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State Busts Phony|Magazine Sellers

DENVER (CN) - Two people hired young people to fan out across the country and sell bogus magazine prescriptions with false claims of links to charities, the Colorado attorney general claims in court.

Attorney General John Suthers claims his office has received hundreds of complaints about Jennifer Proffitt-Payne's and Cody Payne's sales practices.

The state calls it "a nationwide scheme employing deceptive trade practices to sell magazine subscriptions door-to-door, including engaging sales crews who use false and misleading statements to pressure consumers into purchasing magazine subscriptions."

Consumer complaints include failed to refund money as requested; failure to order magazines that were ordered; directing sales representatives to mislead customers to get them to buy magazine subscriptions - including that the salespeople were working to earn scholarships, that subscriptions were tax-deductible and that the companies were aligned with charities though they are not, according to the complaint.

"One technique used by defendants to avoid honoring refund requests was to change the names of their companies and direct the customer service representatives to state that the company from whom a refund was requested was no longer in business," according to the complaint in Denver County Court. "In other cases, refund requests would simply not be processed. Defendant Proffitt-Payne directed her employees in the central office how to deny refund requests."

Proffitt-Payne, of Evergreen, Colo., owns co-defendants Monitoring Services Network, and American Cash Awards, and co-owns Great Lakes Circulation with her estranged husband, Cody Payne, according to the complaint.

Cody Payne owned defendants D2D Consulting, Reviste Inc., and Magazines Inc., the state says. Also sued are Youth Incentive Marketing, Direct Youth Marketing, and Fun Sales Inc.The state seeks disgorgement, restitution, an injunction and damages for consumer law violations.

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