Iowa AG files suit against for-profit fundraising company
DES MOINES, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller filed a lawsuit on Friday against a for-profit disabilities fundraising company that allegedly lied in soliciting funds.
The suit, filed against Americans With Disabilities LLC of Phoenix, Ariz., alleges that a telephone solicitor solicited funds from Iowans by falsely claiming 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.
Americans With Disabilities LLC, is a for-profit company that sells products by phone, including $45 tins of cookies. It purports to use its profits to help disabled people.
"We allege these claims were blatant lies designed to elicit sympathy and money," Miller said. "The solicitor knew his lies would stir up emotion and likely raise his income. What he didn't know is that we were recording his phone call."
Dale R. Sieck, listed on various business websites as the owner of Americans With Disabilities LLC, responded to a subpoena by saying the independent solicitor is "assumed to be" Jeffrey A. Balke of Phoenix, Arizona.
In responding to the subpoena, Balke said he was not blind, though he needs glasses. He also admitted that he did not serve in the Vietnam War, that his three children are grown with no health problems and that he is not a native Iowan.
Miller's has obtained a temporary injunction restraining the defendants from engaging in deceptive practices and violating the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act. Miller is also requesting civil penalties for violations of the act and enhanced penalties for each violation committed against an older person.