Florida's attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission were granted a court order requiring more than $730,000 in restitution from Jacksonville company offering a bogus alcoholism cure.
The order also bans the Alcoholism Cure Foundation and Robert Douglas Krotzer, its owner, from marketing or selling any treatment or cure for alcoholism, drug addiction or any other human health-related problem.
"The fact that this company deceived consumers and threatened to reveal their personal information is abhorrent," said Attorney General Pam Bondi. "I am grateful to the FTC for their partnership in stopping this company from exploiting consumers and providing refunds for those harmed by this company’s actions."
The complaint alleged that the company prescribed concoctions of dietary supplements claiming they could cure alcoholism. Robert Douglas Krotzer, owner of the company, purportedly charged consumers about $350 for the supplements and services and falsely claimed that the consumers could cancel any time. When consumers attempted to cancel their memberships, Krotzer threatened to publicly reveal the consumers' alcoholism.
The company operated under the names “Enjoy a Few” and “Guilt Free Drinking.”
According to the attorney general's office, the company boasted that their “team of doctors” would create customized, low-cost and permanent alcoholism cures, and they referred to Krotzer as “Dr. Doug” in spite of the fact that neither he nor any of the company’s employees were doctors. Krotzer also claimed that the program had the “best technology to end alcohol abuse permanently” and that the supplements were “scientifically proven to cure alcoholism,” which the court ruled to be false and unsupported claims.
The complaint alleged that the defendants charged consumers’ accounts without authorization between $9,000 and $20,000 for supposedly owed fees. In some cases, Krotzer disclosed consumers’ alcohol dependence to various companies, debt collectors and a Florida small claims court.
The order prohibits the defendants from using certain trade names, billing consumers without authorization, and taking any further collection actions against consumers. The defendants cannot misrepresent the cost or terms of any offer they make, misstate the professional qualifications of Krotzer or any employee, or claim that the company is a charity.
Florida consumers who have been affected by this scheme are encouraged to file a complaint by calling the attorney general’s fraud hotline at 866-966-7226 or file online at myfloridalegal.com.