Colorado Sues Some Mag Crews; Maybe Texas Should Take a Gander?

Colorado's Attorney General is suing the owners of a door-to-door magazine sales service, accusing them of deceiving consumers in Colorado and across the country.

Filed April 23 in Denver County District Court, the suit against Jennifer Proffitt-Payne and Cody Payne lists a bevy of corporate names they and their roving sales crews operate under; the most prominent names are Great Lakes Circulation and American Cash Awards. We first wrote about Great Lakes when a 22-year-old woman died in an East Texas motel while working for one of its crews.

While Blair Dimmick's cause of death was listed as natural -- she had a pre-existing heart condition -- a tox screen turned up alcohol, Ecstasy and Xanax. The scavengers working on her crew kept her digital camera and apparently emptied her wallet before sending it back to her mom. These are great fucking people.

According to the Colorado suit, the companies' sales agents used a variety of ruses, including claiming affiliations with St. Jude Children's Hospital or local schools. (Piggybacking on sick and dying kids is a favored strategy in the business.)

Because the companies constantly switched names, "the full extent of monetary harm to consumers is unknown at this time," according to the suit. (The suit alleges that co-owner Proffitt-Payne processed orders for at least 20 sales crews. A woman who answered the phone for one of the Paynes' entities had no comment.)

The Paynes haven't filed a response yet, according to a spokesman at the Colorado AG's Office, so we'll have to wait to see what they come up with. We think it's great the Colorado AG is going after these guys -- it's something more states should do -- but we don't think the industry will truly clean up its act unless states file criminal suits.

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Contributor Craig Malisow covers crooks, quacks, animal abusers, elected officials, and other assorted people for the Houston Press.
Contact: Craig Malisow