fraud

Flickr / TheUPSStoreHuntingtonBeach

At least 15 public libraries in Iowa have been targeted by a toner pirate scam this year. That’s according to the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, which filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against three Orange County, California-based businesses Thursday.

The supposed scam came to light thanks to Cate St. Clair, an attorney by training and library director by trade. When Robey Memorial Library in Waukon received a mysterious bill for about $400 for toner, St. Clair called the number printed on the invoice.

Flickr / Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig, hikingartist.com

"If you have to spend money to get money," says Polk County Attorney John Sarcone, "it's clearly a scam."

Yet many don't know this telltale sign, particularly Iowa seniors who are often the targets of fraud and embezzlement.

Daniel Foster

While it often goes unreported, elder financial abuse costs older Americans 2 to 3 billion dollars per year.

Courtesy photo

A  federal judge has sentenced 64- year- old Russell  Wasendorf, Sr. to 50 years in prison.  Last July, following an attempted suicide, Wasendorf  admitted to stealing more than 215 million dollars in customer funds from his Cedar Falls brokerage firm Peregrine Financial Group.

In a plea agreement in September, he pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud, embezzlement and making false statements. 50 years is the maximum punishment for those offenses. There is no parole in the federal court system. He was sentenced by Chief Judge Linda Reade.

Iowa’s Democratic Attorney General and Republican Secretary of State have joined forces to stop an unusual kind of identity fraud.   A California con man tried  to collect fees from Iowa corporations by pretending to be the Secretary of State.