Attention digital marketers: Not only does Uncle Sam want you, but he’s also after your kin. You got it, the FTC is now going after the relatives of individuals who are under investigation for marketing fraud.
In 2010, the Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into I Works for allegedly wheedling $275 million out of unsuspecting consumers. Conceived and run by Jeremy Johnson, I Works operated in the trial membership, money making and government grant marketing spheres.
When the investigation began, the feds froze I Works’ financial accounts and appointed a court-supervised trustee to ensure victims got a refund if the FTC won. Now, three years later, as a way to safeguard any recoverable funds, the FTC is asking to amend the list of relief defendants – namely Jeremy Johnson’s family. Specifically, the nation’s consumer watchdog department is looking to take:
1)$5 million in funds and a 20,000-square-foot manse in St. George Utah from Jeremy’s wife
2)$1 million in silver and a home from Jeremy’s father
3)$77,500 from Jeremy’s mother
4)Millions of dollars from Orange Cat Investments, Zibby LLC, Zibby Flight Service, KV Electric and KB Family Limited Partnership – companies the commission feels benefited from I Works allegedly ill-gotten gains.
You may be thinking: how can the FTC dig into the finances of relatives!? You’re not alone. Thousands of government-leery peers and lawyers are questioning whether or not this move is sound. The FTC defends their decision to add defendants, arguing that the homes and money the relatives have was a direct result of I Works allegedly illegal actions.
Regardless of your feelings for the FTC and their effectiveness, one thing is for certain: the commission does not mess around when it comes to getting what they want. When they set their sights on an online marketing operation, they’re as tenacious as a stage mom looking to get their kid on Glee. As such, if you’re an e-marketer in the United States – or run an international operation that courts U.S. clients – make sure you understand the Dot Com Disclosures. The Federal Trade Commission’s Dot Com Disclosures outline the dos and don’ts of Internet and mobile promotion. Download it, study it, know it and follow it.
If the FTC has already knocked on your door and you in search of an FTC defense attorney, we’re the guys to call. If you want the ordeal to end sooner rather than later, get in touch with Kelly/Warner today to set up a consultation. Our firm focuses on Internet law matters, plus we’re affiliate marketers ourselves. We’ve dealt with the FTC before, understand their peccadilloes and know the relevant case law to craft the strongest argument as possible for you.