In response to in an action filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a federal court issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday against operators of a training program in Florida-based real estate investment and business opportunities, known as “Ganadores Online” and “Real Estate Investment Winners”.
The temporary restraining order issued by the court appointed a supervisor to verify the suspension of operations and froze the assets of the owners and managers of “Ganadores”, a business that, according to the FTC, used “ blatant and false arguments”.
“This scheme made big promises in Spanish of earnings that could change the course of a person's life, but concealed key terms that appeared in English-language contracts that many consumers couldn't read”, Samuel Levine, director of the FTC's Office of Consumer Protection, said in the statement.
“They took millions of dollars from Spanish-speaking consumers looking to improve their lives and support their families. families, and it is time to hold them accountable for the significant harm they have caused”, he added.
According to the lawsuit filed by the FTC, Florida-based “Ganadores” promises Spanish-speaking customers that its “foolproof system” it can lead to financial freedom, replacement of their day jobs, and financial independence for their families.
According to the FTC, “Winners” and its managers, along with the companies behind the plot (Vision Online, Inc, Ganadores IBR, Inc, Vision Online Digital, LLC, Vision Online English, LLC, Vision Online Latino, LLC) “have pocketed millions of dollars from consumers, violating numerous laws, including the FTC Act, the Business Opportunity Rule, and the Consumer Review Fairness Act”.
The FTC alleges that Richard Alvarez, Robert Shemin and Bryce Chamberlain, who hold management positions at “Ganadores” were already involved in a similar program, called Zurixx, which was the subject of a lawsuit by the Commission in 2019.
Richard and Sara Alvarez also participated in FBA Stores, a similar plot challenged by the FTC in 2018.
According to the complaint, “Winners” places ads promoting “seminars” free and reaching the public area where Richard Alvarez and Shemin will share supposed strategies to make big money in real estate.
The FTC alleges that these seminars are nothing more than a sales pitch for the company's three-day workshops, for which consumers pay hundreds of dollars in tuition.
At the seminars, marketers for the program claim that those who attend the workshops will learn everything they they need to know to make money, whether it's running online businesses or investing in real estate.
“The workshops are just another step in a sales funnel that targets attendees to pay more than $28,000 for mentoring services and ‘one-on-one support coaching’ that would supposedly result in buyers making six-figure incomes,” the FTC added.
The FTC has asked the court to permanently stop the unlawful practices of “Winners” and return the funds to consumers harmed by the plot.