Antitrust Lawyer Blog Commentary on Current Developments

FTC Settle with Business Opportunity Scammers

On February 19, 2014, the FTC settled with several companies and individuals, banning them from selling business, “mystery shopper” and “work-at-home scams,” in addition to surrendering their assets to the FTC.

These scams seek to trick customers to sign-up for “work-at-home” and “mystery shopper” schemes with an upfront fee, and then charging the members a monthly fee under negative-option (i.e. consumers must ‘opt-out’ before the fees are stopped). Consumers who attempt to get their money back usually receive no response, or a call-back that tries another pitch to the caller. The scammers are also engaged in sending unauthorized text messages and other kinds of spam to recruit potential “customers.”

The settlement order against Moysich, Concept Rocket, Revenue Works, Shopper Select and Shopper Systems, bans them from selling business or work-at-home opportunities, sending unauthorized text messages, and selling products or services with negative-option features.  The settlement order against Brosseau and EMZ Ventures bans them from selling business or work-at-home opportunities and sending unauthorized text messages.  The settlement orders impose a judgment of more than $40.5 million against these defendants, which will be suspended when the Moysich defendants have surrendered $55,000 in frozen assets, and the Brosseau defendants have surrendered $88,000 in frozen assets and nearly $270,000 from the sale of property in Georgia, Vermont.

The settlement order against Keith R. Powell and The Veracity Group bans them from selling business or work-at-home opportunities.  It also imposes a judgment of more than $14.8 million, which will be suspended when Powell has surrendered his assets, including more than $115,000, to the FTC, and the Veracity Group has surrendered telecommunication equipment to a court-appointed receiver for liquidation.  As stipulated in all three orders, the full monetary judgments will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their respective financial conditions.

 

Mark Ye
202-589-1834
mye@dbmlawgroup.com