Diet Marketer Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison

76 replies
Diet marketer Frank Sarcona has been sentenced to 20 years in prison regarding fraudulent and unsubstantiated claims regarding his diet products.

Here's the story:

PalmBeachPost.com


Some may remember the famous diet ad that Gary Halbert wrote for him in 1979 when his company was called Milburn Publishing...

The Amazing Diet Secret Of A Desperate Housewife


-Bill


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#diet #marketer #prison #sentenced #years
  • Profile picture of the author ArticlePrince
    That's why I don't go anywhere near medical/fitness niches, too much risk. I'm a 150 # 23 year old with a pacemaker, I'd last about 17 seconds in prison.
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    • Profile picture of the author franamico
      Originally Posted by ArticlePrince View Post

      That's why I don't go anywhere near medical/fitness niches, too much risk. I'm a 150 # 23 year old with a pacemaker, I'd last about 17 seconds in prison.

      Totally agree...
      Making money is nice but I still like to add value to people's life...
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    • Profile picture of the author Kory Pearman
      Originally Posted by ArticlePrince View Post

      That's why I don't go anywhere near medical/fitness niches, too much risk. I'm a 150 # 23 year old with a pacemaker, I'd last about 17 seconds in prison.
      You'd be okay.

      You wouldn't be locked up with murders/robbers/crack heads/etc. Like you are probably thinking..

      You'd be locked up with computer hackers, scammers, etc.

      You'd fit right in. (Size wise) There wouldn't be a threat.
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    • Profile picture of the author rjaf
      Originally Posted by ArticlePrince View Post

      That's why I don't go anywhere near medical/fitness niches, too much risk. I'm a 150 # 23 year old with a pacemaker, I'd last about 17 seconds in prison.
      I'm of a similar mind and steer very clear of all things medicinal when it comes to niches. I am 41 and have no heart disease, yet would, like you, last about 17 seconds in prison.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeena
      Not a good news . . .

      Better to market a legal product . . .
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  • Profile picture of the author Intrepreneur
    Glad to hear it.

    Just cos they can afford a quality copywriter doesn't mean they should get to lie (Copywriters that write without due care should too) . If only more got 20 years in prison for what they do we'd have a better more ethical marketplace to work in.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ben Bergmann
      Originally Posted by Intrepreneur View Post

      Glad to hear it.

      Just cos they can afford a quality copywriter doesn't mean they should get to lie (Gary Halbert should get charged too for partaking in the business without due care) . If only more got 20 years in prison for what they do we'd have a better more ethical marketplace to work in.
      You do know that Gary Halbert passed away in 2007?
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      • Profile picture of the author Intrepreneur
        Originally Posted by Ben Bergmann View Post

        You do know that Gary Halbert passed away in 2007?
        RIP Mr Halbert and I'll retract that statement and replace with something more general.
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    • Profile picture of the author Myles Sinclair
      Originally Posted by Intrepreneur View Post

      Glad to hear it.

      Just cos they can afford a quality copywriter doesn't mean they should get to lie (Gary Halbert should get charged too for partaking in the business without due care) . If only more got 20 years in prison for what they do we'd have a better more ethical marketplace to work in.
      As Ben said, Garry Halbert is no longer with us. But even if he was, it is not a copywriters job or responsibility to carry out clinical trials on clients products.
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    • Profile picture of the author Bill Farnham
      Originally Posted by Intrepreneur View Post

      Glad to hear it.

      Just cos they can afford a quality copywriter doesn't mean they should get to lie (Copywriters that write without due care should too) . If only more got 20 years in prison for what they do we'd have a better more ethical marketplace to work in.
      Mark, fwiw, even Gary did a little time at "Club Fed" as he called it. You should take the time to learn about GH.

      One hellova guy that Mr. Halbert...

      ~Bill
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      • Profile picture of the author Davioli
        Originally Posted by Bill Farnham View Post

        Mark, fwiw, even Gary did a little time at "Club Fed" as he called it. You should take the time to learn about GH.

        One hellova guy that Mr. Halbert...

        ~Bill
        Yep.. One amazing copywriter. For anyone who doesn't know him.. Google "The Gary Halbert letter"
        Those letters will teach you what marketing's about!
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        • Profile picture of the author Jeff Henshaw
          I read every word of the story. I want to ask the attorneys over in Boca Raton why they get this guy 20 years
          Then I suggest asking them.

          It seems as though he was a repeat offender, if so, then he deserves everything that he gets.

          Cheats, liars and scum bags (I'm not suggesting that he is one - the courts decide that) are ruining the genuine businesses trying to use the Internet.

          We need far more severe sentences like this, in order to clear up the "frontier town" image of the Internet.

          Just my thoughts,
          Jeff.
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          • Profile picture of the author KevinTorrence
            Yep, if he was a repeat, cheatin', scumbag, scammer, then he deserved it.

            I'm in the weight loss market as well, and I make sure to be 100% ethical and stay the heck away from "diet pills". The thought of that industry makes me sick. No way in the world would I rip people off selling them "effortless" dreams when weight loss truly can be a simple process that just takes a little time and some basic know-how.

            Guess I'm more interested in helping people understand the truth of nutrition & quality of life (since I'm going through it myself) and get paid for it later ... than seeing how much money I can get selling weight loss dreams.

            Nutrition, exercise, and even basic, proven supplements? sure ... but "diet pills"? ... not with a 10 ft pole.
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          • Profile picture of the author tommygadget
            Originally Posted by Jeff Henshaw View Post

            Then I suggest asking them.

            It seems as though he was a repeat offender, if so, then he deserves everything that he gets.

            Cheats, liars and scum bags (I'm not suggesting that he is one - the courts decide that) are ruining the genuine businesses trying to use the Internet.

            We need far more severe sentences like this, in order to clear up the "frontier town" image of the Internet.

            Just my thoughts,
            Jeff.
            Sheesh, if you're going to quote me then don't leave off half the sentence. I did not say to let people get off or not to make an example of him. What i DID say was that the Boca Raton attorneys and the government are a bunch of unrepentant hypocrites. They go after a soft target and let murderers, rapists, big money scammers (HUD, Barney Frank anyone), etc. run amok.

            TomG.
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    • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
      Originally Posted by Intrepreneur View Post

      Glad to hear it.

      Just cos they can afford a quality copywriter doesn't mean they should get to lie (Copywriters that write without due care should too) . If only more got 20 years in prison for what they do we'd have a better more ethical marketplace to work in.
      He wasn't selling pills when Gary Halbert wrote the copy for him.
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      • Profile picture of the author Eric Lorence
        20 more just like him waiting to step in, and they'll make millions too - for the very same reason (as an earlier poster said) physical exercise sucks for most people, and they will believe any copy that promises a "simple solution (pill)" , "reasonable timeline" , and no effort.

        You don't need to be G.H. -or anyone close to sell this stuff ...

        For every pill these "victims" bought off this guy, how many more of these "products" did they spend their money on?
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
    BLAST UP TO 49 POUNDS OFF YOU IN ONLY 20 YEARS
    New Prison Diet Works Miracles
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    • Profile picture of the author Tyson Faulkner
      That's craziness. This guy would start a business, make a ton, get shut down, and REPEAT. There's something wrong when that is allowed to happen for that many years.

      I feel sorry for all the people who get duped out of money for crappy weight loss pills that wreak havoc on their body and don't even give any results. It still amazes me what sells, people just want to buy "the dream." Do nothing and lose weight! hah...right...
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      • Profile picture of the author MaryT
        Originally Posted by Tyson Faulkner View Post

        That's craziness. This guy would start a business, make a ton, get shut down, and REPEAT. There's something wrong when that is allowed to happen for that many years.

        I feel sorry for all the people who get duped out of money for crappy weight loss pills that wreak havoc on their body and don't even give any results. It still amazes me what sells, people just want to buy "the dream." Do nothing and lose weight! hah...right...
        in fact if he had met with experts in tax evasion(just a trip in Europe:Switzerland or Luxembourg), he would never been charged

        a lot of shady businessperson run business like that all their life, but they cover their back in legal terms

        still 20 years seem more too much, he didn't killed anybody

        i think some guys start sweating, if this judge browse through the wso headlines
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    • Profile picture of the author BrainCopy
      Originally Posted by Scott Ames View Post

      BLAST UP TO 49 POUNDS OFF YOU IN ONLY 20 YEARS
      New Prison Diet Works Miracles
      I'm in! how much? haha
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      • Profile picture of the author atvking
        "BLAST UP TO 49 POUNDS OFF YOU IN ONLY 29 DAYS!"

        man i hate people like this...i think the most weight loss ever recorded was 1lb/day and this was on chemo therapy patients wasting away from cancer...49 pounds in 29 days is an insane claim...only liposuction can reduce 49lb in such a short time period...

        as for his 20 year sentence this is surprising...murders and rapists get 20 years...seems a bit harsh to sentence a scammer to 20 years?!?...
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        • Profile picture of the author Intrepreneur
          Originally Posted by atvking View Post

          "BLAST UP TO 49 POUNDS OFF YOU IN ONLY 29 DAYS!"

          man i hate people like this...i think the most weight loss ever recorded was 1lb/day and this was on chemo therapy patients wasting away from cancer...49 pounds in 29 days is an insane claim...only liposuction can reduce 49lb in such a short time period...

          as for his 20 year sentence this is surprising...murders and rapists get 20 years...seems a bit harsh to sentence a scammer to 20 years?!?...
          I loss 4lbs a day easily so don't think that's true and if it is maybe I should contact the Guinness world Records?
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          • Profile picture of the author BrainCopy
            Originally Posted by Intrepreneur View Post

            I loss 4lbs a day easily so don't think that's true and if it is maybe I should contact the Guinness world Records?
            Really?, mind sharing how that was done?
            The most I lost was 10 pounds in 6 days by switching to
            raw vegtables, and and running 1 mile per day. I did it as a testimonial
            for a weight loss product.

            Best Regards,
            UFG
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            • Profile picture of the author Intrepreneur
              Originally Posted by UFG View Post

              Really?, mind sharing how that was done?
              The most I lost was 10 pounds in 6 days by switching to
              raw vegtables, and and running 1 mile per day. I did it as a testimonial
              for a weight loss product.

              Best Regards,
              UFG
              A hyper fast metabolism. Never fails.
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          • Profile picture of the author atvking
            Originally Posted by Intrepreneur View Post

            I loss 4lbs a day easily so don't think that's true and if it is maybe I should contact the Guinness world Records?

            its water weight...im 4lb lighter in the morning...hell i could take diuretics and lose 10lb in just one day but this is not fat loss this is just shedding water...its impossible to burn 1 pound of fat in one day...one pound of fat is like 500 grams 1 gram of fat is 9 calories so to burn 4500 cals /day is a very tall order...this does not take in to account your intake of calories typically 2-3K/day...you would have to walk for 12 hours/day just to burn 4500 cals...then theres the blood sugar problem you must burn fat and not blood sugar! this is anaerobic vs aerobic exercise...dont want to bore you with the details but you get my point...
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          • Profile picture of the author agc
            Originally Posted by Intrepreneur View Post

            I loss 4lbs a day easily so don't think that's true and if it is maybe I should contact the Guinness world Records?
            So you can burn 7000 more calories in one day than you eat?

            And your body is so highly trained that you can do this at a low enough heart rate that your body can fuel this effort entirely by metabolizing stored calories?

            You are, of course, a multi-day endurance athlete. Right?
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    • Profile picture of the author Mohammad Afaq
      Originally Posted by Scott Ames View Post

      BLAST UP TO 49 POUNDS OFF YOU IN ONLY 20 YEARS
      New Prison Diet Works Miracles
      LOL

      No thanks
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    • Profile picture of the author Gwen_Iler
      Originally Posted by Scott Ames View Post

      BLAST UP TO 49 POUNDS OFF YOU IN ONLY 20 YEARS
      New Prison Diet Works Miracles
      great....this should be a great headline for ads and banners..... lol....
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  • Profile picture of the author Bertil Jenner
    It seems what got them into trouble was their inability to honour refunds.
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  • Profile picture of the author tommygadget
    I read every word of the story. I want to ask the attorneys over in Boca Raton why they get this guy 20 years and have an open door policy for child molesters and pedophiles. And the government officials, hey, why do they allow the big frauds to simply go by like the Wall street fat cats and the bank officials with their multi-million dollar exit packages and on and on. You're a joke, that's what I say.

    TomG.
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  • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
    "BLAST UP TO 49 POUNDS OFF YOU IN ONLY 29 DAYS!"

    That is one of his headlines. I would love to have his buyer list. I could sell them property on Mars.
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  • Profile picture of the author Glenellis
    I dropped a pound a day for 30 days by cutting my caloric intake down to 1200 a day and walking or riding my bike at least 5 miles 5 times a week. Felt like hammered dog$%#! the entire time, but damn I looked good when I was done. Didn't need any pills, either.
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  • Profile picture of the author LB
    But hey, the FDA says Vioxx may have caused nearly 140,000 heart attacks (about 30%-40% of which were fatal) and no one cares!

    Let's not worry about a drug that kills people- get the evil diet guy!


    (not defending this guy...but there is a double standard that is sickening)
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    • Profile picture of the author JustKid
      Originally Posted by LB View Post

      But hey, the FDA says Vioxx may have caused nearly 140,000 heart attacks (about 30%-40% of which were fatal) and no one cares!

      Let's not worry about a drug that kills people- get the evil diet guy!


      (not defending this guy...but there is a double standard that is sickening)
      Has there been a class action? With that many people surely some of them are sueing the drug companies?
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  • Profile picture of the author brieat
    We can all learn from this guy and not make absurd dieting claims haha.

    Seriously, the guy didn't learn his lesson if he got shut down, and repeated his cycle.

    At least he isn't dead -- there was a case in Russia were this guy was a "King" spammer, and he was found dead (shot in the head in his apartment)
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  • Profile picture of the author Underground SEO
    wow, thats crazy, 20 years! I might give this niche a miss in the future.
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  • Profile picture of the author JayPeete
    Never go into the gray areas. It's just not worth your freedom.
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  • Profile picture of the author PaulaC
    I don't think murderers get that long do they?
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    • Profile picture of the author Jason Fladlien
      I have lost close to 15 pounds in a day before. Heh. Not safe. At all. I was a wrestler. We cut weight. Hard. It's called not eating or drinking a single thing for 24 hours while sweating off water weight.

      Should I market this as a weight loss product?

      Actually, most people "drift" about 1 1/2 pounds in their sleep. Again, it's water you lose from breathing. Of course, with any water weight, you put it right back on.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mohsin Rasool
    It is sad story... Lessons to be learned.

    It is greed or what, he was asked to stop this..but he kept repeating the same thing..
    not so innocent...

    but also 20 years sentence seems Judge was very upset with this guy.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Atkins
    20 years?

    C'mon. There are murderers, robbers, pedophiles you name it who
    get less than that.

    What he did was wrong and he should've been
    punished for it... but not like that.
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  • Profile picture of the author buckz55
    wow i'm like 20 minutes away from boca ... I wish I could of got some pointers b4 he went away lol JK ..... anyways I think 20 years is pretty harsh for a scammer ....
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  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
    Banned
    The dumb cluck wouldn't stop. He can't say he wasn't warned. And then we have this choice disclosure -
    After a three-week civil trial, in which Sarcona acknowledged that the doctor featured in his ads was in a nursing home suffering from dementia,
    - that's like something out of a Marx Bros movie - "Calling Doctor Hackenbush!"
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    • Profile picture of the author Kella Bella
      Originally Posted by Metronicity View Post

      The dumb cluck wouldn't stop. He can't say he wasn't warned. And then we have this choice disclosure - - that's like something out of a Marx Bros movie - "Calling Doctor Hackenbush!"

      Omg ya just made me feel bad for laughin but LOL ya goof!
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  • Profile picture of the author KenThompson
    Seems being a repeat offender in any matter is really playing with
    fire. It pisses 'em off. lol. That's what really racks up the time, when
    you keep getting nailed for the same thing, or similar things.

    Seriously, think about it... this guy is super street smart. He could
    probably make that kind of money if he did things right. I have no
    doubt about it.

    Also, consider this, lol, putting him in jail for 20 years is the ONLY
    way they could ever stop him. It is, that was the only way, but
    you know - I would not be surprised if this guy gets back into
    something from prison. It hasn't stopped some people in the past.

    That guy's an outta control freight train. Psycho marketing 101. lol
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  • Profile picture of the author entrepreneurjay
    Lol that guy has big gonads to say the least he was warned countless times. Greed, and being an idiot contributed to his demise.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kella Bella
    I'm not sure how I feel about this. I mean I agree he should be sentenced but 20 years? Some murderers don't even get that long and his offense was monetary not mortal. So I dunno that I agree with the harshness of his sentence...
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  • Profile picture of the author TheMagicShow
    This dood scammed people and was ordered by a judge and told to stop his stupidity. He, chose to build new corps and scam even more, he got what he deserved.
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    • Profile picture of the author VegasVince
      Gary Halbert wrote the ad 20 years ago.

      Laws have changed since then....aka...FTC laws are a lot different now then when Gary penned that ad. And yeah.....since when does the copywriter take heat long after he died? BS!

      This dude did his damage.....long after Gary died if you read the story....and it appears he kept running a campaign that he was told NOT TO RUN.

      He's an idiot.

      At the same time.....Gary Halbert.....proves why he was probably the best copywriter who ever lived.

      His stuff still sold.....long after he left us.....and let the record be clear......the damage done...was long after Gary died.

      And part of me wonders why......"victims" cry foul......after sucking down diet cokes and eating a whole pizza....wondering why they still are fat.

      These aint victims to me...they are mooches who were looking for a quick fix because their fat lazy asses couldn't put down the box of glazed donuts long enough to exercise.

      Some of these so-called "victims" are no better then the promoter of the product they bought their snake oil from.....and if "ignorance" is a crime.....a whole lot of them belong in club fed for being dumb asses.

      Because once again...dumb assess breed children who often grow up to be dumber then mom and pops...and fatter too!

      God I hate "victims."


      xxx Vegas Vince
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      • Profile picture of the author Nathan Alexander
        Originally Posted by VegasVince View Post

        God I hate "victims."


        xxx Vegas Vince
        I love the Lee Milteer quote, "There are no victims, only volunteers."

        It would seem victims make great groups to sell to however - they're never hard to find.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lukas
    probably be in a nice club fed with Madoff. which will have tennis & more schemers & may have massages & art learning classes (oh wait, that is in Cancun's prison)
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  • Profile picture of the author petelta
    If Frank would of just used his powers for good instead of evil, he wouldn't of been in this predicament and could of possible made the world a better place.

    Travis
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    • Profile picture of the author Exfilius
      Illegally medicating people by dumping fluoride in their water supply and claiming that it will prevent cavities, even though it destroys your brain, is fine, but making false claims about a diet pill is wrong. Okay.
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      • Profile picture of the author agc
        Originally Posted by Exfilius View Post

        Illegally medicating people by dumping fluoride in their water supply and claiming that it will prevent cavities, even though it destroys your brain, is fine, but making false claims about a diet pill is wrong. Okay.
        You have evidence of the cause and effect in these "destroyed brain" cases?

        AFIK they've been flourinating water in America for 40+ years.... I'm not sure I see this epidemic of destroyed brains.
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        • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
          Originally Posted by agc View Post

          You have evidence of the cause and effect in these "destroyed brain" cases?

          AFIK they've been flourinating water in America for 40+ years.... I'm not sure I see this epidemic of destroyed brains.
          It's probably true....if you drink about 5,000 gal/day.

          Then again, if you drink enough water, your brain will swell and kill you way before the fluoride kicks in.
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          • Profile picture of the author PCKen
            Banned
            [DELETED]
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            • Profile picture of the author T.R. McCarroll
              Anybody say William McCorkle ....

              Morale here: when we sell stuff it better be good stuff

              TR
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  • Profile picture of the author jteatom
    Nice to see somebody out there policing up those who cause problems to us trying to make an honest living. Too bad there are probably many more people like that out there.
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  • Profile picture of the author MediaPlanner
    I hate to hear the guy got 20 years prison time for "finding a need and filling it" as I was tought in Marketing school. 20 years is too IMHO. Did I miss something, did the guy kill anyone?
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  • Originally Posted by rjaf View Post

    I'm of a similar mind and steer very clear of all things medicinal when it comes to niches.
    Dang those niches are huge, and with customers credit-card-in-hand and ready to buy. Years ago I was shopping for a fulfillment house, and it turns out that the guy giving me the tour (the owner) was the one who invented/marketed Cigarest in the late 60's. He told me they were slammed with orders and they couldn't grow fast enough. They were pioneers and breaking new ground with the credit card companies, and with in expanding into huge phone centers and settup up advanced inbound call processing technology. And just to think the stop-smoking niche is nowhere near as big as the diet niche. Man those niches and customer bases are beyond huge.... I can just imagine how dishonest people can really smell the big BIG money.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gwen_Iler
    Yeah...I guess your right..... I was just kidding though..... It is always important to make the your stuff genuine and authentic to make it legal......
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  • Profile picture of the author tyroneshum
    Stay away from pills and harmful diet supplements - just keep a balanced diet, maintain exercise, enough fluids regularly, plenty of sleep and put a touch of recreational activities. That's all-way effective living life more natural and apparently losing weight.
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  • Profile picture of the author FiverrGuru
    oh man, the talk about Gary Halbert and people paranoid about weight loss niche... i'm laughing hard.

    anyway, the guy basically disregarded all of the cease and desist letters sent to him, no wonder he went to jail eventually.
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  • Profile picture of the author anwar001
    Its good if such conmen are nabbed early so that they don't dupe too many people.
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  • Profile picture of the author Damien Roche
    20 years? How many [months] do you get for killing a child on the road, again?

    Don't get me wrong, he deserved it. But 20 years? How do they justify these sentences?
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    • Profile picture of the author LB
      Originally Posted by Damien Roche View Post

      20 years? How many [months] do you get for killing a child on the road, again?

      Don't get me wrong, he deserved it. But 20 years? How do they justify these sentences?
      No kidding, society is upside down.

      I just read a story about a guy who got mad because another guy killed his character in CounterStrike (online game).

      He stalked this other guy for 6 months and then finally went to his house, rang the bell and when the guy answered he plunged a steak knife into his chest.

      The guy got 2 years and had to take "anger management" classes.

      Premeditated murder attempt is only worth 1/10th of what this guy got? Sorry, makes no sense whatsoever.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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      Originally Posted by Damien Roche View Post

      20 years? How many [months] do you get for killing a child on the road, again?

      Don't get me wrong, he deserved it. But 20 years? How do they justify these sentences?
      20 years is fair. He ignored every warning for 30 years. He was begging for it and he got it. He thought he was above the law and could do what he wanted to do and ignore judges orders and the law. See how that's working for him now?
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      • Profile picture of the author Damien Roche
        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        20 years is fair. He ignored every warning for 30 years. He was begging for it and he got it. He thought he was above the law and could do what he wanted to do and ignore judges orders and the law. See how that's working for him now?
        Oh yeh, no doubt. 20 might be fair. Just think 'they' have their priorities screwed up. Why did they 'warn' him for 30 years, and not simply stop this moron after 2?
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