State raids offices of diet pill telemarketers; 37 arrested

CARSON CITY (AP) - A raid on a Las Vegas ''boiler room'' that sold diet pills across the nation resulted in arrests of 37 people on charges of deceptive trade practices, obtaining money under false pretenses and unregistered telemarketing.

The raid on Shop From Your Home in Las Vegas resulted in the seizure of records, bank documents and ''tons of pills,'' said Deputy Attorney General Brian Kunzi.

The business, operating since March 1999, is owned by Brien Keith, according to the attorney general's office. Keith wasn't at the company at the time of the raid and there is no warrant for his arrest at this time.

Records in the secretary of state's office show Shop From Your Home is a limited liability company whose manager is American Home Shopping Club Inc. Keith is listed as president, secretary and treasurer. A second manager is shown as Taylor Communications Inc. of Tempe, Ariz.

Kunzi said the telemarketers would ''make outrageous claims'' guaranteeing success and citing false medical support for the products.

''They would tell (consumers) they were located in a doctor's office or a weight-loss lab,'' Kunzi said, adding that they would claim the product would absorb all fat and that weight could be lost by eating pizza, fried chicken and french fries.

The most notable consumer complaint, Kunzi said, was failure of the company to provide any refunds.

A search warrant was obtained by the Bureau of Consumer Protection of the attorney general's office after an undercover investigation, which was triggered by a flood of complaints to state agencies.

Shop From Your Home also operated under other names including Doctors Wellness Network, Better Health Products, Wealthy Through Health Investments and Doctor Golden's Weight Laboratories.

Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa said the company had a sophisticated computer automated dialing system. She said there was nothing to suggest the operation was run by a physician or was part of a weight-loss laboratory.

Cooperating in the investigation were the FBI, postal inspectors, Las Vegas Metro Police and the state Division of Parole and Probation.


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