As part of a recent nationwide crackdown against companies making false claims about Acai products, yet another firm has been ordered to pay a huge sum of money to settle a case filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The watchdog group ruled that Phoenix-based Central Coast Nutraceuticals Inc. must pay $1.5M to refund customers suckered into a phony ‘free trial’ scam. The FTC also recently filed 10 legal claims against companies who allegedly hired outside entities to create fake news sites promoting the benefits of acai-containing dietary supplements.
Free Acai Weight Loss Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been duped by a company promoting an acai product as a weight loss drug, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer of the acai and we can help.
What’s the problem?
According to the details of the settlement, Central Coast has been banned from marketing its acai products as weight loss drugs, unless such statements have been confirmed by at least two well-controlled human clinical studies. The company has also been instructed not to make any ‘free’ or ‘introductory’ price trial offers, where customers pay nothing up front to sample acai products, but then have their credit cards charged a higher price unless they cancel shipments or return the products immediately.
A 2010 lawsuit filed by the FTC in Illinois alleged that two individuals and five companies made false and unproven claims that their Acai products would “enable rapid weight loss in a fiercely short time period, without any unwanted side effects”
The defendants were also accused of soliciting fabricated endorsements from such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey and Rachael Ray, and of making unauthorized charges to customer bank accounts. According to court documents, the defendants were charged with violating the Federal Trade Commission Act, as well as the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and its implementing language, Regulation E.
In August 2010, a federal court shut down Central Coast Nutraceuticals, froze its assets, and named a receiver to oversee the defendants. The settlement order includes an $80 million judgement, which will be revoked when the defendants forfeit assets valued at $1.5 million.
The settlement agreement also requires Graham D. Gibson, president and chief executive of Central Coast Nutraceuticals, to:
- pay the FTC the balance of his investment account;
- transfer to the FTC $500,000 after mortgaging his home in Phoenix, Arizona, or transfer the property to a court-appointed liquidator if he cannot obtain the mortgage;
- sell his interest in a Hawaii vacation property.
The agreement also requires Gibson’s court-appointed receiver to transfer the approximately $600,000 that will remain in the company’s accounts after all debts are settled.
While mounting research and numerous case studies seem to suggest that acai berries may offer cardiovascular and other benefits including the ability to reduce atherosclerotic lesions in arteries and increase dexterity, acai has not been proven to aid in weight loss.
“It’s incredibly frustrating and really quite intolerable that they are making these fraudulent claims about losing weight when there is such strong science behind acai’s genuine benefits. It’s distracting attention from the really exciting research on this extraordinary antioxidant,” said Dr Alex Schauss, AIBMR Life Sciences chief executive and an expert on acai.
Do You Have an Acai Weight Loss Lawsuit?
The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in acai lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new acai wight loss cases in all 50 states.
Free Acai Weight Loss Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been duped by a company claiming that its acai products promote rapid weight loss, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing an acai weight loss suit and we can help.