Feds, State Sue Maine Firm Over Alleged False Advertising for Health Supplements
February 22, 2017 – Federal and state authorities have sued XXL Impressions, a South Portland-based supplement company, and others they claim used false advertising to sell health supplements that promised joint pain relief and memory improvements.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Maine attorney general’s office on Tuesday filed the lawsuit and settlement agreements with six of nine parties, including the marketing companies, their owners and health professionals who promoted the supplements.
The FTC and state sued the companies on 23 separate claims of making false statements about the efficacy of the drugs and for misrepresenting paid endorsements by physicians and customers.
From January 2012 to April 2015, the plaintiffs alleged the companies together sold about $6.5 million of two supplements, FlexiPrin and CogniPrin.
“The defendants’ products appealed to vulnerable populations who had memory issues and pain and who were taken advantage of by fine print that was not fully disclosed,” Attorney General Janet Mills said. “Consumers also were misled about the true costs of the products and how they could get their money back.”
Two of the companies in question, including one based in South Portland, agreed to a settlement that will require them to pay $556,000 and stop or limit supplement sales. Timothy Feeley, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, wrote in an email that it’s too early to say how much of the money might go to restitution for customers.
That settlement includes XXL Impressions and its owner Jeffrey R. Powlowsky, based in South Portland, and J2 Response LLP and its owners Justin Bumann and Justin Steinle. The full settlement entered against them is for $6.57 million, but they are only required to pay $556,000 due to their financial condition.
A sixth defendant, Brazos Minshew, also settled after appearing as a medical professional in advertisements for the supplements. Two others, a doctor and another product endorser, have not joined the settlement.
The South Portland address of Ship-Right Solutions is the same used by another supplement seller who agreed to a $16 million settlement last year. The company’s president did not respond to a voicemail seeking comment Tuesday.
By Darren Fishell, BDN Staff
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