to be producing a circuit of events called the Southern Franchise Expo’s. Two of these events were to be held during the last 6 weeks, and no show ever took place. We were informed that at least 6 major companies gave money to Mr. Knowles and Mr. Partridge and when they arrived at the facility, no show was held and Mr. Knowles and Mr. Partridge have been unreachable. Despite these shows not being held, and exhibitors being defrauded of thousands of dollars, these men are continuing to promote Southern Franchise Expo’s in 6 future cities in the fall of 2010. They are only accepting checks, meaning no recourse to re-claim money given to them, and it appears they will continue to take whatever money they can from exhibitors and will never produce a show. Recommendations for Exhibitors considering participation in a Franchise Expo 1. Find out if the Show Producer is a member of the International Franchise Association Supplier Forum. Only credible suppliers to the industry are allowed membership to this association. 2. Ask specifically how many Franchise shows the show producer has produced previously. Find out when past shows were held and ask to see copies of Show Guides to ensure you are being told the truth. 3. Check with the facility where the show is being promoted to ensure a binding contract is signed with the facility. 4. Ask for at least 3 companies as a reference that have done a previous show with the producer and call them to ask about their experience. 5. Ensure the producer is not operating out of a mail-box address and that they will accept credit cards, which offers you protection. We hope you accept this warning to help ensure no more members of our Industry get burned by the fraudulent scam artists from the Southern Franchise Expo’s.