The marketers of the 7 Day Miracle Cleanse Program, a purported herbal colon-cleansing program, have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they falsely claimed that their program would cure cancer and other serious diseases. Among other things, the settlements broadly ban them from involvement in future infomercials for any product, service, or program, except for infomercials for informational publications, and from advertising health-related products in the future in any medium.
According to the FTC’s complaint, one of the defendants, Paris DeAguero, appeared as “the Health Man” in nationally televised infomercials, claiming that his program cured him within weeks of skin and breast cancer without the need for surgery or other treatments. Advertising for the program allegedly claimed that it also effectively prevented, treated, and cured many other diseases, including AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis, and that it safely caused rapid and substantial weight loss. The defendants allegedly also claimed that their product, Parasine 2, was “clinically proven” to eliminate parasites and worms, including tapeworms. The FTC alleged that their claims were false or unsupported by reliable scientific studies, in violation of the FTC Act.
Under two stipulated final orders, 7 Day Marketing, Inc., DeAguero, Dieter Ammann, and Laura DeAguero, are banned from any involvement in infomercials for any product, program, or service, and, regardless of the advertising medium, from representing that any product, program, or service can cure, treat, or prevent any disease or provide health benefits. The orders exempt representations made in books, newsletters, or other informational publications. In addition, the defendants are barred from misrepresenting any test or study concerning any product, program, or service. They also are prohibited from transferring, selling, or renting personal information collected from customers who purchased the program or its individual products, and they must destroy this information upon the conclusion of certain pending lawsuits.
One of the orders contains a monetary judgment of $14,455,123, which is suspended based on the defendants’ inability to pay. A separate settlement with Dieter Ammann also includes a monetary judgment of $14,455,123, which is suspended upon payment of $70,000, and also is based on his inability to pay. Under both orders, the full judgment will be imposed if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.
This case came to the attention of the FTC as a referral from the Better Business Bureau’s Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (“ERSP”) after the defendants failed to respond to ERSP’s inquiry regarding their infomercial.
The Commission vote to authorize the staff to file the complaint and stipulated final orders was 5-0. The documents were filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
NOTE: The Commission issues a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant has actually violated the law. These stipulated final orders are for settlement purposes only and do not constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. A stipulated final order requires approval by the court and has the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the documents mentioned in this news release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, click http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.shtm or call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click http://ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm.