FTC Sending Refund Checks Totaling More Than $8.5 Million to Consumers Defrauded by Misleading Claims for Dietary Supplements


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 143,636 refund checks totaling more than $8.5 million to consumers who bought three dietary supplements deceptively marketed by National Urological Group, Inc. (NUG) and several related companies.

The mailing announced today is the largest distribution to consumers who bought the defendants’ deceptively marketed products. Previous distributions in this case have resulted in more than $6 million returned to over 100,000 consumers.

The FTC’s case against the defendants began in November 2004, when it filed a complaint charging them with making deceptive claims about the efficacy and safety of two supposed weight loss supplements, Thermalean and Lipodrene, and one supposed erectile dysfunction treatment, Spontane-ES. The complaint named NUG, National Institute for Weight Loss, Inc.; Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Jared Wheat; Thomas Holda; Stephen Smith, Michael Howell; and Dr. Terrill Mark Wright.

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At the FTC’s request, in December 2008, a federal district court ordered the marketers to pay $15.8 million, and banned them from the allegedly deceptive conduct. The FTC first began mailing checks for this matter in August 2012. Additional funds were collected, so the FTC is mailing another round of checks to affected consumers.

Consumers who receive a refund check from the FTC should deposit or cash it within 60 days, as indicated on the check. All affected consumers were eligible to receive a total refund of $102.32. Some consumers in this mailing already received partial refunds and will now receive the remainder they are due.

Epiq, the refund administrator for this matter, will begin mailing checks today. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide information to cash refund checks. If you do not get a check, but believe that you should have, please contact the refund administrator at 1-877-483-2883.

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The FTC’s new interactive dashboards for refund data provide a state-by-state breakdown of these refunds, as well as refund programs from other FTC cases. In 2019, FTC actions led to more than $232 million in refunds to consumers across the country.

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