Quad Cities telemarketer to pay $2.6 million in fraud judgement

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A Quad Cities-based telemarketer accused in a nationwide fraud scheme will pay more than $2.5 million.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says the judgement against Alphonso "Al" Barnum of Davenport, a number of his associates, and 10 companies also permanently bans them for doing business in the state.

The Attorney General's Office sued Barnum and the others in 2018, saying they used deception, confusion and high-pressure tactics to sell advertisements for direct-mail pieces and promotional items, and in many cases the operation didn't deliver any products.

Polk County District Judge Heather Lauber says Barnum's agents called businesses and falsely told consumers that they had previously agreed to purchase advertising and that their accounts would be sent to a collection agency unless the consumers paid that day. The consumers would give the defendants credit card or bank account numbers as a result.

The AG's office says the judge also found that the defendants then made unauthorized charges against the victims’ accounts, including creating checks that were run through victims' bank accounts,

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