Class-Action Suit Calls Sweepstakes a Fraud
The $11-million sweepstakes offered by American Family Publishers is a fraudulent scheme to get people to buy magazines, according to allegations in a class-action lawsuit filed by two professors at Georgetown University on behalf of Maryland residents who received promotional sweepstakes material. The suit alleges American Family, partially owned by New York-based Time Warner Inc., intentionally designed the mailings to mislead recipients into believing they were getting closer to winning the $11 million, especially if they bought magazines. Earlier this month, the Tampa, Fla.-based firm promised to stop national distribution of two of its mailings that Florida officials said were deceptive. The suit seeks to have the firm stop misleading mailings in Maryland. It also asks for damages. American Family had not seen the lawsuit and had no comment, said a spokeswoman. The suit also names celebrities Dick Clark and Ed McMahon, who promote the sweepstakes. Clark’s publicist said he was not available for comment, and McMahon’s publicist did not return calls for comment.