Defendants in Business Coaching Programs Case Settle Charges with FTC
They may no longer sell business coaching services or work-at-home opportunities
Seven people and eight companies controlled by those people will settle charges from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that they engaged in a deceptive telemarketing operation that swindled millions of dollars from thousands of consumers trying to start home-based Internet businesses.
The defendants will all be banned from selling both work-at-home opportunities and business coaching services.
The FTC alleged that the defendants claimed to offer business coaching services to consumers who, after signing up, ended up without a functioning business, heavy debt, and little or no earnings. The defendants used several deceptive sales strategies making the following false promises:
- That the victims were likely to earn substantial incomes
- That they would receive personalized training open only to qualified participants
- And that they would have to provide their financial information in order to figure out if they were qualified
After the victims bought the services, they then received more sales calls pressuring them to buy more.
The defendants in one complaint include the following:
- Ari Monkarsh
- Faraz Rouhani
- Travis Thomas
- Nathan Beeson
- Kenneth Dickinson
- Lift International LLC, also doing business as Lift International Enterprises LLC, Guidance Interactive, and GoGo Dropship
- Professional Learning Institute LLC
- Future Education LLC, also d/b/a Pinnacle Learning Institute and Pinnacle Group
- Growth Strategy Solutions LLC, also d/b/a Advantage Education, Discover Education, Enterprise Education, and Growth Strategy Solutions Inc.
- Advantage Education LLC
- Discover Education LLC
- Enterprise Education Inc., also d/b/a Advantage Education
The defendants in a separate complaint include the following:
- Matthew Rasmussen
- David Rasmussen
- Thrive Learning LLC, also d/b/a Business Education Department, Focus, Lightwave Web Builder, and Thrive Learning Institute
The Terms of the Settlement
In addition to imposing bans, the settlement also imposes monetary judgments on the defendants. Each judgment is partially suspended based on the defendants' inability to pay but will become due immediately if it is found that they have misrepresented their financial situation.