(BOISE) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden today announced a judgment against Eli B. Karabell, a purported political consultant from Missouri who sent a $480 million invoice to Idaho Sen. Mark Harris. The invoice was for services Karabell never provided and Harris never requested. The judgment permanently prohibits Karabell from doing business in Idaho.
“Billing a consumer for unordered services is unlawful,” Wasden said. “But spontaneously sending a bill for $480 million to a state senator is one of the most unusual things I’ve seen.”
In April 2021, Harris received an invoice from St. Louis-based Karabell Industries, LLC. The invoice demanded the senator pay $480 million for “IP targeting and general caucus retention work for Idaho GOP Majority Slate [sic] Leadership Committee and affiliated PACs.”
Harris never agreed to purchase any goods or services from Karabell and informed Karabell to cease all contact. Ignoring Harris’s request, Karabell submitted the bill to a collection agency and included a modified copy of the invoice that included the senator’s forged signature. The collection agency, recognizing the invoice was fraudulent, alerted Harris. Wasden’s office sued Karabell in July 2021.
“I appreciate the Office of the Attorney General, and especially his Consumer Protection Division, for their immediate attention to this unfortunate and alarming emailed invoice I received from Karabell Industries,” Harris said. “Idahoans can be proud of the protection their Attorney General provides to our citizens.”
The lawsuit, filed in Ada County District Court, alleged Karabell violated the Idaho Consumer Protection Act and the Idaho Rules of Consumer Protection. Over the next several months, Karabell sent dozens of emails to Wasden and the court, demanding dismissal of the suit.
The February 2 judgment against Karabell requires him to pay the Office of the Attorney General $10,780 in civil penalties and attorney’s fees. It also prohibits him from:
- sending invoices to Idaho consumers for unordered goods or services;
- attempting to collect debts in Idaho that consumers do not owe; and
- advertising or selling goods or services in Idaho or to Idaho consumers.