FTC Slams DR Marketer for $155M

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A former direct response radio marketer agreed to pay $155 million last week to settle charges that he lied about his financial condition in order to get a less severe penalty for fraud charges filed against him in December 2002.


The Federal Trade Commission originally charged Harry Siskind, founder of Mark Nutritionals, San Antonio, with making unsubstantiated claims about weight-loss products in DR ads played on 650 radio stations in 110 cities nationwide, selling $199 million worth of products. Siskind settled that charge in fall 2003 for $500,000 based on sworn statements that he had no remaining assets, but the agreement contained an "avalanche clause," requiring him to pay $155 million if he lied.


According to the FTC, Siskind deliberately misrepresented the value of assets worth $600,000 and failed to disclose another $300,000. In May 2004, the FTC asked the U.S. District Court in San Antonio to enact the avalanche clause for the full $155 million.


Siskind has agreed to cooperate in locating and liquidating or transferring his remaining assets to make full payment, the FTC said.


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