FTC halts bogus business opportunity; defendants cashed out

The Federal Trade Commission just shut down a work-at-home scheme that allegedly cheated U.S. and Canadian consumers out of more than $6 million.

At the FTC’s request, a federal court halted the business, which allegedly made false promises that consumers could make money by referring local merchants to the defendants’ non-existent money-lending business.

The court froze the defendants’ assets and appointed a receiver to temporarily take over the business pending litigation by the FTC, which seeks to permanently shut the operation and return money to consumers.

The FTC complaint names 20 people and eight companies as defendants in the case. The operation started doing business as “Money Now Funding,” but changed product names, office locations and merchant identities to avoid law enforcement. At one point the company went by the name “Cash4Businesses.”

The defendants allegedly told consumers they could earn up to $3,000 per month and run a profitable work-at-home business by referring small businesses to them for loans or cash advances of around $20,000. Consumers were pressured to act quickly and paid $299 to $499 to take advantage of the work-at-home opportunity.

The defendants allegedly promised to help consumers find referrals in their area and urged them to buy leads–lists of “high quality” or “pre-approved” merchants. The leads turned out to be random names and email addresses, many with no clear connection to any business. The “leads” often cost more than $10,000 and some consumers paid tens of thousands of dollars.

The defendants allegedly violated the FTC Act by falsely representing that consumers would earn real income. They also allegedly violated the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule by calling numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, calling consumers who told them not to call, calling consumers repeatedly to annoy them, making threats and using obscenities, and failing to pay the Registry access fee.

The defendants were also charged with violating the FTC’s Business Opportunity Rule, which requires business opportunity sellers to give specific information to help consumers test a business opportunity, and forbids sellers from making earnings claims without substantiation.

Corporate defendants are Money Now Funding LLC, also known as Money Now Funded, Cash4Businesses, and CashFourBusinesses; Rose Marketing LLC; DePaola Marketing LLC; Affiliate Marketing Group LLC; Legal Doxs LLC, aka First Business LLC; US Doc Assist LLC, aka First Business LLC; Affinity Technologies LLC; and Marketing Expert Solutions LLC.

Individual defendants are Lukeroy K. Rose, aka Luke Rose; Cordell Bess, aka Blaine Thompson, also doing business as JJB Marketing; Solana DePaola; Jennifer Beckman; William D. Claspell, aka Bill Claspell; Richard Frost, aka Richard Strickland; Dino Mitchell, aka Dino Jones; Clinton Rackley, aka Clinton Fosse; Lance Himes, aka Lance R. Himes, aka Raymond L. Himes, a/k/a Lance Haist; Leary Darling; Donna F. Duckett, also dba D&D Marketing Solutions; Della Frost, also d/b/a ZoomDocs and Zoom Docs LLC; Christopher Grimes, also d/b/a Elite Marketing Strategies; Alannah M. Harre, also dba National Marketing Group; Ronald W. Hobbs, aka Ron Hobbs, also dba Ron Hobbs & Associates and Sales Academy USA LLC; Janine Lilly, also dba Doc Assistant; Michael McIntyre, also dba McIntyre Marketing; Benny Montgomery, also dba Montgomery Marketing; Virginia Rios, also dba V&R Marketing Solutions; and Kendrick Thomas, also dba KT Advertising.

– Watch Your Buck, Sept. 30, 2013

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1 Comment

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One response to “FTC halts bogus business opportunity; defendants cashed out

  1. Mark Burrows

    Work from home, make thousands of dollars a month! That alone gets me riled up. Yes, I will allow there are those that have physical disabilities and mental hangups such as agoraphobia, but the people who respond to such ads are simply lazy and do not wish to get off their posterior and find reliable and dependable work. Lazy people have no sense of caution, well, because they are too lazy to be bothered. They make perfect targets for such illegal campaigns. To be quite honest, I have little sympathy for them.
    Still, these are not easy times, the economy is so high that those on minimum wage are existing well below the poverty line. It is depressing to put in eight hours a day and still not make enough to support a single person without severe budgeting and it is rare that it just a single person, we are talking about families living on the income of a single parent on minimum wage. These are the desperate, they will clutch at anything to provide a better environment for their family.
    We don’t worry about street people because society doesn’t care about them, so they do not care about society, they have their own sub culture, and none of that includes any kind of work other than theft and other petty crimes. They do not create elaborate schemes, and they don’t fall for any of them either. They just go through your recycle bin, dumpster, and steal anything that can be melted down and sold as salvage. In a terrible and odd sense, street people are more clever that given credit for. Yes, they drink and abuse narcotics, but they keep to their own and sometimes do a little panhandling. The get fed by Salvation Army and some church groups and many metropolitan places are creating more shelters for them to sleep in.
    The point I am making is we have become predators of greed. We can not live a simple life anymore, there is too much out there that we want as we become more materialistic. Because of this, we throw caution out the window and allow ourselves to be gullible.
    Please, use common sense and don’t become a victim or you are going to have to adapt to the life of a street person. That is a tough test, many don’t survive their first month before ending up in the morgue.
    When I hear when such criminals are shut down it tells me that progress is in action. We need to help this progress by being more aware and not falling in to the traps of such sideshow pitches. Yes! They are all selling snake oil. Rub it on or drink it, it cures all. Yes, you’ll be dead, that’s a fine cure. Okay a bit dramatic, but the principle is the same.
    Best not to talk to any phone solicitors, it you want something, pick up your Yellow Pages. Yes, that thick book with the yellow edges that collects dust and search for ads with the BBB logo.
    If you wish work, go to reliable employment agencies. Seek out government programs that offer training in desired fields, often these are free and paid by the government if you complete the course. They charge you if you are flake who just wants to waste time. Search for grants to go back to school and learn a skill or trade. Such things are available, but are not easy to track down. Then when you find them, they expect you to keep reapplying to show you are determined and sincere.
    Want a better life, then do it honestly. If you are making excuses why you can’t then it is one of two things. You are not serious or you are too lazy. Then if that is the case, then maybe you need to be a victim so that you can whine about much you suffered. I will only feel sadness for your lack of judgement.

    Mark Burrows.

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