Darain Atkinson and his brother Cory built multi-million dollar homes as on the banks of Lake St. Louis while running U.S. Fidelis. These photos are of Darain's home, which cost nearly $30,000,000 to construct according to the creditors.
The following statement was released November 8, 2010 by the office of Iowa Attorney General Tim Miller. It tells provides a closer look at the story of the Atkinson brothers and U.S. Fidelis.
DES MOINES, Iowa -- State Attorney General Tom Miller announced today that his office, and the offices of ten other state attorneys general, have obtained judgments against the owners of a former Missouri company, barring them from ever again selling auto service contracts or engaging in telemarketing in Iowa and the other states.
The defendants in the judgments, Cory Atkinson and Darain Atkinson, founded and owned U.S. Fidelis, operating under the business names National Auto Warranty Services and Dealer Services. U.S. Fidelis, was a Missouri corporation located in Wentzville, Missouri, is the remaining defendant in the lawsuit filed by the Attorney General last April and is currently in bankruptcy in Missouri. The company has been out of business for some time.
Miller said that, in addition to barring service contract sales and telemarketing, the judgment severely restricts how the Atkinson brothers may advertise other products or services. Miller said that the judgments were obtained by agreement with the Atkinson brothers and included a written agreement in the U.S. Fidelis bankruptcy requiring them to turn over nearly all their assets to the bankruptcy estate to pay back creditors, including consumers.
According to the lawsuits filed by the various states, consumers nationwide paid the Atkinsons’ company thousands of dollars for overpriced service contracts that were sold through illegal and deceptive means. Darain and Cory Atkinson, are accused of plundering $101 million in corporate assets for their own personal gain.
“This is a case where many consumers tried to take advantage of U.S. Fidelis offers supposedly to extend the warranty on their vehicles. Instead, U.S. Fidelis took advantage of many consumers,” said Miller.
In the lawsuits filed by Miller and the other attorneys general the states accused the defendants of a variety of consumer fraud violations stemming from deceptive junk mail, illegal telemarketing robocalls, and misleading TV ads. They alleged the company’s solicitations misled consumers to believe their auto warranties had expired or would soon expire and confused customers into thinking that they were being contacted by a manufacturer or other entity affiliated with their original vehicle warranty. Many consumers who were led to believe they were purchasing a warranty providing “bumper to bumper” coverage of all major repairs later found the contracts full of exemptions.
The states also accused the defendants of violating Do-Not-Call laws and using technology to bypass caller ID and mask the origin of sales calls, refusing to allow consumers an opportunity to review the complete written service contracts, denying valid refund requests, improperly obtaining consumers’ personal information and violating state licensing and registration laws.
Miller’s office obtained the consent judgments today from Polk County District Court Judge Robert Hanson. In settling with the states, Darain and Cory Atkinson denied any wrongdoing but agreed to surrender at least 90 percent of their assets pursuant to the related bankruptcy agreement, including assets from 20 related corporations.