(Phoenix, Ariz. – Dec. 12, 2006) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that his office has filed suit against The Results Group (TRG) and its managers, Edward Longoria and Amber Halvorson, alleging that their work-at-home business opportunity scheme violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.
The announcement was part of Project FAL$E HOPE$, a federal and state law enforcement sweep targeting bogus business opportunities and work-at-home schemes. The Federal Trade Commission today also took action against The Results Group.
The Arizona complaint, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, also alleges violations of the Arizona Telephone Solicitations Act. Additionally, the complaint alleges that Edward Longoria, manager of TRG, violated a 2002 consent judgment that prohibited him from engaging in this kind of enterprise.
Beginning in 2004, TRG, located at 2845 E. Camelback Road in Phoenix, began contacting consumers who expressed interest in work-at-home opportunities after viewing a “pop-up” advertisement on the Internet. TRG claimed that this opportunity was “risk free” and consumers could make anywhere from $1,000 per week to $100,000 per year from its program.
TRG offered a portal Web site for sale that would serve as a gateway to other commercial Web sites. TRG told consumers interested in this opportunity that they would earn a commission when Internet users used the portal to access a commercial Web site and then make a purchase.
TRG charged between $99 and $597 to establish the portal Web site. When consumers complained that they were not earning the promised commissions, TRG sold “advertising packages” for amounts up to several thousand dollars. When consumers complained that the advertising packages were ineffective, TRG frequently told them that the refund policy did not apply to the advertising packages. Hundreds of consumers purchased this program.
The Attorney General’s Office is asking the Maricopa County Superior Court to:
- Prohibit TRG from selling Web sites and advertising packages.
- Require the defendants to return to all victims any money or property acquired through deceptive practices.
- Impose a penalty of up to $10,000 for each violation of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.
- Require the defendants to reimburse the Attorney General’s Office for costs of the investigation and reasonable attorneys' fees.
In addition to announcing the enforcement actions, the FTC and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office are working together to educate consumers about the dangers of business opportunity scams and to dissuade consumers from signing up for them. The Attorney General’s Top 10 Consumer Scams brochure is available at www.azag.gov. It provides red flags and prevention tips to avoid work-at-home scams. The FTC has also established a Web site at http://www.ftc.gov/bizopps for consumers and businesses.
A copy of the complaint is attached.