Performance Marketing Insider has learned that both the FTC and the State of Connecticut have launched actions against LeanSpa and Nutraslim, owned and operated by Boris Mizhen of Connecticut. The actions accuse Mr. Mizen through his companies of taking over $25M from consumers through the use of Flogs and fake news sites to promote their products. These websites offered the diet and “cleansing” properties of Acai berrries using the names of LeanSpa, Pure HCA, LeanSpa Cleanse and other names.
According to the complaint, the defendants sold their products through several CPA affiliate networks that are not named in the lawsuit. “Defendants paid affiliate networks millions of dollars and had knowledge that consumers were lured to their websites through fake news sites featuring their products,” says the complaint. Fake headlines such as “1 Trick of Tiny Belly: Reporter Loses her “Belly” using 1 Easy Time” were promoted on these fake sites.
The FTC claims that amongst other things, the offer claimed to offer a free trial, but actually billed consumers credit cards immediately $79.99 and made it close to impossible to cancel the subscription. The companies make it a “great difficulty reaching a live person … and if they do speak with someone, they are told they must navigate through a series of steps, including obtaining a Return Merchant Authorization number, returning the product back to a facility, and paying postage costs for returning the product.” When consumers did cancel the subscription, the defendant would still charge their cards for the “Free Trial.”
The FTC is seeking to have all funds of the company seized and all money and profits turned over the government as part of their prosecution.