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Feds Go after Nutraslim and LeanSpa Flogs

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.

About Pace Lattin

Pace Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pace Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

20 comments

  1. These sites aren’t allowed? Really? http://8news-chan.com/healthnews/?a=1025&s=3&referer=www.facebook.com

    I thought they had an FTC pass. Been up for months. Immortals don’t die.

    Create a FB account for a female over 35 and look for the Dr oz ad.

  2. Sometimes you have to wonder if these actions are ‘too little too late.’

    It sure took them a long time to catch up with the scam.

    Darren

  3. You guys were suppose to stop flogs 3 years ago.

  4. ADDITIONAL COMPLIANCE GUIDELINES FOR NEWS-GATHERERS
    A “News-Gatherer” is defined as any person, company, or other entity engaged in the gathering and dissemination of news for the public through a newspaper, magazine, or website.
    When receiving compensation for writing, publishing, or displaying a particular article about a product or service, the News-Gatherer shall clearly disclose the relationship and/or receipt of compensation.
    A News-Gatherer shall clearly disclose any bias, potential bias, or other fact that may not allow their article to be objectionable and opinion freely given.
    All sponsored articles shall contain a clear statement in the article disclosing who sponsored the article.
    A News-Gatherer shall clearly disclose the author of the story and whether such is a reporter or journalist. All user-generated content must be so labeled.
    All images of reporters and journalists must be true, accurate, and correct.
    News-Gatherer’s shall have an “About Us” section on their website clearly disclosing their relationships, if any, to other news organizations, advertisers, and sponsors.
    All advertisements must be prominently labeled “Advertisement” or “Paid Advertisement”.
    ADDITIONAL COMPLIANCE GUIDELINES FOR BLOG AND REVIEW SITES
    When receiving compensation for writing, publishing, or displaying a particular blog post, article, or review about a product, service, or program the site shall clearly disclose the relationship and any receipt of compensation.
    You must disclose any bias, potential bias, or other fact having an effect on the opinion of the writer, the article, the blog post, or the conclusion of the review.
    All sponsored reviews, posts, and articles shall contain a clear statement disclosing the sponsor.
    The alteration of images and videos is strictly prohibited, unless used for dramatization purposes and prominently disclosed.
    All websites shall have an “About Us” section clearly disclosing the relationships, if any, to its advertisers and sponsors.
    All advertisements must be prominently labeled “Advertisement” or “Paid Advertisement”

    Source http://www.clickbooth.com/compliance/policies/publisher

  5. Does this http://blog.clickbooth.com/2011/04/21/clickbooth-partners-protecting-consumers/ mean CB will terminate GMTracker.com for running this scam? How could CB not know this is coming to them? Talking out of both sides of your mouth still huh?

    I am sure the FTC watches this site and these comments.

  6. Hey,
    Every corner of the social media and the networking sites really has it’s cons just like scamming. Really hoped that the world government would take an action about this, by imposting some laws to help the victims. I really hoped so that the seized money would go through the government unto the people. Not government unto government’s pockets.

  7. Isn’t EVERY (I mean E-V-E-R-Y) free-trial offer a scam?

    I have seen them from so many years, even before the CPA networks were popular and ‘quit smoking’ or ‘stop snoring’ type offers were HOT on Commission Junction.

    They looked so attractive & easy to promote. But do a little research and you will come up with hundreds of complains. Same thing for literally EVERY company I have researched – that offers FREE trial offers.

    —————
    What they are supposed to do is – have an awesome product that customers re-order several times more. So the lifetime value of a customer is very high. And this way they can offer free trials – give out great commissions – as a loss-leader, and still make good money on the repeat sales of the product.

    But they all have found a much easier way. SCAM them -> Offer a free trial and bill them for $70-120 ‘immediately’. Also make it nearly impossible to cancel. So you don’t have to risk having to wait 6-8 months for the customer to re-order and to break even on the deal.

    Even now there’s so much of this scam going on, makes me wonder what the FTC is doing. Think if honest people like us want to do business, then we must form a group and actively report all the scamsters we come across to the authorities. Or else, it would be impossible to compete with somebody having an unfair advantage.

    • No, not every free trial offer is a scam. Sending a real product, having real customer service team makes the difference. I have tried many free trial offers, from credit reporting to a variety of other things. To cancel required filling out a form or a phone call.

      The FTC has gone after, and is still going after people.. almost a dozen suits this year.

  8. This is the same guy that Microsoft sued last year for making millions of fake Hotmail email addresses and selecting “not spam”. Some people just will never learn.

  9. heres the new URL http://channews–8.com/health-news-hcg/?a=1025&s=3&referer=www.facebook.com

    I guess people do read this blog

    My guess is it’ll change again, ill post it when it does.

  10. the new domain was registered yesterday too, how funny. Cat and mouse

  11. http://www.dailyconsumeralert.org/special.php?t202id=426&t202kw=newad160up

    how long until the skin guys are wacked like acai guys

  12. Scammers never learn so its better for the users to avoid this sites and really do research about the website like reading reviews and what not before giving their credit card information online.

  13. heres one more going to clickbooth. seems they encourage these fake news stories.
    http://newswatch9.com/health/4/index.php?sid=EXIT

  14. http://www.tuggle-eddy.com/tracking/indexb.php?sub=subid=15&referer=

    and another new page, same guy as the other two

  15. http://www.rachael.com-2.tv/blog/celebrity-diet-secret-usz-nelle1.php?

    now its rachel ray didnt oprah bitch slap you affiliates already?

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  17. This website took is fake and they take ur money why can’t u people take it now

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