Iowa Kicks Out Fake Extra-Terrestrials: International Astrology Foundation Ordered To Leave Iowans Alone
A judge has ordered the International Astrology Foundation to leave Iowa’s people alone. According to the order, Joseph Meisels and his Foundation are required to pay back over $13k to people who were tricked by its letters, to pay an additional $20k fine, and to stop sending solicitations to Iowa.
According to KIMT, Iowans, particularly elderly people, recieved letters that were purportedly from psychics, astrologists, professors, and even aliens — aliens who claimed to have been sent to Earth just to prevent something bad from happening to the recipient. Somehow, these characters justified that, in order to prevent disaster from falling upon the recipient of the letter, they needed to be paid – $50, $70, $100, or more.
The Des Moines Register reports that in many cases the letters promised to repair bad luck and loneliness.
The order was broad — the International Astrology Foundation isn’t just to stop claiming to be psychic, but can’t send Iowans any letters relating to the matters of:
psychics, clairvoyants, spiritualists, mediums, astrologers, diviners, fortune tellers, practitioners of the occult, extraterrestrial beings, or comparable entities.
Aside from claiming to be extraterrestrials, the Foundation included in their letters fake testimonials from made-up people with stolen photos. In one case, a letter included a note from a Professor Magnum Demorath, chairman of the International Conference of Astrologers and Psychics, in an attempt to make the letter appear more official.
The photo that purported to be of Professor Demorath was actually an image of Ben Bernanke, former U.S. Federal Reserve Board chairman.
The Foundation has virtually no web presence — there are a few mentions of it with the Better Business Bureau, but only the vaguest mentions of customer complaints, with no follow-up. None of the three members (Meisels, Olga Rosenfeld and Sharon Buchwald) who signed the consent judgment, agreeing to pay back the fines, appear on social media, at least under the names with which they signed.
Doubtful News suggests this is a common tactic — keep a low profile, and soon the scam artists can return to the business (if they haven’t already) simply aiming at a different state, or ditching the name International Astrology Foundation in favor of some new title.