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Stow company accused of selling Akron Police counterfeit body armor files for bankruptcy protection

ShotStop Ballistics LLC in Stow ceased operations and is now under a federal investigation for allegedly selling counterfeit body armor.
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ShotStop Ballistics LLC in Stow, Ohio ceased operations and is now under federal investigation for allegedly selling counterfeit body armor.

The company accused of supplying the Akron Police Department with counterfeit body armor is a now-defunct Northeast Ohio ballistics business, according to a police department spokesperson.

ShotStop Ballistics LLC, which had been headquartered in Stow, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy May 4 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio, according to court documents.

ShotStop ceased operations and is under federal investigation for allegedly selling counterfeit body armor, Crain’s Cleveland Business initially reported in March. Federal and state officials executed a raid on the company in October 2023.

Although ShotStop’s website no longer exists, marketing materials state the company “designs and manufactures the world’s lightest, fastest and most durable advanced body armor plates, bag inserts and building materials.”

“ShotStop’s life-saving armor plates are worn by law enforcement, tactical, miliary, security or civilian,” according to the company’s description.

The business had been located at the corner of Hudson Drive and Campus Drive in Stow.

Akron City Council recently approved a $60,000 expenditure to replace the counterfeit body armor for the SWAT team. The city will purchase 40 sets of ballistic plates, which cost about $1,300 each, Capt. Augie Micozzi told city council Monday.

“The normal body armor that we have day-to-day, that’s all fine. This is just for those moments where they’re at the highest risk situations where they need the most protection,” Micozzi said.

The department is cooperating with the federal investigation and plans to pursue restitution, Micozzi added.

It’s not yet clear how many police departments may have been impacted. The Ohio Attorney General's Office previously notified Ohio law enforcement agencies of the federal investigation, stating that certain ShotStop ballistic rifle plates "may not have been manufactured in the United States."

The notice states: "Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations, recently began an investigation into ShotStop, LLC, an Ohio-based provider of ballistic body armor. During the course of the investigation, information was received that certain ShotStop Level III and IV ballistic rifle plates may not have been manufactured in the United States or NIJ certified, as represented. The investigation is continuing. At this time, all efforts are being made to identify the impacted plate models and dates of manufacture.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we are making law enforcement agencies who may have purchased or are currently using ShotStop Level III and IV ballistic rifle plates aware of this potential misrepresentation which could impact the integrity and stopping power of the plates. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available. If your agency believes they may have any impacted plates contact faultyarmor@hsi.dhs.gov."

Akron attorney Peter Tsarnas of Gertz & Rosen is representing ShotStop and its owner, Val Iliev.

According to ShotStop’s bankruptcy petition, the company reported $357,015 in assets and $642,000 in estimated liabilities. The company lists nearly 200 creditors, most of whom appear to be investors.

The meeting with creditors is scheduled for June 11, 2024.

The Akron Police Department spokesperson declined to comment further as the situation is under investigation.

Ideastream Public Media reached out to Tsarnas for a comment and has not yet received a response.

Anna Huntsman covers Akron, Canton and surrounding communities for Ideastream Public Media.