Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has secured a court order barring another charity telemarketer from calling consumers in his state.
The order was granted in Miller's suit against Americans With Disabilities, LLC, a Phoenix, Arizona for-profit company, and its owner, Dale R. Sieck. In the suit, Miller says the company used “blatant lies” about disabilities to elicit funds from Iowans.
An Iowa judge ordered the company to pay a $2,000 penalty to a state elderly victim fund, for the investigation and prosecution of frauds against older Iowans. Though a consent judgment, the judge also barred telephone solicitor Jeffrey A. Balke, who solicited on behalf of the company, from future telephone and mail solicitations directed to Iowa consumers.
Recording calls to a senior citizen's number
Miller has targeted telemarketers who cross the line in soliciting funds, allegedly for a charitable cause. Months ago his office obtained the registered telephone number of an elderly Iowa citizen and has been recording the calls made to it.
On June 3, Miller filed a lawsuit against Americans With Disabilities, after the Consumer Protection Division allegedly recorded Balke’s telephone call on the undercover phone line. Miller says Balke sought money on behalf of Americans With Disabilities by falsely claiming that he was blind and seeking a guide dog, that he served in the Vietnam War and was exposed to Agent Orange, that his daughter recently died of cystic fibrosis, and that he is a native Iowan. A Consumer Protection Division investigation determined that none of these claims by Balke were true.
Americans With Disabilities, LLC, a for-profit company and not a charitable organization, sells products by phone, including $45 tins of cookies, and purports to use its profits to help disabled people. A company product insert stated that it makes “a special effort to enable handicapped or otherwise disadvantaged workers” by paying “a great percentage” of sales proceeds to workers who “have had trouble in obtaining employment in the mainstream workforce.