After many months of trying, the Iowa Attorney General may finally have been able to close down a Quad Cities-based advertising business. On Monday, a judge in Des Moines approved a temporary injunction against Alphonso Barnum of Davenport, some associates, and 10 companies.
They're suspected of defrauding small businesses across the country. And the injunction prohibits them from engaging in any business activity involving telemarketing and the sale of advertising and promotional items.
Back in December, Attorney General Tom Miller filed a lawsuit against Barnum and the others. When the defendants changed business names allegedly to avoid detection, Miller added new defendants and requested the injunction in February.
Miller accuses them of using deception, confusion, and high-pressure tactics to sell advertisements for direct-mail pieces and promotional items, such as high school sports posters and city information guides. And that in many cases, the companies delivered no products.
The judge cited evidence that the defendants made unauthorized charges against the victims’ accounts. One business owner in Michigan had more than $80,000 in checks remotely created by defendants run through her account, and another in Illinois had more than $47,000 taken.