A Scott County judge has ordered a Quad Cities-based telemarketing operation to pay thousands of dollars in fraud penalties.
District Judge Mark Fowler ruled that Misty Barnes, Paul Michael Barnes, and their businesses PM Specialties and Milestone Consulting had committed 19 violations of the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller sued — saying the violations included cold-calling consumers and falsely saying they had past-due bills that needed immediate payment; selling non-existent services; and making unauthorized charges to customers’ credit-card accounts.
The judge ordered the couple to pay the maximum civil penalties of $760,000 to the state. They were also ordered to pay restitution of $60,000 to 15 consumers who provided affidavits and assisted in the investigation. The Barnes operated in Davenport and Bettendorf, and are believed to have moved their operations to Illinois after being sued