FTC Takes Aim at Radio Ads in Disguise

BANGOR, Maine (CN) – Going to bat for consumers with joint pain and poor memory, the Federal Trade Commission and Maine attorney general say a supplement maker misrepresented its radio advertisements as 30-minute news programs.

“This scheme misled people into thinking they were getting medically proven products to improve their memory and joint health,” Maine Attorney General Janet Mills said in a statement. “The defendants’ products appealed to vulnerable populations who had memory issues and pain and who were taken advantage of by fine print that was not fully disclosed. Consumers also were misled about the true costs of the products and how they could get their money back. These products offered false promises based on false advertising. These companies fleeced Americans of millions of dollars. We appreciate the assistance and cooperation of the FTC in bringing this campaign of deception to an end.”

The products in question are FlexiPrin and CogniPrin, which grossed $6.5 million in sales from 2012 to April 2015 thanks to promotions by Synergixx LLC dba CTF Media.

During Synergixx’s 30-minute radio shows, the company’s CEO, Charlie Fusco, introduced interviews of two supposed medical experts by “host” Natalie Day.

But regulators say the man introduced as a “brain scientist” Samuel Brant does not even exist. His real name is Brazos Minshew, and he “does not possess expertise in neurology, brain science, or cognitive decline,” the complaint states.

As for the second expert, Ronald Jahner, the FTC says there is no disclosure that Jahner receives a percentage of revenues generated from FlexiPrin sales.

Fusco, Minshew and Jahner are among six named as defendants to the 46-page complaint filed on Feb. 22 with a federal judge in Maine. The companies named as defendants are XXL Impressions dba Better Health Nutritionals, J2 Response LLP and Synergixx LLC dba CTF Media.

None of the three companies responded to emails seeking comment.

The FTC says the Minshew and Jahner interviews reinforced several unverified claims about the effectiveness of the supplements.

Though the ads tout free 30-day supplies and 90-day money back guarantees, they allegedly fail to disclose that both deals require purchases and additional fees.

A print ad for FlexiPrin meanwhile includes what the FTC describes as a fake testimonial by someone called “R. Kelly,” who says FlexiPrin keeps him “pain free.”

XXL, J2 Response and Minshew have each stipulated to injunctions and final judgment.