Operation Allegedly Took More Than $14 Million From Consumers Seeking to Start Their Own Online Business; Operation’s Defendants Falsely Claimed Consumers Could Earn Substantial Income
On February 8, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission announced that at the FTC’s request, a federal court temporarily halted an operation that took more than $14 million from consumers seeking to start their own online business. The operation misrepresented that its purported business coaching program would enable consumers to earn substantial income, such as “six figures in 90 days or less.”
According to the FTC, the defendants, Digital Altitude LLC, Digital Altitude Limited, Aspire Processing LLC, Aspire Processing Limited, Aspire Ventures Ltd, Disc Enterprises Inc., RISE Systems & Enterprise LLC (Utah), RISE Systems & Enterprise LLC (Nevada), The Upside LLC, Thermography for Life LLX, also doing business as Living Exceptionally Inc., and Michael Force, Mary Dee, Morgan Johnson, Alan Moore and Sean Brown, induced consumers to pay for a series of tiered memberships with increasing fees, falsely claiming that consumers would learn how to make substantial income with an online business. The defendants promised consumers they would receive individualized coaching from successful marketers that would provide what they needed to build a successful business, but, in reality, these were merely salespeople selling higher membership levels in the defendants’ program.
The defendants, which were charged with violating the FTC Act, promoted their scheme via webpages and social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, and offered their marketing materials for consumers to use in posting their own ads touting the scheme. The FTC’s complaint states that most of defendants’ customers never earn substantial income, including some people who were charged more than $50,000.
The FTC vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint was 2-0, and the United States District Court, Central District of California, issued a temporary restraining order against the defendants on February 1, 2018.