Saturday, August 22, 2009

UPDATE: Noobing Surf Site Offline As FTC Fraud Case Against Affiliate Strategies Inc. Proceeds; Receiver Appointed And Expected To File Preliminary Report Soon

Source Link - UPDATE: Noobing Surf Site Offline As FTC Fraud Case Against Affiliate Strategies Inc. Proceeds; Receiver Appointed And Expected To File Preliminary Report Soon

A receiver has been appointed in the case against Affiliate Strategies Inc. (ASI) and Brett Blackman, ASI’s president, chief executive officer and founding partner. Noobing, a surfing site, is in the ASI fold, but has not been named a defendant.

Regardless, the Noobing site is offline. A federal judge has granted a freeze of ASI’s assets. Noobing, based in Kansas, launched in the aftermath of the seizure of tens of millions of dollars from Florida-based AdSurfDaily Inc. last year and was promoted by some ASD members.

YouTube videos and other records show that the site was targeted at people with hearing impairments.

Late last month, the Federal Trade Commision sued ASI; Blackman; Landmark Publishing Group (d/b/a G.F. Institute and Grant Funding Institute); Grant Writers Institute LLC; Answer Customers LLC; Apex Holdings International LLC; Jordan Sevy, individually and as a manager of Landmark Publishing Group; James Rulison, individually and as president of Answer Customers LLC; Real Estate Buyers Financial Network LLC (d/b/a Grant Writers Research Network); Martin Nossov, individually and as a manager and member of Real Estate Buyers Financial Network LLC; and Alicia Nossov, individually and as a manager and member of Real Estate Buyers Financial Network LLC.

Joining the FTC in the lawsuit were the attorneys general of Kansas, Minnesota and North Carolina. The case also appears in federal court dockets in Virginia and Utah.

A preliminary report by Larry Cook, the court-appointed receiver, was due today. It is possible that the filing will be delayed until Aug. 20, because attorneys for the defendants asked for a delay.

U.S. District Judge Julie A. Robinson issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) and asset freeze July 24. Based on filings by the defendants, Robinson granted a delay from Aug. 12 until Sept. 1 to conduct a hearing on the TRO. But Robinson denied a motion by the defendants to stay discovery in the case.

Among other things, the defendants advised the court that they wished “to retain separate counsel for themselves” and noted they needed time to “sort out their financial affairs” and to determine how to pay for separate counsel, Robinson noted.

And, Robinson noted, “[T]he defendants seek time to attempt to conduct settlement negotiations.”

The FTC said the defendants were involved in a scheme that promised “guaranteed” grants of $25,000 from economic-stimulus funds provided by the government.

Kansas Attorney General Steve Six said the alleged scheme was deplorable and that investigators intended to carve back any ill-gotten gains.

“During this time of economic uncertainty, grant scams are taking advantage of people’s hope for financial assistance and scamming them out of hard earned money,” Six said. “There is no such thing as a guaranteed grant. But to consumers in financial trouble, the chance for extra income can unfortunately be a huge draw.”

“Scammers like these are using the bad economy to try to get rich at your expense,” Six said. “Beware of anyone who promises to help you win a grant if you pay them first.”

Blackman, 25, “began trading stocks and bonds at the age of 15,” according to ASI’s website. He also “is involved with numerous civic groups including Business Fellowship International (BFI), Young Life, and Campus Crusades. He also serves on the board of Where Are The Christian Men (WATCM).”