Businesses were sold ads on posters like these, but didn’t get them.

The Iowa Attorney General is trying to close down several Quad Cities companies suspected of cheating small businesses in several states.

The lawsuit targets Alphonso Barnum of Davenport, his wife, his mother, and some limited liability corporations.

Attorney General’s spokesman Lynn Hicks says the Barnums targeted businesses, like restaurants and insurance agents, selling advertising for posters and calendars, often for local high school teams, but never delivered anything.

“We know of one example of a business owner in Illinois who had $50,000 taken from his business account,” Hicks says. “We have several other cases where people lost thousands of dollars.”

A lawsuit filed by the A.G.’s office back in December aimed to shut down Barnum’s businesses, but Hicks says the defendants continued cheating small businesses using different names, trying to avoid detection.

Hicks says they’ve heard from victims in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas, Idaho, and Michigan.

Thanks to Herb Trix, WVIK, Rock Island