Iowa telemarketers ordered to pay $820,000 for fraud

Iowa News

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A judge has ordered a Quad Cities couple who operated two telemarketing firms to pay $820,000 for consumer fraud.

Misty and Paul Barnes and their companies, telemarketing firms PM Specialties and Milestone Consulting, were sued in February by the Iowa Attorney General for a range of allegations. They included calling businesses to demand payment for fraudulent invoices and selling advertisements in fictitious publications, The Des Moines Register reports.

Court records show the couple made no reply to the suit, leading to Wednesday’s default judgment. The court also made permanent a temporary injunction filed in April that banned the pair from telemarketing in Iowa.

Iowa officials believe the couple, who previously lived in Bettendorf and Davenport, are now operating their business out of Illinois. A spokesman for the Attorney General’s office said the state has informed Illinois authorities about the order.

Misty Barnes previously told the Register that they had never intended to deceive customers and blamed any aggressive tactics on former business partners.

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