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Federal court freezes assets for ‘work-at-home’ Internet firms for lying to customers

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(Reuters) – A U.S. district court in Utah has frozen the assets of several Internet business coaches accused of lying to customers about their potential earnings after signing up for the services, the Federal Trade Commission said on Monday.

The companies are Essent Media LLC, Net Training LLC, YES International, Coaching Department, and Apply Knowledge, the FTC said in a statement. The commission, which voted 4-0 to sue the Utah-based defendants, filed a lawsuit against them this month.

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“This case halts a massive scam that bilked consumers out of millions for useless work-at-home kits and business coaching services,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The defendants duped consumers into thinking they could earn thousands working from home.”

Jonathan Hafen, the lead attorney for the defendants, had no comment on Monday.

The commission said the companies lured customers by offering a “proven and guaranteed home job to make $379 a day from home.” But consumers earned little or no money and ended up heavily in debt, the FTC said.

The legal action came days before a deadline for the FTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission to respond to a request for an investigation on Herbalife by U.S. Senator Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat.

The nutrition and weight loss company faces accusations from several of Markey’s constituents, some civil rights groups and billionaire investor William Ackman that some Herbalife distributors promised business coaching to get rich quickly.

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Herbalife has said it told distributors that their results depend on time, energy and dedication.

The two regulators have until the end of the month to respond to Markey’s request.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss in Boston; Editing by Amanda Kwan)

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There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness

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As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.

He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”

It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.

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This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend

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As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.

At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.

Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.

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Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health

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On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.

"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."

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