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FTC's Operation Broken Promises Targets Business Opportunity Scams

The FTC and its law enforcment partners announced more than 90 enforcement actions against alleged business opportunity scams that promise guaranteed jobs and “be your own boss” opportunities.

Operation Broken Promises includes three new FTC cases and developments in seven other matters, as well as criminal actions by the Department of Justice, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and various state law enforcement agencies in Alaska, California, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

The new FTC actions announced are:

Ivy Capital Inc. and 29 co-defendants allegedly have taken more than $40 million from people who paid Ivy Capital to help them develop their own Internet businesses, with the promise of earning up to $10,000 per month. Consumers paid up to $20,000 for a business coaching program and related products and services but, accroding to the complaint, got very little in return.

National Sales Group, Anthony J. Newton, Jeremy S. Cooley, and I Life Marketing LLC, also doing business as Executive Sales Network and Certified Sales Jobs, allegedly made false claims to consumers about employment opportunities. According to the FTC’s complaint, they advertised nonexistent sales jobs with good pay and benefits on CareerBuilder.com and other online job sites, and their telemarketers falsely told consumers the company recruited for Fortune 1000 employers and had a unique ability to get them interviewed and hired. The FTC alleged that the defendants charged fees they said covered background checks and other services, and often overcharged, taking $97 from consumers who had agreed to pay $29 or $38.

Business Recovery Services LLC and Brian Hessler allegedly telemarketed products and services they falsely claimed would help consumers recover money they had lost to business opportunity and work-at-home operations. According to the FTC complaint, they sold hundreds of variations of do-it-yourself kits tailored to particular schemes and priced up to $499. The FTC alleged that they violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule by misrepresenting the nature and effectiveness of their services, and accepting advance payments from consumers for recovering money lost in previous telemarketing transactions without waiting seven business days for the consumers to receive the recovered money, as required by the Rule.

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