Consumers Were Told They Could Earn Income Through Online Businesses
A Utah man and three companies he controls have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they assisted a deceptive work-at-home scheme that the FTC charged, in February 2014, with conning millions of dollars from consumers. The scheme, which did business as Coaching Department and Apply Knowledge, among other names, falsely promised consumers they could earn thousands of dollars a month by purchasing business coaching services. Consumers lost thousands – sometimes tens of thousands – of dollars each.
Under the settlement order announced today, Ken Sonnenberg, Apply Knowledge LLC, eVertex Solutions LLC, and Supplier Source LLC are prohibited from making claims, or assisting others in making claims, about likely earnings without reliable, written substantiation. They are also barred from violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and from misrepresenting endorsements, material aspects of investment opportunities, and material facts, such as the total purchase cost, performance characteristics, and any restrictions or conditions on the use of a product or service. The order imposes a $500,000 judgement against the companies.
Under a related settlement reached in June 2015, David Gregory Bevan was banned from selling business coaching programs and prohibited from making false earnings claims, misrepresenting investment opportunities and material facts about any product or service, profiting from customers’ personal information, and failing to dispose of it properly. A $32.3 million judgment against Bevan was suspended upon payment of $116,871.19.
Litigation continues against six individuals and 11 corporate defendants.
The Commission vote approving the stipulated final order was 4-0. The order was entered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah on February 16, 2016.
NOTE: Stipulated final orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
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