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Automators

As a result of a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit, a federal court has temporarily shut down a business opportunity scheme that lured consumers to invest $22 million in online stores, using unfounded claims about income and profits. The operators of Automators also claimed to use artificial intelligence to ensure success and profitability for consumers who agreed to invest with Automators.

In addition to offering consumers high return as “passive investors” in profitable e-stores, Automators, which previously used the names Empire and Onyx Distribution, also offered to teach consumers how to successfully set up and manage e-stores themselves using a “proven system” and the powers of artificial intelligence.

The owners of a money-making scheme that claimed to use artificial intelligence to boost earnings for consumers’ e-commerce storefronts have agreed to surrender millions in assets to settle the FTC’s case against them. In addition, all the businesses and two of their owners face a lifetime ban on selling business opportunities or coaching programs involving ecommerce stores.

Type of Action
Federal
Last Updated
Case Status
Pending

Vision Online Inc. and Ganadores IBR, Inc., FTC v.

Under the terms of proposed federal court orders, several defendants in the case—including the companies behind Ganadores, the companies’ owners and managers Richard and Sara Alvarez, and an employee who played a key role in the marketing of the scheme, Bryce Chamberlain—will be permanently banned from selling ecommerce or real estate coaching services and will be required to turn over substantial assets to the FTC, which will be used to provide refunds to consumers harmed by the scam

Type of Action
Federal
Last Updated
FTC Matter/File Number
212 3056
Case Status
Pending

Traffic and Funnels, LLC., FTC v.

The Federal Trade Commission has obtained proposed orders against the operators of a wide-ranging scheme known as “The Sales Mentor” that made millions by falsely promising consumers that they could make big money from telemarketing sales.

The defendants have agreed to proposed court orders that would require them to pay a total of $1 million for consumer refunds.

In a federal court complaint, the FTC charged the Tennessee-based group of companies, their owners, their officers, and a former sales director with deceiving consumers to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for supposed telemarketing training programs that rarely, if ever, delivered on what was promised. In addition, the FTC said the companies continued to make deceptive earnings claims even after they received the FTC’s Notices of Penalty Offenses on money-making opportunities and on endorsements and testimonials warning them that such conduct is illegal.

Type of Action
Federal
Last Updated
FTC Matter/File Number
2223071
Case Status
Pending

Financial Education Services

The Federal Trade Commission has taken action against Financial Education Services and its owners, Parimal Naik, Michael Toloff, Christopher Toloff and Gerald Thompson, as well as a number of related companies, for scamming consumers out of more than $213 million.

In response to a complaint filed by the FTC, a federal court has temporarily shut down the sprawling bogus credit repair scheme. The FTC’s complaint alleges that the company preys on consumers with low credit scores by luring them in with the false promise of an easy fix and then recruiting them to join a pyramid scheme selling the same worthless credit repair services to others. 

According to the FTC’s complaint, Michigan-based Financial Education Services, also doing business as United Wealth Services, has operated its scheme since at least 2015. The company claims to offer consumers the ability to remove negative information from credit reports and increase credit scores by hundreds of points, charging as much as $89 per month for their services. Their techniques, according to the complaint, are rarely effective and in many instances harm consumer’s credit scores.

Type of Action
Federal
Last Updated
FTC Matter/File Number
2223030
Case Status
Pending

Lurn

The Federal Trade Commission is taking action to stop Lurn, a Maryland-based online business coaching seller, from making unfounded claims that consumers can make significant income by starting an array of online businesses. The company, its CEO Anik Singal, and spokespeople Tyrone Cohen and David Kettner have agreed to court orders that will require them to stop their unlawful practices, and require Lurn and Singal to turn over $2.5 million to the FTC to be used to refund money to consumers they harmed.

Type of Action
Administrative
Last Updated
Case Status
Pending

James D. Noland, Jr. (Success by Health)

A federal court granted the Federal Trade Commission’s request to temporarily shut down an alleged pyramid scheme known as “Success By Health,” and to freeze the assets of the company and its executives.

In May 2023, a federal court sided with the Federal Trade Commission, ruling that James D. Noland, Jr. illegally owned and operated two pyramid schemes—Success By Health (SBH) and VOZ Travel—in violation of the FTC Act and that Noland violated a previous federal court order barring him from pyramid schemes and from misrepresenting multilevel marketing participants’ income potential.

Type of Action
Federal
Last Updated
FTC Matter/File Number
X0100166
Case Status
Pending

Blessings in No Time

The Federal Trade Commission and the state of Arkansas sued the operators of a “blessing loom” investment program, alleging that it has operated as an illegal pyramid scheme that bilked tens of millions of dollars from thousands of consumers, and targeted African Americans and harmed people struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In their joint complaint, the FTC and Arkansas charged that the operators of Blessings in No Time (“BINT”) have lured people into joining their program by falsely promising investment returns as high as 800 percent. The complaint alleges that some BINT members paid as much as $62,700 to participate. In reality, though, as in other pyramid schemes, the vast majority of participants have lost money, the complaint alleges.

BINT’s operators are banned from the business of multi-level marketing as a result of enforcement actions taken by the Federal Trade Commission and the State of Arkansas alleging the operation of an illegal pyramid scheme.

Type of Action
Federal
Last Updated
FTC Matter/File Number
2123043
X210020
Case Status
Closed

Nudge, LLC

As a result of a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission and the Utah Division of Consumer Protection (DCP), the principals of a Utah-based real estate investment training company will pay $15 million and be banned from selling money-making opportunities under a court order they have agreed to. In addition, two of the primary real estate celebrities who endorsed the training have agreed to orders that require them to pay $1.7 million.

Type of Action
Federal
Last Updated
FTC Matter/File Number
182 3016