TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Federal Trade Commission announced a court order on Thursday against a Jacksonville-based company that allegedly offered a phony alcoholism cure program.
The Alcoholism Cure Corporation and Robert Douglas Krotzer, the company's owner, must pay more than $730,000 to consumers negatively affected by the company. The order also bans the defendants from selling or marketing any treatment or cure for drug addiction, alcoholism or any health-related issue.
"The fact that this company deceived consumers and threatened to reveal their personal information is abhorrent," Bondi said. "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 company allegedly prescribed concoctions of dietary supplements and claimed that the supplements could cure alcoholism. Krotzer allegedly charged consumers approximately $350 for the services and supplements and claimed that the consumers could cancel at any time. Upon attempting to cancel, Krotzer allegedly threatened to publicly reveal the alcoholism of the consumers.
The company allegedly said that its team of doctors would come up with low-cost, customized and permanent alcohol cures and referred to Krotzer as Dr. Doug. Neither Krotzer or any of the company's employees were doctors.
Krotzer also allegedly said that the program had the best technology that could end alcohol abuse permanently and that the supplements were proven scientifically to cure alcoholism. The court ruled that the statements were unsupported and false claims.
The defendants allegedly charged consumers' accounts between $9,000 and $20,000 for fees without authorization. In some instances, Krotzer allegedly disclosed the consumers' alcoholism to debt collectors, companies and a Florida small claims court.
Under the terms of the court order, the defendants are prohibited from using certain trade names, taking further collection actions against consumers and billing consumers without authorization. Additionally, the defendants cannot misrepresent the terms or cost of any offers they make, claim that the company is a charity or misstate the professional qualifications of any employee.
The Alcoholism Cure Corporation also went by the names Guilt Free Drinking and Enjoy a Few.