A telemarketing firm based in the Quad Cities can no longer do business, and must pay a large fine. That was the ruling this week from a judge in Des Moines in the case of Alphonso Barnum of Davenport, members of his family, other associates, and 10 companies.
In December 2018, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller sued Barnum and the others, accusing them of defrauding small businesses across the country. The defendants sold ads in direct mail products and promotional items such as school sports posters, but according to Miller, in many cases failed to deliver any products, and stole money from their customers' bank accounts.
The Polk County judge banned the defendants from doing business, and ordered them to pay 2.6 million dollars in penalties. That includes restitution to victims in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas, Idaho, and Michigan.
The judge also ruled they lied to customers, saying they were a Christian or faith-based operation.