Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court alleging that an out-of-state company and its Illinois-based owner cashed in on consumers' desire to work from home by advertising and operating a fraudulent envelope stuffing business.
More than 20 consumer complaints about this business have been filed with Madigan's Consumer Protection Division and the Better Business Bureaus in Illinois and Nevada. The complaints allege the work-at-home company lured consumers with promises of large profits. But after sending in cash to receive their supplies and completing the assigned work, the consumers allegedly never received the advertised compensation.
Madigan's lawsuit names as defendants Income Solutions, Inc., a Nevada corporation, and its owner, Joseph A. Munizzi, of Lemont. The corporation was involuntarily dissolved in Nevada in 2004 and, after failing to file proper documentation in Illinois, lost its authorization to transact business in this state.
Madiganr's lawsuit alleges that since at least April 2004, Munizzi and his company have used newspaper and direct mail advertisements to solicit consumers to participate in their work-at-home scheme. The bold advertisements claimed, 'YOU COULD BE EARNING BIG PAYCHECKS WITHIN TWO WEEKS . . . IF YOU ACT NOW!!'
'Work at home schemes are often common scams, and I urge consumers tempted by an envelope stuffing advertisement to carefully consider the offer before sending in any money,' Madigan said
The defendants stated in their advertisements that consumers could earn between $442.20 and $2,948 per week by stuffing envelopes. The consumers were required to pay fees ranging from $59 to $149, and they mailed their checks to the company's post office box in Las Vegas, Nevada. Madigan alleges that the mail received at the Las Vegas post office box was forwarded to another post office box in Willowbrook, Illinios.
While Income Solutions represented in its advertisements that consumers would earn $7.37 per envelope, they allegedly failed to disclose that consumers would earn this money only if the recipient of the mailing ordered the nutritional product being offered for sale by the defendants.
According to consumer complaints, once the checks were sent to Income Solutions, consumers either never received the envelope stuffing materials or were not paid the compensation promised in the advertisements. In some instances, consumers who ordered envelope stuffing materials were sent information on a different program, which costs an additional $299, about making money from home by processing tax liens.
Madigan's lawsuit charges the defendants with violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Madigan's lawsuit asks the court to prohibit the defendants from engaging in the business of advertising, offering for sale, or selling envelope stuffing work-at-home schemes and from further violating Illinois' consumer protection laws. The lawsuit also seeks a civil penalty of $50,000 and additional penalties of $50,000 per violation found to be committed with the intent to defraud. Finally, Madigan's lawsuit asks the court to order the defendants to pay restitution to consumers.