Court Bans Defendants from Selling Work-at-Home and Grant Scams, and Orders Them to Pay $10.4 Million

A federal judge has ruled in favor of the Federal Trade Commission and ordered Real Wealth, Inc. and its owner, Lance Murkin, to pay $10.4 million, the full amount of harm caused to thousands of consumers nationwide who were victimized by the Defendants’ work-at-home and grant scams.  The Court also banned Real Wealth and Murkin from marketing or selling work-at-home or grant-related products, and from assisting others in doing so.

The judgment against Real Wealth and Murkin is part of an ongoing FTC crackdown on scams that are aimed at unemployed Americans.  Defendants Real Wealth and Murkin conned thousands of consumers nationwide with a direct-mail campaign that sometimes targeted the elderly and disabled.  They deceptively marketed and sold booklets that supposedly explained how to earn money by working from home or applying for government grants.

The defendants lured consumers with deceptive sales pitches, such as “Collect up to $9,250 with my simple 3 minute form” or “All I do is mail 30 postcards everyday and I make an extra $350 a week!”  The defendants also claimed that consumers could “rake in up to $1,500+ per week or more in solid cash” by learning “secrets” about the “$700 billion banking industry bailout.”

The Court agreed with the FTC that these claims were false or unsubstantiated, in violation of the FTC Act, and it granted the FTC’s motion for summary judgment against the defendants.  Few, if any, consumers made substantial income with the defendants’ products.

The FTC filed its complaint against Real Wealth and Murkin as part of the “Operation Bottom Dollar” law enforcement sweep announced in February 2010 that included seven FTC cases against the operators of deceptive and illegal job and money-making scams, as well as dozens of other actions filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys general.

The FTC thanks the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for its work in connection with this case, and thanks AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly, which referred this case to the FTC.  The FTC filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.  The court issued the judgment on May 17, 2011.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.  To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call
1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).  The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.   Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

(FTC File No.0923207)

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