US Fidelis

(St. Charles County Dept. of Corrections)

The St. Charles County man who once helped run the largest seller of extended auto warranty contracts will spend eight years in federal prison for bilking customers out of millions of dollars.

Darain Atkinson pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax charges in April. He was sentenced to the maximum of eight years today, and must also pay $4 million in restitution.

St. Charles County Department of Corrections

A former co-owner of auto service contract seller US Fidelis has been sentenced to more than three years in federal prison.

Cory Atkinson of Lake St. Louis, Mo., was sentenced Tuesday in St. Louis. He pleaded guilty in June to federal fraud and tax evasion charges. He also faces sentencing Sept. 28 on state charges of insurance fraud, consumer fraud and stealing.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Quinn to announce plan to address Illinois' drought

Gov. Pat Quinn plans  a visit to a southern Illinois farm today. The Illinois Farm Bureau says that so far, it's the sixth driest year on record. The average precipitation of the first half of the year was 12.6 inches. Much of Illinois' corn and soybean crop is suffering. Farm officials say southern Illinois is experiencing the worst of it.  Quinn is expected to detail whatever government relief may be available to drought-affected growers and ranchers.

St. Charles County Department of Corrections

Updated at 6:15 am Wednesday with comments from U.S. attorney

For the second time in four days, the former co-owner of a once prominent marketer of auto service contracts has pleaded guilty.

Cory Atkinson of Lake St. Louis, Mo., on Monday pleaded guilty to federal charges including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and filing false tax returns. On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to state charges that included insurance fraud and stealing.

St. Charles County Department of Corrections

The former co-owner of a once prominent marketer of auto service contracts has pleaded guilty to misleading consumers, insurance fraud and stealing.

Cory Atkinson's guilty plea was announced Thursday by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. Sentencing is Sept. 28 and Koster's office said Atkinson could get up to four years in prison.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Court approves $1.5 million settlement with former US Fidelis employees

More than 550 former employees of the auto services contract giant US  Fidelis will share in a nearly one point five million dollar settlement reached in bankruptcycourt.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Wednesday’s deal settles claims by the workers that they were not properly warned before being laid off.

(St. Charles County Dept. of Corrections)

One of two brothers who owned the auto services contract giant US Fidelis has pleaded guilty to federal charges - just four days after admitting to a series of state charges.

Darain Atkinson, 47, pleaded guilty today to one felony count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and one felony count of filing false tax returns. 

(St. Charles County Department of Corrections)

Updated at 4:08 with comments from Attorney General Koster and Darain Atkinson's attorney.

Updated 3:58 with statement from the Better Business Bureau:

“US Fidelis left a trail of dissatisfied consumers from across the United States.  Today’s guilty plea by Darain Atkinson in St. Charles County illustrates the risks of unethical business behavior and the importance of the work of groups like the Better Business Bureau in exposing the underhanded practices in our marketplace,” Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO said.

St. Charles County Department of Corrections.

The millionaire brothers who ran US Fidelis, the country’s largest auto-warranty service provider have been indicted on multiple felony charges.

Darain and Cory Atkinson founded US Fidelis in 2003 selling the kind of extended auto warranties often advertised in junk mail or TV.

Over a three-year period the Better Business Bureau received over a thousand complaints and 33,000 inquiries.

The Better Business Bureau received more than 200 complaints nationwide about an auto warranty marketer based in suburban St. Louis.

Stop Repair Bills of St. Peters also is getting an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau.

The company markets auto repair plans, but Bill Smith, a trade practice investigator with the BBB, says customers are missing the fine print.

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