KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) - Real Wealth Inc. runs real scams, one of which is training customers how to run their own scams, the Federal Trade Commission claims in Federal Court. The FTC also sued Lance Murkin and eight other companies he runs out of Lee's Summit, Mo. Since 2003, the FTC says, "Defendants have brought in millions of dollars from marketing their schemes to at least 100,000 consumers nationwide."
Real Wealth runs two different types of schemes - work at home and cash grant. For its work-at-home scheme, victims are charged an upfront fee of $9.99 to $99.99 and promised enormous financial returns from sending out mailers, the FTC says. But the customers get nothing for their money except, sometimes, a booklet instructing them how to run their own deceptive schemes, according to the complaint.
"In the course of marketing, promoting, offering for sale and selling their work-at home schemes, Defendants represent, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, that purchasers of Defendants' work-at-home schemes will be paid for simply mailing items," the FTC says. "In truth and in fact, purchasers of Defendants' work-at-home schemes are not paid for simply mailing items."
In the cash grant scheme, customers also send in a fee, for which they get a booklet that lists contact information for government agencies or foundations that purportedly have given money to customers, or a booklet that claims to list contact information for millionaires and celebrities who are giving money away, the FTC says. Some of the rich people, however, are dead.
"Some of the grants defendants list in their publications no longer exist," the FTC says. "In addition, some of the phone numbers defendants list as pertaining to particular foundations or grant schemes are numbers that are now disconnected or no longer in service. Other sources of purported free cash that defendants list are state agency contacts for well-known government entitlement programs, as well as names of financial institutions and credit card companies. ... Some of the celebrities listed in defendants' publications are deceased. Other celebrities listed were not aware of their names being listed and have no intention of giving away money to individuals who request it."
The FTC seeks disgorgement, refunds and wants Murkin's assets frozen.
Murkin also does business as American Financial Publications, Emerald Press, Financial Research, National Mail Order Press, Pacific Press, United Financial Publications, Wealth Research Marketing Group, and Wealth Research Publications, all of which are named as defendants.Follow @@joeharris_stl
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