Four Defendants Agree to Settle FTC Allegations They Deceived Consumers with Business Coaching Scheme
Four defendants in a multi-million dollar business coaching scheme known as Digital Altitude, including the scheme’s former CEO, will pay $1.9 million to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that they deceived consumers by claiming they could earn “six figures in 90 days.”
In its complaint, the FTC alleged that the defendants behind Digital Altitude took in millions of dollars by persuading consumers to pay for a series of tiered memberships with increasing fees and falsely claimed that consumers would learn how to make substantial income with an online business. The defendants promised consumers they would receive individualized coaching from successful marketers that would provide what they needed to build a successful business. In reality, these marketers were merely salespeople selling higher membership levels in the defendants’ program, according to the FTC’s complaint.
The settlement orders with former Digital Altitude CEO Michael Force, former Digital Altitude Chief Operating Officer Mary Dee, former Digital Altitude Chief Technology Officer Alan Moore and Thermography for Life, LLC (also doing business as Living Exceptionally, Inc.) impose a $54 million judgment, which will be suspended after they surrender assets totaling approximately $1.9 million. The full judgment will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.
As part of the settlement orders, the defendants also are permanently banned from creating, marketing, promoting, or offering businesses coaching or investment opportunity services; engaging in credit card laundering and fraudulent payment processing activities; and making misleading claims related to business and coaching opportunities.
The FTC last year announced settlements with three other defendants involved in the coaching scheme: Sean Brown, who allegedly helped operate the scheme; Morgan Johnson, an officer of Digital Altitude LLC; and The Upside LLC, which processed credit card payments for the scheme. The remaining defendants, including Digital Altitude LLC, are in default; the Court has granted the FTC’s motion for default judgment related to those defendants.
The Commission vote approving the stipulated final orders with the four defendants was 5-0. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California entered the orders on March 5, 2019.
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