The Indiana Attorney General’s office filed 24 new consumer complaints Thursday against David W. Caswell and his vanity publishing company New Century Publishing for failing to print and promote customers’ books.
The amended complaint, filed in Marion Circuit Court, alleges that Caswell was paid more than $86,000 by 40 different consumers for services never rendered.
The new complaints come on top of 16 originally filed by Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office in August. The lawsuit seeks an injunction against Caswell and Indianapolis-based New Century, restitution of the customers’ money, and penalties up to $5,000 for each time Caswell is shown to have knowingly or intentionally deceived consumers.
Caswell could not be reached for comment. A woman who answered the phone at his home took a message for him, but Caswell did not return it immediately Friday morning.
The number at New Century’s office on West 86th Street has been disconnected.
IBJ first reported about complaints involving New Century Publishing in July.
New Century ‘s business was to help authors self-publish their books, with the company handling half the printing costs and providing layout, editing and promotional services. Many customers have stated that when New Century failed to deliver the books in the time promised, Caswell would promise to deliver them by a new date and also convince the authors to pay additional funds for a promotional website or a table at a book-signing event.
None of the authors mentioned in the lawsuit saw the websites or book signings materialize.
The lawsuit also states that Caswell and his company sought to confuse consumers as they “purposefully interchanged and substituted their corporate, legal, assumed, and fictitious names when soliciting and transacting with customers.”
Caswell has been sued before for questionable business practices.
The state sued Caswell and two others in 2005 for violating its Deceptive Consumer Sales Act while working at GCM Group of Indianapolis Inc., a career services firm. The defendants claimed they had access to a “hidden job market” to assist clients who purchased their services to secure employment.
Under the judgment, Caswell agreed to pay $60,000, including more than $56,000 to the state, in civil penalties and litigation costs, in addition to more than $3,000 in restitution to three consumers.
He also was ordered to cease doing business as a supplier of career services in Indiana.
The state also sued Caswell in 1990 for similar claims while he operated Thomwell Deil and Associates Inc. He then was ordered to pay a total of $39,600, including $16,600 in restitution.
In December 1993, Caswell pleaded guilty in federal court to four counts of interstate transportation of fraudulently obtained money and two counts of failure to file income tax returns. His 14-month sentence was upheld in September 1994 following a failed appeal challenging the calculation of the prison term.