DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa Attorney General has filed civil lawsuit against another telemarketing operation.
Misty and Paul Barnes and their businesses, PM Specialties and Milestone Consulting, are accused of defrauding small business owners in at least 13 states.
Attorney General Tom Miller filed the suit last week, accusing the couple and their businesses of fraud, deceptive advertising, unfair practices and other violations of the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act.
The state wants a temporary and permanent injunction to shut down the businesses and asked a judge to order restitution to consumers who have lost money, as well as civil penalties.
The couple, who've lived and conducted business in Davenport and Bettendorf, formerly worked with Alphonso Barnum of Davenport, who was sued by Miller last year for similar practices.
A Polk County judge ordered Barnum and his associates to pay nearly $2.6 million in February. The judge also permanently banned them from doing business after finding the operation had defrauded small businesses across the country.
The judge's ruling said that between January 2016 and January 2019, Barnum and his fellow defendants received more than $1.94 million taken from defrauded customers.
The ruling also named Misty and Paul Barnes and banned them from working with Barnum in any telemarketing or advertising business.