Christopher Andrew Sterling, a work-at-home opportunity marketer, has been banned from selling work-at-home and business opportunities under a federal court settlement. The FTC sued Sterling in November 2012 as part of “Operation Lost Opportunity,” a federal-state crackdown on scams that falsely promised jobs and opportunities to “be your own boss” to people who are unemployed or underemployed.
The agency charged Sterling with violating the FTC Act and the FTC’s Business Opportunity Rule, which requires business opportunity sellers to provide specific information to help consumers evaluate a business opportunity. The FTC alleged in its complaint that Sterling’s websites (sterlingvisa.com, rebatedataprocessor.com, and creditcardworker.com) falsely promised that consumers could earn up to $1,000 per day from data-entry work processing rebate and credit card applications online, but the claimed earnings and the promised business were not delivered.
In addition to banning Sterling from selling any work-at-home opportunity, and any business opportunity covered by the Business Opportunity Rule, the proposed settlement permanently prohibits him from misrepresenting material facts about any products and services, selling or otherwise benefitting from consumers’ personal information, and failing to properly dispose of customer information. The order imposes a $69,289 judgment that will be suspended based on Sterling’s inability to pay. The full judgment will become due immediately if he is found to have misrepresented his financial condition.
The Commission vote to approve the proposed consent judgment was 4-0. The Department of Justice filed the proposed consent judgment on behalf of the Commission in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. It is subject to court approval.
NOTE: Consent judgments have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
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