Colorado Department of Law — Annual Report 2009
No-Call Act Enforcement During 2009 the nature of no-call enforcement became complicated by the various calling techniques that no-call violators employed to hide their identities and make their calls difficult to trace. These calls generally use auto-dialer devices and recorded messages that make offers to consumers, including solicitations on auto warranties and credit-card rates. This office has persistently traced these calls despite the callers’ use of various masking technologies. This office provided invaluable assistance to the Federal Trade Commission as it shut down one of these violators, Voice Foundations, in an action filed in a Chicago federal court.
Consumer Fraud The Consumer Fraud Unit handles about 75 consumer complaints a day. Consumers can file complaints by phone, mail, e-mail and online at www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/ complaint.
In 2009, Unit attorneys filed a variety of complaint-driven cases, including:
State of Colorado v. The Colorado Humane Society & S.P.C.A. et al. In December 2008, we brought an action in Arapahoe County District Court against the Colorado Humane Society and its top management for charitable fraud and mismanagement of charitable assets. We successfully got the Court to appoint a custodian to manage the charity and to have the top management step down. We continued with our case against the managers of the Colorado Humane Society. In December 2009, the Court found that even if the State did not prevail in its case, the managers would have no right to return to the Colorado Humane Society. We ultimately entered into a settlement with
the former Colorado Humane Society management that prevents them from serving as an officer, director or manager of a charity for 10 years, and from owning, operating or managing any facility governed by the Pet Animal Care Facilities Act for five years.
State of Colorado v. National Rebate Fund, Inc. We sued National Rebate Fund and its president, Timothy Stubbs, in February 2009 for violations of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act. Specifically, Stubbs ran a rebate program through the National Rebate Fund purporting to offer consumers the opportunity to obtain thousands of dollars in rebates on home improvement items, when in fact the National Rebate Fund arbitrarily and rarely paid out rebate claims. The Court granted our motion for default judgment, awarding a $4.3 million judgment against National Rebate Fund and Stubbs, and allowing us to distribute $4.4 million to consumers that the National Rebate Fund held in escrow to pay rebate claims.
State of Colorado v. Sara Paige Widener et al. In September 2009, we obtained a temporary restraining order against Sara Widener, a young woman who acquired thousands of dollars in gifts, services and donations as a result of misrepresenting that she suffered from cancer. We entered into a stipulated judgment with Ms. Widener whereby she agreed to stop representing herself as a cancer patient and to pay more than $8,000 to defrauded consumers.
State of Colorado v. Immigration Center, Charles Doucette This Colorado Springs-based Web site offered legal advice on immigration matters and marketed itself as affiliated with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service. Defendants claim to be able to