Minnesota couple charged with running Amazon sales scheme

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota company and its two owners were charged with running an illegal sales scheme on Amazon that prosecutors said collected more than $15 million from consumers over the past year.
The Federal Trade Commission and the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office recently filed a complaint in federal court that names Jessie and Matthew Tieva, and their company Sellers Playbook, the Star Tribune reported. Another company affiliated with the couple, Exposure Marketing, was also named as a defendant.
The complaint alleged that Sellers Playbook made “false and unsubstantiated” claims, including that its customers could make $20,000 a month and a potential net profit of $1.29 million by selling on Amazon. The couple offered the Sellers Playbook system to consumers through a variety of marketing mechanisms, including email, websites, webinars, online videos and social media, according to the complaint. Sellers Playbook also conducted seminars in cities throughout the U.S.
The complaint also claimed that prior to the creation of Sellers Playbook, Jessie Tieva, through Exposure Marketing, had participated in a similar scheme that was shut down in March as the result of an FTC order.
The Tievas, who have no affiliation with Amazon, couldn’t be reached for comment by the newspaper on Monday. They have been charged in connection with the alleged misrepresentations, including violations of the federal Consumer Review Fairness Act and the Minnesota Prevention of Consumer Fraud Act.
An Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement that the company invests “to protect the integrity of our stores and take action to protect customers and sellers” and that it has “zero tolerance for fraud and abuse and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement to pursue criminals.”
U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank signed a temporary-restraining order last week halting the operation of Sellers Playbook.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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