Amended complaint targets home-based firms' promoters

Published: Wednesday, April 9 1997 12:00 a.m. MDT

The Federal Trade Commission has filed an amended complaint against the Utah promoters of home-based business ventures.

The action seeks to keep alive an FTC lawsuit accusing FreeCom Communications Inc. and its officers of false and misleading sales practices that have cheated "thousands of people" nationwide.U.S. District Judge David Sam dismissed the original complaint in February, saying the FTC and Utah attorney general had failed to support their claims.

FTC attorney David M. Newman said, "The amended complaint cures the technical issues raised by the court and reflects the Commission's desire to resolve the case based on the evidence of defendants' deceptive conduct."

Also named in the FTC complaint are well-known Utah businessman Mark O. Haroldsen; Financial Freedom Report Inc.; Silent Sales Force Inc.; Eleva Inc.; American Home Business Association Inc.; FFR Marketing; Robert Brazell; Don S. Gull; Kelly Haroldsen; Annette Brazell; and Dana Gull.

According to the FTC, the defendants used false testimonials and other deceptive advertising techniques to convince customers that they could make a lot of money quickly by purchasing home-based business venture materials offered by FreeCom.

"In truth and in fact, few, if any, purchasers of defendants' home-based business ventures earn substantial income from these ventures," the FTC said.

FreeCom lawyer Richard W. Casey and his clients have consistently denied the accusations, saying an "overzealous federal agency" is resorting to intimidation to put the company out of business.

They said the company has "thousands of satisfied customers throughout the United States who know that FreeCom stands behind its products."

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