(CN) – The pitchman behind the Pure Green Coffee weight loss aid must pay $30 million for promoting the product with false claims, bogus testimonials and fake news websites, a federal judge ruled.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday, of the federal court in Tampa, Florida, said Nicholas Scott Congleton deceptively marketed Pure Green Coffee for weight loss through NPD Advertising Inc. and a web of other companies under his control.
In addition, the court ordered another man, Dylan Loher, to turn over $549,000 in partial satisfaction of the judgment.
The Federal Trade Commission filed its complaint against NPB Advertising in May 2014, claiming Congleton and others used deceptive marketing to capitalize on the green coffee bean diet fad, which gained notoriety on “The Dr. Oz Show,” a syndicated television program.
The scheme used mastheads of fictitious news outlets, as well as logos from actual news organizations, to trick consumers, the government said.
Most of the defendants originally named in the case settled the FTC’s charges in November 2015.
The FTC charged Loher as a relief defendant, meaning that he did not directly participate in the scheme, but indirectly profited from it.