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10/10/2007
01:58 PM
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FTC Sues to Stop Spam Touting Bogus Weight Loss and Anti-Aging Products

The FTC has filed a complaint against several individuals seeking to halt e-mail messages promoting weigh loss and anti-aging products.

The Federal Trade Commission took action today to stem the tide of spam promoting bogus weight-loss and anti-aging products.

At the third joint workshop on Wednesday in Arlington, Virginia between the London Action Plan (LAP) and the European Union's Contact Network of Spam Authorities (CNSA), FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras said that the agency had filed a complaint in Illinois against companies and individuals in Australia, Canada, and the United States seeking to halt e-mail messages promoting weight loss and anti-aging products and to prevent further efforts to market the products.

The law enforcement action is the first brought by the agency under the U.S. Safe Web Act, which was passed by Congress last year in response to continued growth of spam and cyber crime and provides for greater information sharing among international law enforcement agencies and broader investigative and enforcement powers. The defendants are also charged with violating the Can Spam Act of 2003.

The FTC said it has 175,000 spam messages sent out on behalf of the defendants.

The FTC complaint alleges that Bruce Parker and Lisa Kimsey, doing business as Spear Systems, Inc., and Xavier Ratelle, doing business as eHealthylife.com, falsely claimed that their "hoodia" products promoted rapid weight loss and that their human growth hormone (HGH) products helped reverse the effects of aging. The FTC charges that the defendants have offered no evidence to substantiate their clams.

A federal district court judge has ordered an ex parte temporary restraining order and asset freeze in the case. A hearing is planned for Thursday to determine whether the restraining order and asset freeze will remain in place while the case is heard. The FTC seeks to prevent the defendants from making further unsubstantiated claims and to make them forfeit their gains.

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