'Business opportunity' to return $7.5 million to consumers

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Consumers thought they were investing in online businesses

A "business opportunity" scheme that operated under a variety of names has been ordered to pay about $7.5 million to consumers who lost money by investing in supposed e-commerce businesses.

Using names including Building Money, Prime Cash, Wyze Money, and Titan Income, the schemes sold bogus online investment plans that typically included buying e-commerce websites or participating in a profit-sharing plan with existing sites.

Consumers paid as much as $20,000 for the "opportunities." A federal court halted the scheme and froze the defendants' assets after the Federal Trade Commission sued in October 2016.

The FTC’s complaint names the scheme’s owners, Susan Rodriguez, Matthew Rodriguez, and William “Matt” Whitley, and their companies, Advertising Strategies LLC, Internet Advertising Solutions LLC, Internet Resource Group Inc., Network Advertising Systems LLC, Network Professional Systems LLC and Network Solutions Group Inc. They are charged with violating the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule, including calling numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.

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