Defendants Who Took Part in Business Coaching Scheme Settle FTC Charges

Consumers were told they could earn income through online businesses

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Five deceptive marketers and the companies they ran are banned from selling business coaching programs and investment opportunities, and from credit card laundering and telemarketing, under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

The settlement order resolves the FTC’s case against key players in a work-at-home scheme that, operating as Coaching Department, Apply Knowledge, and other names, conned millions of dollars from consumers by falsely promising they could earn substantial income by purchasing business coaching services. Consumers lost thousands – sometimes tens of thousands – of dollars each.

The settling defendants are two of the scheme’s ringleaders, Phillip Edward Gannuscia II and Richard Scott Nemrow, Gannuscia’s wife, Jessica Bjarnson, Jeffrey Nicol, Thomas J. Riskas III, Dahm International LLC, Dominion of Virgo Investments Inc., Essent Media LLC, EVI LLC, Nemrow Consulting LLC, Novus North LLC, Purple Buffalo LLC, 365DailyFit LLC, and Vensure International LLC.

In addition to the banned activities, the settlement order prohibits the defendants from profiting from consumers’ personal information collected as part of the challenged practices, and failing to dispose of it properly.

The order imposes a $19,214,950.40 judgment that will be partially suspended when the defendants have surrendered certain assets, including $854,200 from Gannuscia and Bjarnson, $160,800 from Nemrow, $12,000 from Riskas, $2,000 from Nicol, and additional sums from their companies. The full judgment will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.

The Commission vote approving the stipulated final order was 2-0. It was entered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah on April 27, 2018.

NOTE: Stipulated final orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

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Office of Public Affairs
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Bureau of Consumer Protection
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