A federal judge has fined a California company $25 million for misleading 110,000 people to buy into a work-at-home scheme that almost never paid off.
U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson banned The Zaken Corp. on Wednesday from advertising or selling work-at-home business opportunities in the future.
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The Justice Department says the Calabasas company claimed associates who purchased a $148 business plan could earn $3,000 to $6,000 in a few hours by locating excess inventory that Zaken would sell.
Customers often received very little in return, including an outdated telephone directory of mostly defunct businesses.
Pregerson says fewer than 1 percent of customers earned any income.
Prosecutors say the company aggressively tried to sell additional business tools for hundreds or thousands of dollars.
A telephone listing for the company was disconnected.