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Annuity Service Center Settles Case Involving Deceptive Marketing Practices That Targeted Wisconsin Senior Citizens

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Justice has settled a civil action against Peter J. Bonnell, Linda Schurr, and Investors Union, LLC d/b/a/ Annuity Service Center.


The complaint filed in Dane County alleges that the defendants violated Wisconsin's consumer protection laws by deceptively mailing more than 65,000 solicitations to elderly Wisconsin residents for the purpose of inducing the recipients to schedule meetings with local licensed insurance agents.


The solicitations, in the form of postcards, were deceptive in that recipients were led to believe an annuity in their name may have reached its surrender period. The postcards urged each recipient to telephone the defendants in order to deal with the annuity when, in fact, the true purpose of the postcard was to get the recipient to schedule an appointment to discuss the purchase of new insurance products.


The judgment, signed by Judge Sumi of Dane County Circuit Court, orders the defendants to cease all direct mail or telephone solicitations to Wisconsin residents for purchase of life insurance, annuities, or similar insurance products.


In addition, the defendants are required to pay a total of $15,000 in civil forfeitures and related penalties.


"The Department of Justice will vigorously prosecute cases involving attempts to take advantage of Wisconsin's senior citizens through deceptive marketing practices," said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.


The case was filed and negotiated by Assistant Attorney General Cynthia Hirsch. The case was investigated by the Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection in cooperation with the State Office of Insurance Commissioner.