A former "The Apprentice" contestant and her husband have been accused of scamming customers out of $15 million with expensive business courses that allegedly amounted to nothing.
Jessie Connors Tieva, who appeared on the first season of "The Apprentice" with then-reality TV star Donald Trump, and Matthew Tieva operated Sellers Playbook and Exposure Marketing Co., a consulting company that essentially tutored people on how to make money on Amazon.com.
Their customers said the whole thing was a ruse, and now ,the Federal Trade Commission and the Minnesota Attorney General have filed a complaint against the Minneapolis-based business over their "false and unsubstantiated" claims.
The Daily Mail reported that the couple told customers that they could make $20,000 a month. The report says customers would pay Sellers $500-$1,000 for an introductory course. They would then be pitched a more detailed training package for $48,000. Customers were allegedly promised profits upwards of 70 percent by selling items.
"Sellers Playbook lured consumers into buying its expensive system by claiming that purchasers were likely to earn thousands of dollars per month selling products on Amazon," the FTC and AG said in a joint statement. "Few, if any, consumers achieved these results, and most lost money."
Jessie claims she did nothing wrong and says lazy customers are to blame.
"We have thousands of students who have been very successful," she told TwinCities.com. "There are some people out there who think they can get the world handed to them and not work for anything."
The complaint alleged nine FTC violations.
Jessie, who lasted six weeks on the NBC show in 2004, has been accused of unsavory business practices before. Earlier this year, she was ordered to pay $10.8 million to customers for another Amazon-related business that allegedly failed on its promises, the complaint said.
An Amazon spokesman told the DailyMail.com that the couple has no direct affiliation with the company.
"The entrepreneurs and small businesses selling on Amazon are incredibly important to us and our customers, and we aggressively pursue those that attempt to harm their selling experience," a statement said. "We invest heavily to protect the integrity of our stores and take action to protect customers and sellers, including working with consumer protection agencies and law enforcement. We have zero tolerance for fraud and abuse and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement to pursue criminals."
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