NEW YORK (AP) — Federal regulators have temporarily stopped a work-from-home scam that left victims thousands of dollars in debt.
The Federal Trade Commission said Monday that the companies behind the scheme conned millions of dollars from consumers by selling phony business coaching services. Customers were falsely told they would learn how to start their own Internet businesses and make $379 a day by working at home, the FTC said.
At first, people were sold kits ranging in price from $37 to $99. After that, they were pitched more products and services costing between $3,000 and $12,000. They were encouraged to pay for the services with a credit card and told that they would be able to pay off the debt within a few months.
The FTC said most of the people who bought the services did not create an online business and earned little or no money.
A federal court entered a temporary restraining order against the companies on Feb. 11. According to the FTC, the companies were connected and did business under a number of names including Apply Knowledge, Essent Media, Net Training, YES International and Coaching Department.
The FTC said the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah froze the assets of the defendants in the case. A hearing is set for March 20.
The FTC said it plans to permanently stop the operations and to return money to customers.
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