Madigan sues over alleged advertising scam

Bryan Cohen Jul. 19, 2011, 1:21am


CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against a central Illinois woman for allegedly scamming consumers and businesses out of at least $17,000 for advertisements in fictitious magazines.

The lawsuit, filed in McLean County circuit court, alleges that Holly Jones Cunningham of Leroy, Ill., defrauded consumers since August into buying advertising in Just 4 Her magazine. Madigan alleges that Cunningham acted as magazine editor and president, 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. "I urge anyone else who might have fallen victim to this scam to contact my office's Consumer Fraud Bureau immediately."

Six consumers have reported being victimized by Cunnigham's scheme have had a total of $17,900 in losses.

Madigan's lawsuit asks the court to prohibit Cunningham from selling magazine advertising space and to cancel any pending advertising contracts. In addition, the lawsuit seeks restitution for consumers with unresolved complaints and a civil penalty of $50,000, with additional penalties of $50,000 for each violation found to be committed with the intent to defraud.

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