One of the defendants involved in a multimillion-dollar business-coaching scheme has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that he helped deceive consumers with false claims that they could earn “six figures” within 90 days.
The defendant in the case, Sean Brown, allegedly helped operate the coaching scheme, which did business under the name Digital Altitude. The final order bans Brown from selling business coaching programs and investment opportunities.
In addition to the false claims about how much money people could earn, Digital Altitude falsely promised to provide individualized coaching from successful marketers, who in fact were just salespeople selling costlier membership levels, according to the FTC. The FTC alleges that most people never earned the promised income and that consumers lost tens of millions of dollars to the scheme, including some individuals who lost more than $50,000.
Under the settlement order, Brown is also banned from having any ownership in any business engaged in business coaching programs and investment opportunities. In addition, he is prohibited from credit card laundering, making misrepresentations about any product or service, profiting from consumers’ personal information collected as part of the scheme, and failing to dispose of that information properly.
The settlement order also imposes a $10.8 million judgment against Brown, which will be suspended when he has surrendered certain assets. The full judgment will become due immediately if he is found to have misrepresented his financial condition.
Earlier this year, Morgan Johnson, an officer in Digital Altitude, and The Upside LLC, a company Digital Altitude used to process consumers’ credit card payments, were banned from selling business coaching programs and investment opportunities under settlements with the FTC. Litigation continues against the remaining defendants.
The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated final order against Sean Brown was 5-0. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California entered the order on September 5, 2018.