Morgan Johnson settles Digital Altitude fraud with FTC for $54 million
Back in May that settlement was presented to FTC Commissioners for approval, which appears to have since been granted.
On June 29th the FTC filed a Joint Application seeking approval of a permanent injunction and monetary judgment against Johnson.
In their complaint, the FTC identified Morgan Johnson as “an officer/manager of Digital Altitude, RISE Systems & Enterprise”.
As per the settlement, Johnson will be prohibited from
- creating, advertising, marketing, promoting, offering for sale, or selling, or assisting others in creating, advertising, marketing, promoting, offering for sale, or selling any Business Coaching Program or any Investment Opportunity
- holding, directly or through a third-Person, any ownership or other financial interest in any business entity that is creating, advertising, marketing, promoting, offering for sale, or selling, or that assists others in creating, advertising, marketing, promoting, offering for sale, or selling any Business Coaching Program, any Investment Opportunity, or any product to assist in the creation or development of a Business Coaching Program or an Investment Opportunity
- engaging in credit card laundering
- making, or assisting others in making, directly or by implication, any false or misleading statement in order to obtain Payment Processing services
- failing to disclose to an Acquiring Bank or other Financial Institution, service provider, payment processor, independent sales organization, or other entity that enables a Person to accept payments of any kind any material information related to a Merchant Account
- engaging in any tactics to avoid fraud and risk monitoring programs established by any Financial Institution, Acquiring Bank, or the operators of any payment system
- representing to consumers that consumers who purchase Digital Altitude’s goods or services will earn or are likely to earn a substantial income
- representing that consumers who purchase Digital Altitude’s goods or services will receive business coaching that will provide what the consumers need to build a successful online business and
- any other fact material to consumers concerning any good or service,
such as: the total costs and any refund policy
A consented monetary judgment meanwhile sees Johnson enter into a suspended $54 million dollar settlement.
The Commission’s agreement to the suspension of the judgment is expressly premised upon the truthfulness, accuracy, and completeness of Johnson’s sworn financial statements and related documents.
Related documents include bank statements, tax documents, a sworn declaration “regarding certain financial matters” and “other financial documents”.
Given Johnson is essentially getting off scot-free with respect to monetary damages, I believe the April sworn statement “regarding certain financial matters” is key.
I can’t see the FTC giving up a $54 million dollar settlement lightly, so I’m reading the information gleaned from Johnson’s settlement as valuable to their case against Digital Altitude’s remaining defendants and/or other related ongoing investigations.
Supporting this is the stipulation Johnson must
fully cooperate with representatives of the Commission in this case and in any investigation related to or associated with the transactions or the occurrences that are the subject of the (Digital Altitude) Complaint.
Ultimately we’re not privy to how the $54 million settlement amount was reached, including what assets and funds Johnson currently has access to. Which makes it difficult to assess the fairness of the settlement either way.
Whereas Johnson’s settlement reads much like that of The Upside LLC’s, it contains additional provisions related to participation in similar coaching schemes like Digital Altitude.
This provides insight into what we can expect if a settlement is reached between the FTC and Digital Altitude’s owner, Michael Force.
If Force does settle, we can safely assume his career scamming people through digital marketing coaching schemes will be over.
The Joint Application seeking approval of Morgan Johnson’s $54 million dollar settlement was filed on June 29th.
A decision on the application is pending.
Update 13th July 2018 – On July 5th a Stipulated Order was issued approving the FTC’s proposed settlement with Morgan Johnson.