Iowa’s Attorney General is distributing nearly a million dollars to Iowans who were swindled by sweepstakes companies like Publishers Clearinghouse that promised, but never delivered, big prizes. Des Moines lawyer Dave Linquist says his parents were conned into believing they’d win big prizes and cash awards if they bought merchandise or subscribed to magazines.Glen and Hazel Lindquist of Keokuk received hundreds of sweepstake entries every day, and their son believes they spent over a hundred thousand dollars on magazines and things like flower bulbs to try to — in their mind — “qualify” for prizes.Linquist says his folks once cancelled a trip to Alaska as they believed Ed McMahon was coming to their house to deliver a check.Linquist says his parents kept boxes and boxes of sweepstakes mailings, which made for a house-full of paper. He says when they were gone for three days they went to the post office and the mail completely filled their trunk. Glen Lindquist is in a nursing home today, suffering from Alzheimer’s. His wife died in 2000, but the sweepstakes companies keep sending mail to her. Dave Lindquist says if his parents could get taken, anybody can.Lindquist says his father was a successful businessman who ran the state’s oldest furniture store, Linquist Brothers in Keokuk and his mother was at one time president of the Iowa P-T-A, so neither were dumb.Six-hundred-50 Iowans like Mr. Linquist will get back some of the money they spent on Publishers Clearinghouse gimmicks, and state officials are tracking down the addresses of others who were swindled by the United States Purchasing Exchange to get checks to them. None of the payments will fully reimburse folks, however.
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