Federal Trade Commission returns over $23 million to consumers deceived by MOBE online business coaching program
The Federal Trade Commission is returning more than $23 million to consumers who paid for My Online Business Education, or MOBE, a business coaching program that made false promises about how much participants could earn.
The Commission sued MOBE in 2018, alleging the international operation targeted U.S. consumers — including military members, veterans and seniors — through online ads, social media, direct mail and events. live held across the country. The MOBE falsely claimed that its business training program would allow people to start their own online business and earn substantial income quickly and easily using a “proven” 21-step system.
According to the complaint, consumers who paid the initial $49 entry fee for the 21-step program were bombarded with sales pitches for membership packages costing thousands of dollars, which the defendants pushed them to buy in order to continue in the program. The defendants eventually revealed that their “proven system” involved selling the same memberships to others in hopes of earning commissions. Most consumers have not been able to recoup their costs and many have suffered crippling losses or mounting debts.
Money returned to consumers today includes money the Commission has received from lawsuits against some of MOBE’s biggest affiliates, such as John Chow and Michael Giannulis, as well as lawsuits against some of the payment processors. from MOBE, such as Qualpay and Allied Wallet. The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2021 that the Commission does not have the authority under section 13(b) to seek monetary relief in federal court in the future. The money given to consumers today comes from settlements and judgments that were made before the Supreme Court decision. The Commission urged Congress to restore the Commission’s ability to collect money for consumers.
The Commission is sending payments to over 37,000 consumers who lost money to the MOBE scam. The vast majority of these payments will be made through PayPal, and these payments are expected to be refunded no later than April 28, 2022. The average payment amount is just over $633.
Recipients who have questions about their refund should call the refund administrator, Rust Consulting, Inc., at 877-657-9153. The Commission never requires people to pay money or provide account information to get a refund.
Commission’s interactive dashboards for reimbursement data provide a state-by-state breakdown of Commission reimbursements. In 2020, the Commission’s actions reimbursed more than $483 million to consumers across the country.