Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan today filed suit against a central Illinois woman for scamming consumers and businesses out of at least $17,000 for advertisements in fictitious magazines.
Madigan’s lawsuit alleges Holly Jones Cunningham, of Leroy, has defrauded consumers since August 2010 into buying advertising in Just 4 Her magazine.
Madigan alleges Cunningham acted as magazine president and editor, charging McLean County consumers and businesses between $330 and $2,900 for ads that never materialized in print, in violation of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
“My office received multiple complaints from consumers who thought they were paying for advertisements only to learn the magazine was never published, and they’d been scammed out of thousands of dollars,” Madigan said.
Madigan said so far six consumers reported being victimized by Cunningham’s scheme resulting in $17,900 in losses.
The lawsuit asks the court to prohibit Cunningham from selling magazine advertising space and cancel any pending advertising contracts. The lawsuit also seeks restitution for consumers with unresolved complaints.
Madigan’s suit seeks to impose on the defendant a civil penalty of $50,000 and additional penalties of $50,000 for each violation found to be committed with the intent to defraud.