FTC reaches settlement in business 'coaching' case

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Trade Commission said Thursday that a number of marketers associated with Ivy Capital Inc. have agreed to settle charges that they misrepresented their business "coaching" services and took more than $100 million from customers.

The FTC filed a complaint in February 2011 against 40 defendants, including 22 interrelated companies, Ivy Capital Inc. and its co-defendants who claimed their program would help consumers develop their own Internet businesses.

Regulators say most consumers paid between $2,000 and $20,000 for the program and related products and services, but got very little in return and found it difficult to get their money back if they canceled. The commission says the marketers violated federal law by misrepresenting the program they sold and failed to fully disclose and honor their refund policy.

The settlement announced Thursday, which includes most of the defendants, bans them from marketing and selling business coaching programs. It also requires them to give up a number of assets, including two homes, cash from personal bank accounts and eight luxury cars. It also prohibits them from engaging in many of the misrepresentations that they reportedly engaged in as part of the program.

It includes a $130 million judgment against 15 corporate and six individual defendants. The judgment will be suspended when these defendants surrender all of their assets but the full judgment will become due immediately if they are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.

The commission also imposed a $46 million judgment against Joshua F. Wickman and Enrich Wealth Group LLC that will be suspended when they have surrendered $68,884 from Wickman's bank account and EWG's assets. The settlement also includes financial judgments against seven defendants who profited from the scheme but did not participate in it. Similarly, the full judgments will become due immediately if they are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.

The FTC said litigation is still pending against the two remaining defendants, Benjamin Hoskins and Dream Financial, and three relief defendants, Leanne Hoskins, Oxford Financial LLC and Mowab Inc. Five other defendants defaulted.

The judgments were entered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada on Dec. 20.


For a full list of those involved in the settlement, visit the FTC website at ftc.gov

Consumers seeking more information about Ivy Capital should call the FTC information line at 202-326-3771