FTC Wins Summary Judgment against Pitchman of Deceptive Green Coffee Weight-Loss Ads; $30 Million Judgment Entered
At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a U.S. district court judge issued a summary decision and $30 million judgment against the pitchman behind a product called Pure Green Coffee, who deceived consumers using false weight-loss claims, bogus testimonials, and fake news websites.
The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, ruled that Nicholas Scott Congleton deceptively marketed Pure Green Coffee for weight loss through NPB Advertising, Inc. and a web of other companies under his control. The court order permanently bars him from the deceptive advertising practices challenged by the Commission.
In addition, the court ordered another man, Dylan Loher, to turn over $549,000 in partial satisfaction of the judgment. The FTC charged Loher as a relief defendant, meaning that he did not directly participate in the scheme, but indirectly profited from it.
“As this case shows, the FTC is willing to go the distance make sure that defendants like these are held accountable,” said Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Jessica Rich. “We’re pleased that the court has put an end to Congleton’s deceptive scheme.”
The FTC first filed a complaint against Florida-based NPB Advertising, its principals and related companies in May 2014. According to the FTC’s amended complaint, the defendants used deceptive marketing to capitalize on the green coffee bean diet fad, which gained notoriety on “The Dr. Oz Show,” a syndicated television program. The scheme used mastheads of fictitious news outlets, as well as logos from actual news organizations, to trick consumers. Most of the defendants settled the FTC’s charges in November 2015.
The FTC is a member of the National Prevention Council, which provides coordination and leadership at the federal level regarding prevention, wellness, and health promotion practices. This case advances the National Prevention Council’s goal of increasing the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life. This case is part of the FTC’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers from misleading health advertising.
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