FTC settlement bars marketer Christopher Andrew Sterling from selling work-at-home opportunities

ID-100128578We get a lot of complaints about work-at-home opportunities at BBB, a very risky type of business for the consumer. It’s good to see the federal government continuing to crack down on unethical work-at-home opportunities.

Work-at-home opportunity marketer Christopher Andrew Sterling has been banned from selling work-at-home and business opportunities under a federal court settlement after being sued by the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC sued Sterling in November 2012 as part of a federal crackdown called “Operation Lost Opportunity.” Federal and state officials targeted scams that falsely promised jobs and opportunities to unemployed and underemployed people.

Sterling was charged with violating the FTC Act and the FTC’s Business Opportunity Rule, which requires sellers of business opportunities to give specific information to help consumers evaluate a business opportunity. The FTC alleged that Sterling’s websites (sterlingvisa.com, rebatedataprocessor.com, and creditcardworker.com) falsely promised consumers that they could earn up to $1,000 per day from data-entry work processing rebate and credit card applications online, but claimed earnings and the promised business were not delivered.

Sterling is banned from selling any work-at-home opportunity and any business opportunity covered by the Business Opportunity Rule. The proposed settlement also permanently prohibits him from misrepresenting material facts about any products and services, selling or otherwise benefiting from consumers’ personal information, and failing to properly dispose of customer information.

The order imposes a judgment of $69,289 that will be suspended based on Sterling’s inability to pay. The full judgment will become due immediately if he is found to have misrepresented his financial condition.

The Department of Justice filed the proposed consent judgment on behalf of the Commission in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. It is subject to court approval.

If you are still interested in work-at-home opportunities, WatchYourBuck put up a blog entry a while back that might help you evaluate the risks and identify red flags: Do your homework before signing up for work-at-home.