OLATHE, Kans. – Sweepstakes Publishers of America sent 130,000 deceptive letters telling people they “already passed through two of the three steps to receiving (the) $100,000 Sweepstakes Prize Declaration,” and might win – if they sent in $12, the Kansas attorney general says.
Defendant Chris Dhooghe is the sole owner and operator of the scam, Attorney General Steve Six says in his complaint in Johnson County Court.
Six says numerous consumers were duped by Dhooghe’s letter, which told them they had to send in “the required printing and shipment fee of $12 within 10 days.” The letter said the victims had to send in the money to “avoid forfeiture.”
Six says the deceptive letter included the statement, “Official Cash & Prize Notification Guarantee $100,000+.”
Dhooghe’s mailing included self-addressed envelopes for the money.
Six says Dhooghe falsely claimed to be “one of America’s largest Sweepstake Publishers,” though he “does not conduct a sweepstakes” and “never intended to provide a $100,000 prize for any consumer.”
Dhooghe is charged with six counts of deceptive and unconscionable practices. If convicted, he faces restitution, $10,000 per civil violation and additional penalties if he is found to have victimized an elderly or disabled person.