Enforma Natural Products, Inc.; Andrew Grey; Twenty-Four Seven, LLC; Michael Ehrman; and Donna DiFerdinando are banned from advertising or marketing weight-loss products, except exercise programs or equipment, in a settlement of Federal Trade Commission contempt allegations.
The settlement resolves two FTC contempt charges against the two California-based corporations and the three named individuals for allegedly violating the terms of a May 2000 final order by making unsubstantiated and false claims regarding the purported weight-loss products Fat Trapper, Fat Trapper Plus, Exercise In A Bottle, Acceleron, and Chitozyme. The settlement also prohibits the continued use of the trademarks for “Fat Trapper,” “Fat Trapper Plus,” and “Exercise In A Bottle.”
In January 2002, the FTC filed an order to show cause alleging that Enforma, Grey, and Ehrman violated a 2000 order by making unsubstantiated weight-loss claims for the products Fat Trapper, Fat Trapper Plus, and Exercise In A Bottle, and by misrepresenting scientific studies. In July 2002, the FTC filed a second order to show cause alleging that Enforma, Grey, 24/7, and DiFerdinando violated the 2000 order by making similar claims for the weight-loss products Acceleron and Chitozyme.
The settlement announced today bans the above-named individuals and entities from marketing weight-loss products, except exercise programs or equipment. The settlement with Enforma, Grey, 24/7, and Ehrman prohibits them from using or transferring the trade names of Fat Trapper, Fat Trapper Plus, and Exercise In A Bottle, as well as other deceptively named products. The settlement requires Enforma, Grey, 24/7, and Ehrman to pay a total of $300,000 in consumer redress; in addition, the order contains an avalanche clause, under which $4,000,000 would become due immediately if the court finds they misrepresented their financial condition.
In addition, the settlement prohibits the above-named entities and individuals from making any claims about the benefits, performance, or efficacy of any dietary supplement, food, drug, or device unless they have competent and reliable scientific evidence to support such claims. They also are prohibited from misrepresenting the existence, contents, validity, results, conclusions, or interpretations of any test or study for any product, service, or program. In addition, the settlement prohibits them from using advertisements that misrepresent that they are not paid advertising, and requires infomercials of specified lengths to contain disclosures stating they are paid advertisements. Also, the settlement prohibits the sale or rental of any customer list obtained from the sale of any weight-loss product.
The Commission vote authorizing staff to file a stipulated final order as to Enforma Natural Products, Inc.; Andrew Grey; and Michael Ehrman was 5-0. The Commission vote authorizing staff to file a stipulated final order as to Donna DiFerdinando was 5-0. The documents were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The judge signed the orders on January 13, 2005.
NOTE: Stipulated final orders are for settlement purposes only and do not constitute an admission by the defendants or respondents of a law violation. Stipulated final orders have the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the stipulated final order as to defendents Enforma Natural Products, Inc. and Andrew Grey, and as to respondents Twenty-Four Seven, LLC and Michael Ehrman, and the stipulated final order as to respondent Donna DiFerdinando are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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