FTC Cracks Down on Real Estate Seminar Scams

November 7, 2019

The Federal Trade Commission is going after companies that tout get-rich flipping schemes intended to get attendees to pay thousands of dollars for special real estate training packages.

FTC and the Utah Division of Consumer Protection sued Nudge LLC and affiliated companies over its real estate seminars. The seminars tout “amazing profits” for attendees to learn so-called secret strategies to real estate investing. The FTC and Utah Division of Consumer Protection allege the free seminars are designed to sell additional training. Attendees are given a sales pitch to spend more than $1,100 to attend a three-day workshop to learn more about the system. Attendees are later presented an option to receive “advanced training” that costs up to $40,000.

“These defendants presided over a sales process that started with empty promises of future wealth and ended with many consumers left in financial ruin,” says Andrew Smith, director of FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The lure of easy income is strong, but consumers should stop and evaluate the facts behind the money-making promise.”

The FTC complaint says that Nudge’s revenues from its real estate seminars was more than $400 million from late 2014 to late 2017.

The complaint names several television celebrities—such as Scott Yancey from A&E’s “Flipping Vegas,” Doug Clark from Spike TV’s “Flip Men,” Drew Levin and Danny Perkins from HGTV’s “Renovate to Rent,” and Josh Altman from Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing Lost Angeles”—as appearing in advertisements for the seminars.

The complaint follows on the heels of another real estate seminar that grabbed headlines last month. The FTC ordered a temporary halt to seminars from Zurixx LLC that were endorsed by HGTV stars Tarek El Moussa and Christina Anstead of “Flip or Flop.” The complaint alleged the real estate seminars endorsed by the HGTV stars were “misleading” and made “bogus” claims about how people can strike it rich in real estate. Read more: FTC Orders Halt to ‘Bogus’ HGTV-Endorsed Seminars

The latest complaint from the FTC against Nudge LLC was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah.