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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

FTC adds two defendants to real estate investment scheme suit

Federal Issues FTC Enforcement Courts State Regulators FTC Act UDAP Marketing Deceptive State Issues

Federal Issues

On February 25, the FTC and the Utah Division of Consumer Protection announced the addition of two additional defendants in an action taken against a Utah-based company and its affiliates (collectively, “defendants”) for allegedly using deceptive marketing to persuade consumers to attend real estate events costing thousands of dollars. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the FTC and the Utah Division of Consumer Protection claimed that the defendants violated the FTC Act, the Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA), and Utah state law by marketing real estate events with false claims and using celebrity endorsements. The defendants allegedly promised consumers they would (i) earn thousands of dollars in profits from real estate investment “flips” by using the defendants’ products; (ii) receive 100 percent funding for their real estate investments, regardless of credit history; and (iii) receive a full refund if they do not make “a minimum of three times” the price of the workshop within six months. In October 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah granted a temporary restraining order against the defendants, prohibiting the defendants from continuing to make unsupported marketing claims and from interfering with consumers’ ability to review their products.

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