FTC Shuts Down Business Opportunity Scam
As posted on February 19, 2014 on www.ftc.gov
Several companies and individuals have agreed to settlements with the Federal Trade Commission that ban them from selling business or work-at-home opportunities and require them to surrender assets to the FTC.
As part of the FTC’s ongoing crackdown on scams that falsely promise business opportunities targeted to unemployed or underemployed people, in October 2012, the FTC filed a complaint against Shopper Systems LLC, Revenue Works LLC (also doing business as Surplus Supplier), EMZ Ventures LLC, The Veracity Group LP, Brett Brosseau, Michael Moysich and Keith R. Powell.
The settlement orders resolve charges that the defendants misled consumers who were seeking to run their own business providing mystery shopping services to retailers, and tricked them into paying money to join programs with recurring monthly charges.
Along with the settlement orders announced today, a federal court approved the filing of an amended complaint adding Concept Rocket LLC and Shopper Select LLC as defendants, and Georgia Farm House Land Holdings LLC, PKP Holdings, Stephanie Powell, and Sportsmen of North America LP as relief defendants who profited from the scheme but did not participate in it.
The settlement order against Moysich, Concept Rocket, Revenue Works, Shopper Select and Shopper Systems, bans them from selling business or work-at-home opportunities, sending unauthorized text messages, and selling products or services with negative-option features. The settlement order against Brosseau and EMZ Ventures bans them from selling business or work-at-home opportunities and sending unauthorized text messages. The settlement orders impose a judgment of more than $40.5 million against these defendants, which will be suspended when the Moysich defendants have surrendered $55,000 in frozen assets, and the Brosseau defendants have surrendered $88,000 in frozen assets and nearly $270,000 from the sale of property in Georgia, Vermont.
The settlement order against Keith R. Powell and The Veracity Group bans them from selling business or work-at-home opportunities. It also imposes a judgment of more than $14.8 million, which will be suspended when Powell has surrendered his assets, including more than $115,000, to the FTC, and the Veracity Group has surrendered telecommunication equipment to a court-appointed receiver for liquidation. As stipulated in all three orders, the full monetary judgments will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their respective financial conditions.
The Commission vote to file the proposed consent judgments and an amended complaint in December 2013 was 2-0-2, with Commissioner Ohlhausen not participating and Commissioner Wright abstaining. The judgments were entered by the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on January 23, 2014.