FTC Follows Through with Netforce Sting

An international fraud task force, charged with closing down Internet
scams, won another victory Monday with Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
commissioners levying a $229,000 fine against a notorious scam that claimed
to treat terminally-ill cancer patients.

Earlier this year, Netforce — a U.S./Canadian group created to shut down
e-mail and Web site fraud — filed 63
separate actions
against individuals and groups purporting everything
from instant riches to a cure for cancer.

David Walker was fined Monday after the five-commissioner board at the FTC
unanimously voted his actions bilked thousands of dollars from people
diagnosed with cancer or the family members of cancer victims.

According to the FTC, at his Web site, www.dlwconsulting.com (which is now shut down), Walker posted bogus “testimonials” from supposed success stories and charged
consumers between $2,400 and $5,200 for the “CWAT Treatment: BioResonance
Therapy and Molecular Enhancer” cure. A herbal therapy associated with the
cure was determined to be “potentially harmful” to cancer patients, the FTC
statement said.

As part of the settlement, which includes the fine, Walker is prohibited
from making unsubstantiated claims on any food, drug or health-related
service, though officials wouldn’t say what would happen if he did so.
While not a complete victory, since it doesn’t completely halt the
practice, Patricia Hensley, an FTC attorney, said the settlement is good
for consumers.

“It’s always good for consumers to put a stop to deceptive claims,
particularly deceptive claims for a life-threatening disease like cancer,”
Hensley told internetnews.com. “We were happy with the settlement because that, at least in
this case, the seller of a bogus cancer cure won’t be doing this again.”

According to the settlement filed with the U.S. District Court for the
Western District of Washington in Tacoma, Walker will need to submit
regular statements with the court to ensure compliance. That involves
periodic statements describing what line of business he is in, and whether
it involves medical practices online or selling health-related products or
services.

This is the second success for Netforce, which was created to shut down
operations like the one conducted by Walker, an FTC spokesperson said. In
April, the FTC settled with Sound City and Linda Simmons. The Web site
maintained by the company rarely delivered the CD’s it charged consumers
for and failed to make prompt refunds.

The FTC regularly settles these actions outside of the court system,
claiming settlements provide the fraud enforcement they are looking to provide.

“At the FTC, we settle a vast majority of our cases,” Hensley said. “In
this case, Mr. Walker agreed to a final judgment that gave us all the relief
we needed, so there’s really no need to go to trial. A settlement doesn’t
mean that we took it on the chin.”

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