Judge orders end to weight-loss, anti-aging spam operation

A judge fines a weight-loss and anti-aging spam operation US$2.6 million.

A US judge has ordered a Las Vegas company to stop making weight-loss and anti-aging claims and to stop sending unsolicited e-mail, the US Federal Trade Commission announced this week.

Judge David Coar of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, has also ordered Sili Neutraceuticals and owner Brian McDaid to pay nearly US$2.6 million for allegedly making false advertising claims and sending e-mail messages in violation of the FTC Act and the CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) Act.

In the January 23 ruling, Coar also ordered the operation, doing business as Kaycon, to stop misrepresenting any products or services, including products made from the hoodia plant and human-growth-hormone-related (HGH) products. In August 2007, the FTC charged the defendants with CAN-SPAM violations and making false and unsubstantiated claims about hoodia weight-loss products and HGH anti-aging products.

Coar found that the defendants violated the FTC Act by falsely claiming that the hoodia products cause rapid, substantial and permanent weight loss, and that the HGH products will turn back or reverse the aging process. The company had claimed that users of hoodia products could lose up to 40 pounds in a month, according to the FTC complaint. The HGH products could supposedly reduce cellulite, improve vision, cause new hair growth and improve emotional stability.

The FTC accused the defendants of sending commercial e-mail messages that had misleading subject headings, that failed to include opt-out provisions and that failed to include the senders' valid postal address.

Sili Neutraceuticals didn't have a listed phone number in Las Vegas.

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Grant Gross

IDG News Service

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