At FTC’s Request, U.S. Court Hands Down Record $478 Million Judgment Against Marketers of Massive Get-Rich-Quick Infomercial Scams

WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 24, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a U.S. district court ordered the marketers of three get-rich-quick systems, including “John Beck’s Free & Clear Real Estate System,” to pay a record $478 million for deceiving close to one million consumers with phony claims that they could make easy money using their programs. The Order also imposes a lifetime ban that puts three of the defendants permanently out of the infomercial and telemarketing businesses.

The Order comes about four months after the court granted the FTC’s request for summary judgment against the marketers, concluding that they misled consumers using the infomercials for the John Beck program, as well as “John Alexander’s Real Estate Riches in 14 Days,” and “Jeff Paul’s Shortcuts to Internet Millions.”  The court found that despite the marketers’ easy-money claims for the systems, which cost $39.95 each, nearly all the consumers who bought them lost money.  In addition, the defendants sold personal coaching services, which cost up to $14,995, to consumers who purchased any of the three systems.

The case is part of the FTC’s ongoing efforts to stop scams that prey upon financially distressed consumers. The Order represents the largest litigated judgment ever obtained by the agency.

Jeffrey Klurfeld, Director of the Western Region of the Federal Trade Commission, issued the following statement regarding the Order:

“This huge judgment serves notice to anyone thinking of using phony get-rich-quick schemes to defraud consumers.  The FTC will come after you if you violate the law.  It’s also a reminder to consumers that they should be skeptical about these types of easy-money claims.”

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.  To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).  The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) deals with issues that touch the economic life of every American. It is the only federal agency with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in broad sectors of the economy.

The FTC pursues vigorous and effective law enforcement; advances consumers’ interests by sharing its expertise with federal and state legislatures and U.S. and international government agencies; develops policy and research tools through hearings, workshops, and conferences; and creates practical and plain-language educational programs for consumers and businesses in a global marketplace with constantly changing technologies.

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