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March 4, 2008
WASHINGTONThe marketers of the 7-Day Miracle Cleanse Program, marketed as an herbal colon-cleansing program, agreed to settle FTC charges they falsely claimed their program would cure cancer and other serious diseases. Among other requirements, the settlements broadly ban them from involvement in future infomercials for any product, service or programexcept for infomercials for informational publicationsand from advertising health-related products in the future in any medium.
The case was originally referred to FTC from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), after the defendants failed to respond to an inquiry from BBB's Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP), regarding infomercials for the 7-day cleansing program.
According to FTCs complaint, defendant Paris DeAguero appeared in nationally televised infomercials as the Health Man, claiming his cleansing program cured him, within weeks, of skin and breast cancer, without the need for surgery or other treatments. The agency also alleged advertising for the program claimed to effectively prevent, treat and cure many other diseasesincluding AIDS, Alzheimers disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritisand that it safely caused rapid and substantial weight loss. The defendants allegedly also claimed their product Parasine 2 was clinically proven to eliminate parasites and worms, including tapeworms. FTC argued such claims were false or unsupported by reliable scientific studies, in violation of the FTC Act.
Under two stipulated final orders, 7-Day Marketing, Inc., DeAguero, Dieter Ammann and Laura DeAguero are banned from any involvement in infomercials for any product, program or service; also, regardless of the advertising medium, they are prohibited from representing any product, program or service can cure, treat or prevent any disease or provide health benefits. The orders exempt representations made in books, newsletters or other informational publications. In addition, the defendants are barred from misrepresenting any test or study concerning any product, program or service, and they are prohibited from transferring, selling or renting personal information collected from customers who purchased the cleansing program or its individual products. They must destroy this personal information upon the conclusion of certain pending lawsuits.
Beyond marketing and business practices, the stipulation orders also call for a monetary judgment of $14.5 million, which is suspended based on the defendants inability to pay. A separate settlement with Dieter Ammann also includes a monetary judgment of $14.5 million, which is suspended upon payment of $70,000, and also is based on his inability to pay. These fines are imposed under avalanche clauses, whereby the full judgment will be imposed if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.
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