New Sweepstakes Settlement

If you get mail from Ed McMahon and Dick Clark saying you're a winner in their magazine sweepstakes, it should be the truth. But too often it's not, say consumer watchdogs.

Saturday, American Family Publishers agreed to stop sending out letters that make people think they've won millions when there's actually no check in the mail.

It's part of a $4 million settlement with Indiana, West Virginia, South Carolina and Florida, which claimed American Family Publishers put profits above principles.

Bob Butterworth, Florida attorney general said, "And because of their deceptions, countless Americans were duped into making purchases they could not afford."

Americans like Richard Lusk, who dropped thousands of dollars on magazines thinking it would improve his odds of winning millions.

Based on those "You're a Winner" letters he got, he even traveled from his home in California to the sweepstakes offices in Tampa, Florida, twice to collect winnings that didn't exist.

Now, American Family Publishers will stop sending letters that make it appear as if someone is a winner or finalist when they're not.

And, will send special letters to people who spend more than $300 a year on magazines, reminding them that no purchase is necessary.

Also, Spokesmen Ed McMahon and Dick Clark have agreed to donate $10,000 each to charity.

Still, American Family Publishers admits no wrongdoing, but has already made similar settlements with at least 35 other states.

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