State officials say hundreds of Iowans have been duped out of millions of dollars in a scheme involving the leasing of pay telephones.Investigators say people were promised 15-percent annual returns if they invest five-to-seven-thousand dollars in the pay phones. Money from new investors goes to pay earlier investors until it all collapses, according to Gary Marquett, enforcement director of the Iowa Securities Bureau.Marquett says three companies are in question — Phoenix Telcom, which has gone out of business; E-T-S Payphones, which has filed for bankruptcy; and Alpha TelCom, which is still operating. Marquett says “several hundred” Iowa investors have lost about seven million dollars in the schemes. He says Iowans should be extremely wary of this type of business and to call the Iowa Securities Bureau for more information at 800-351-4665.
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