A federal district court in Chicago, Illinois, has ordered a firm that used deceptive ads to lure thousands of consumers to invest in home employment opportunity programs and other scams to pay back $16 million and has barred its president from deceptive practices in the future. The Federal Trade Commission had charged that Pase Corporation, and its president, Robert J. Febre, falsely represented that consumers investing in the Pase "work-at-home" programs could reasonably expect to earn specified sums of money by performing certain tasks. The Commission alleged that the defendants used deceptive advertisements and mailings in connection with five of their work-at-home business opportunities and with three programs that purported to offer grants, loans and credit cards to consumers.
Pase, which has shut down, was located in Aurora, Illinois.
According to the complaint detailing the charges in the case, Pase ads made claims such as:
The work-at-home programs Pase was touting induced consumers to do work that generated inquiries regarding financial products or services offered in other Pase programs. The
earnings were not what Pase and Febre touted, and consumers’ costs to participate in the programs were not disclosed until after the consumers had made their initial payments to Pase, according to the FTC.
Other Pase programs were misrepresented as offers of grants or grant agents, as loan services or as credit card offers. The ads that touted them claimed:
In fact, the FTC alleged, after paying between $7.00 and $189.90, consumers learned that the defendants were selling books that contained general information about jobs, money-making opportunities, entities that offered grants, or tax havens, and soliciting consumers’ assistance in selling products for Pase.
Under the order issued by the court, Pase and Febre would be prohibited from making material misrepresentations about any work opportunity program or opportunities to obtain grants, loans, credit cards or other products or services, including misrepresentations about earnings or profits. The order would also require disclosure of any facts material to consumers’ decisions to participate in or purchase their publications, products or services. In addition, Febre and Pase have been ordered to pay $16,096,345.00.
The FTC’s Chicago Regional Office handled the investigation and court case with the assistance of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and the Chicago Better Business Bureau.
Copies of the court documents associated with this case and news releases are available from the FTC’s Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 202- 326-2502. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC’s World Wide Web site at: http://www.ftc.gov
C. Steven Baker or Timothy T. Hughes
Chicago Regional Office
55 East Monroe Street, Suite 1860
Chicago, Illinois 60603
(FTC File NO. 932-3318)
(Civil Action No. 94C 3625)