Defendant Faces Jail if He Fails to Comply or Prove Inability to Pay Within 60 Days
At the request of the Federal Trade Commission and Florida’s Attorney General, a federal court has found FTC defendant Robert Douglas Krotzer in contempt of court for violating a 2012 final order that required him to turn over $732,480 to compensate victims of his phony “alcoholism cure” scam.
In its ruling against Robert Douglas Krotzer, the owner of Alcoholism Cure Corporation, the U.S. District Court in Jacksonville, Florida found that Krotzer’s claims that he is not able to comply with the payment requirements were not credible. The court also found that Krotzer failed to disclose what happened to the company’s ill-gotten gains, and failed to comply with a range of other provisions in the 2012 order.
In a complaint filed jointly in March 2010, the agencies charged that the defendants lured consumers with deceptive claims on their websites, including that their program “cures alcoholism while allowing alcoholics to drink socially” and “is scientifically proven to cure alcoholism.” The ads also falsely claimed that the program was “virtually free;” that the company had a “team of doctors” with expertise in addictive diseases; and that members' personal information and health details would be kept private.
In July 2012, the district court ruled in favor of the FTC and the Florida Attorney General, ordering the defendants to pay more than $700,000. The court had previously imposed a number of prohibitions on the defendants, including a ban on marketing or selling any treatment or cure for alcoholism, drug addiction, or any other health-related problem.
In his latest decision finding Krotzer in contempt, the judge ruled that to avoid going to prison, within 60 days Krotzer must: 1) pay $8,099 in proceeds received by Krotzer from his alcoholism cure customers after the 2012 order’s entry; 2) produce comprehensive documentation of his inability to pay the full $732,480 judgment; 3) provide a detailed accounting of all money Alcoholism Cure Corporation or Alcoholism Cure Foundation received after the order was entered; and 4) provide a number of other financial details, including any assets transferred to his wife after 2005.
The civil contempt action was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division, and the court issued the contempt ruling on October 7, 2015.
The FTC acknowledges the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus for its referral in this case.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers 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, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs
Bureau of Consumer Protection