FTC Secures Full Proceeds of Business Opportunity Scammer's $100,000 Performance Bond

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For Release

The Federal Trade Commission today announced that it has successfully secured the proceeds of repeat offender Richard Neiswonger’s $100,000 performance bond. Last year, in a civil contempt case brought by the Commission, a U.S. district judge found Neiswonger in contempt for violating the terms of a 1997 permanent injunction by deceptively marketing business opportunities and failing to provide proof of his bond to the Commission, among other things. Until now, the company that issued the bond had refused to pay the Commission in full.

Case Background

In May 2007, the FTC announced a court order holding Neiswonger in contempt and banning him from telemarketing or selling any type of business opportunity program to consumers (see press release at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/05/neiswonger.shtm). The civil contempt order, issued by Senior U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, found that Neiswonger, his business partner William S. Reed, and their firm, Asset Protection Group, Inc., had violated the terms of a 1997 permanent injunction obtained by the Commission that: 1) prohibited them from promoting any program through misrepresentations of material facts; 2) prohibited them from promoting any program without disclosing all material facts to consumers; and 3) required written proof of a $100,000 performance bond to the Commission before marketing any program.

After the imposition of the contempt order, the Commission filed a claim to secure the proceeds of Neiswonger’s $100,000 performance bond, which Neiswonger had not disclosed to the Commission and ultimately failed to renew. When Platte River Insurance Company, the surety that provided the bond to Neiswonger, failed to pay the Commission, the FTC authorized the staff to refer a complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice seeking to secure the bond. Platte River subsequently agreed to pay the full amount to the Commission, and the money has now been paid in full.

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://www.ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm.

(FTC File Nos.: 962 3134; X970012; Civil Action No.: 4:96CV02225 SNL)
(Platte River.wpd)

Contact Information

Mitchell J. Katz,
Office of Public Affairs
Joshua S. Millard,
Bureau of Consumer Protection