Second Suit Charges Celebrity Endorser Liable for False Claims

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The Federal Trade Commission has asked a federal court today to hold the executives of a diet marketer in civil contempt for continuing to runs ads for their products online.

The FTC contends that while Enforma Natural Products stopped running ads on TV for its weight loss products Fat Trapper Plus and Exercise in a Bottle, advertising continues to appear on its Web sites.

This is the commission's second suit against Enforma and its two executives, Andrew Grey and Michael Ehrman.

In April 2000, the company paid $10 million to settle FTC allegations that its informercials for the "Enforma System" of weight loss made unsubstantiated claims about the products. The informercials starred former baseball player Steve Garvey and Lark Kendall, who was identified as a nutritionist in the spots.

Mr. Garvey, who made nearly $1 million through endorsements and subsequent appearances for Enforma, is still being sued by the FTC, which alleges Mr. Garvey was more than a celebrity endorser and is partly liable for the claims.

Mr. Grey told AdAge.com today that the FTC's case is based on ads that were removed from Enforma's Web site in October. He said only a few of the 1,525 who saw the online ads between the settlement date and when they were removed actually bought the product.

Mr. Grey also said Enforma has studies showing the products' effectiveness, though as a result of the earlier settlement, packaging must now includes information about the need for exercise to lose weight.

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