FTC returning $149 million to AdvoCare distributors

Josh Long, Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider

May 6, 2022

2 Min Read
FTC returning $149 million to AdvoCare distributors

The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday said it was returning $149 million to distributors of AdvoCare who lost money due to a pyramid scheme.

In 2019, AdvoCare International L.P., a multi-level marketer (MLM) of energy drinks, shakes and supplements, and its former CEO agreed to pay $150 million to resolve charges that the company operated an illegal pyramid scheme.

AdvoCare and several of its promotors claimed the company “offers the average person a financial solution that will enable them to earn unlimited income, attain financial freedom and eliminate the constraint of traditional employment,” an FTC complaint alleged. In reality, the government stated, most distributors earned nothing or even lost money.

FTC is sending, through checks and PayPal, payments to more than 224,000 consumers who lost money to the AdvoCare pyramid scheme, according to an FTC news release. Consumers who receive PayPal payments should redeem their payments within 30 days and those who receive checks should cash them within 90 days, the agency said.

The funds come from settlements entered before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that FTC doesn’t have authority to obtain monetary relief in court under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act, the agency said, adding it has urged Congress to restore its ability to secure such monetary relief for consumers’ benefit.

Related:FTC settlement bans AdvoCare from MLM business

AdvoCare CEO Patrick Wright issued a statement in response to FTC's announcement this week. 

“We strongly disagreed with the FTC settlement issued in 2019 and continue to support that position today," he said in an email to Natural Products Insider, through a spokesperson. "Despite the FTC settlement three years ago, we still stand strong with U.S. consumers on the reputation of our highly valued health and wellness products and we have been successful in our new business model.”



About the Author(s)

Josh Long

Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider, Informa Markets Health and Nutrition

Josh Long directs the online news, feature and op-ed coverage at Natural Products Insider, which targets the health and wellness industry. He has been reporting on developments in the dietary supplement industry for over a decade, with a focus on regulatory issues, including at the Food and Drug Administration.

He has moderated and/or presented at industry trade shows, including SupplySide East, SupplySide West, Natural Products Expo West, NBJ Summit and the annual Dietary Supplement Regulatory Summit.

Connect with Josh on LinkedIn and ping him with story ideas at [email protected]

Education and previous experience

Josh majored in journalism and graduated from Arizona State University the same year "Jake the Snake" Plummer led the Sun Devils to the Rose Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes. He also holds a J.D. from the University of Wyoming College of Law, was admitted in 2008 to practice law in the state of Colorado and spent a year clerking for a state district court judge.

Over more than a quarter century, he’s written on various topics for newspapers and business-to-business publications – from the Yavapai in Arizona and a controversial plan for a nuclear-waste incinerator in Idaho to nuanced issues, including FDA enforcement of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).

Since the late 1990s, his articles have been published in a variety of media, including but not limited to, the Cape Cod Times (in Massachusetts), Sedona Red Rock News (in Arizona), Denver Post (in Colorado), Casper Star-Tribune (in Wyoming), now-defunct Jackson Hole Guide (in Wyoming), Colorado Lawyer (published by the Colorado Bar Association) and Nutrition Business Journal.

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