FTC Wraps Up Case Against Alleged Bogus Business Opportunity Purveyors

Defendants Surrender All Frozen Assets to Settle Charges Over Envelope Stuffing Income

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The Federal Trade Commission has wrapped up its case against the purveyors of an envelope stuffing business opportunity by settling charges with the remaining defendants, who falsely promised that consumers would earn a substantial income merely by stuffing envelopes or mailing brochures. These defendants and their spouses will give up all of their frozen assets.

The FTC charged that the defendants falsely claimed that consumers were likely to earn a substantial amount of money, such as $600 or $2000 per week, by stuffing envelopes or mailing brochures, and that they would not need to sell any products or services to earn it. According to the FTC, however, it was only after consumers invested $60 to $180 that they learned the defendants would pay them only if their mailings resulted in sales (and, even then, consumers never received any income).

The amended complaint named Mark E. Shelton, Wholesale Marketing Group, LLC, Wholesale Marketing Group, Inc., Jeremy Wilson, individually and doing business as Pure Home Air Profits, Robert M. Gomez, Luis D. Aviles, and Carl J. Shelton, Jr., as defendants. In addition, the amended complaint named Marianne Shelton, Julie Shelton, and M. Edward Shelton Hypnotherapy, LLC, as relief defendants. According to the FTC, the relief defendants, while not accused of wrongdoing, received monies to which they were not entitled.

Four of the named defendants, Wholesale Marketing Group, LLC, Wholesale Marketing Group, Inc., Robert M. Gomez, and Luis D. Aviles, settled with the Commission last year. Two additional defendants, Carl J. Shelton, Jr. and Jeremy Wilson, and all three relief defendants are now settling. These defendants will give up all of their frozen assets. In addition, the orders entered against Carl J. Shelton, Jr. and Jeremy Wilson prohibit misrepresentations about any goods or services and include suspended monetary judgments of $1,493,793.69, which would become due if it is found that they misrepresented their financial status. The Court also entered monetary judgments against Julie Shelton for $83,350 and Shelton Hypnotherapy for $16,750. Again, the full judgments would become due if it is found that they misrepresented their financial status. There is no suspended monetary judgment for Marianne Shelton because she is turning over the total amount of the fraudulent funds that she received.

In addition, the FTC also announces that it has dismissed the amended complaint against Mark E. Shelton following a separate Court finding that he was in contempt of a previous order. He is now under a modified court order.

The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the stipulated final orders was 5-0. The stipulated final orders for permanent injunction were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

NOTE: These stipulated final orders are for settlement purposes only and do not constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. A stipulated final order requires approval by the court and has the force of law when signed by the judge.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, click http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.shtm or call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click http://ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm.

Contact Information

Jackie Dizdul
Office of Public Affairs
Victor DeFrancis
Bureau of Consumer Protection
Yaa Apori
Bureau of Consumer Protection