While winter snows have melted, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has not forgotten about Illinois consumers allegedly scammed out of $8,000 by a snow plow operator who took payments from suburban consumers then took off without doing the work.
Citing 34 complaints from consumers, Madigan has filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court against Chicago-based 1-888-SNOW-PLW Inc., for snow plow services paid for but never received.
1-888-SNOW-PLW Inc., is reportedly an unregistered subsidiary of 1 (888) SNOW-PLW LLC, a Nevada limited liability company that is registered to do business in Illinois. The local operation is run by Christian J. Schroeder, also known as Christopher J. Schroeder, a Bensenville resident.
Consumers from several north suburban communities filed the complaints, including residents from Glencoe, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Northbrook and Wilmette. In some instances, the local police departments referred victims to Madigan’s office.
“Snow during a Chicago winter is almost guaranteed, but with this action today, we hope to guarantee that the defendant will be out of business by the next snowfall,” Madigan said. “No matter what season, con artists will find a way to scam people. This is one snow job that won’t be back.”
Madigan’s complaint charges Schroeder with multiple violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act and alleges he advertised, offered for sale and sold seasonal snow plowing services but never performed the services or refunded the money. According to the complaint, Schroeder not only failed to do the work he was contracted and paid to do, but also lacked equipment and personnel to perform the work.
Schroeder’s contracts allegedly required residential and commercial clients to pay in advance for either partial service or a full winter’s worth of snow plow service. According to complaints filed with the Attorney General’s Office, Schroeder collected amounts ranging from $70 to $440 for his services, with the majority of his clients paying $225 for a full season of snow plowing service.
Madigan’s complaint also charges Schroeder with operating a business in Illinois using an assumed business name and failing to register to do business in the state. Allegedly, Schroeder registered his company as 1 (888) SNOW PLW LLC, in Nevada. He subsequently changed the name to 1-888-SNOW-PLW Inc., when he began operating in Illinois.
Madigan’s complaint seeks to prohibit Schroeder, 1-888-SNOW-PLW Inc., and 1 (888) SNOW-PLW LLC, from conducting similar business in Illinois. Madigan is also seeking restitution to consumers, civil penalties of $50,000 for each violation of the Act and additional penalties of $50,000 for each violation that the court finds the defendant committed with intent to deceive.
Schroeder currently is being held without bail in the DuPage County Jail on unrelated criminal charges and faces additional, unrelated criminal charges lodged by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Lake Forest Police Department.
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