Daniel Chapter One, an evangelical herbal health supplements marketer, is facing penalties in federal court for violating a Federal Trade Commission order banning the company and founder James Feijo from lying to consumers about the benefits of its useless "cancer cures."
At the request of the FTC, the Justice Department asked a federal district court to impose civil penalties upon Daniel Chapter One and Feijo, including fines of up to $16,000 per each violation of the FTC order, full refunds to all affected customers and "disgorgement of all ill-gotten gains."The Justice Department request includes an injunction to force Daniel Chapter One and Feijo to stop making deceptive claims on the company's daily radio show and website about the purported cancer-fighting properties of its herbal supplements.
It also requires the Portsmouth, R.I. company to inform consumers who purchased its supplements of the FTC's findings. "Consumers have suffered and will suffer substantial consumer injury as a result of Defendants' violations of the Commission Order," according to the Justice Department complaint. "In addition, Defendants have been unjustly enriched as a result of their unlawful practices."
As the name implies, Daniel Chapter One is named after the Old Testament's Book of Daniel, and according to the company's website, was founded in 1986 by Jim and Tricia Feijo as "a health store/healing ministry." The FTC first targeted Daniel Chapter One in a September 2008 lawsuit filed as part of Operation False Cures, a crackdown aimed at peddlers of phony cancer remedies.
Daniel Chapter One hawked four dietary supplements – BioShark, 7 Herb Formula, GDU, and BioMixx – all of which it claimed inhibit tumor formation or growth, eliminate tumors, treat or cure cancer or heal effects of radiation or chemotherapy, the FTC says.
Of the three supplements still advertised on the site -- there's no longer any sign of Biomixx -- the product descriptions for BioShark, 7 Herb Formula and GDU are all heavily redacted, as are those for supplements not mentioned in the suit, including Genesis First Aid Oil and Ezekiel First Aid Oil, of which, the site claims: "The Lord created this herbal and man has used this for centuries. . . "
All the site's wonder drugs are priced by "donation per unit." For example, a "donation" for 100 BioShark capsules, which are apparently made from shark cartilage, will set you back $31.
After an administrative trial in April 2009, the judge found the defendants were making deceptive claims. That decision was upheld by the FTC in December 2009, which issued an order requiring Daniel Chapter One to cease all false advertising, notify customers of the FTC's findings regarding their bogus claims and advise them to consult their doctors before using any herbal "cancer cure."
Feijo petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals in March 2010 to review the FTC ruling that he and Daniel Chapter One were guilty of deceptive advertising, arguing they had the right to make their claims based on their freedom of religion. The appellate court dismissed Feijo's claims as "wholly without merit" and ruled in favor of the FTC in December 2010.
The new civil penalty complaint by the Justice Department accuses Feijo and Daniel Chapter One of violating the FTC order by continuing to promote so-called cures for cancer and other tumors without reliable scientific evidence to back up their claims, as well as failing to notify past purchasers of the FTC's findings.
The Daniel Chapter One site also contains a link to a separate site, Daniel Chapter One Freedom, which it says "was created to share with you the ongoing battle between Daniel Chapter One and the Federal Trade Commission, a battle of historic importance between a small ministry and a treacherous bureaucratic agency. "
The site solicits comments, testimony, donations, contributions to a legal defense fund and other related items, including a video of someone called "Tim" burning a copy of the FTC letter, but not before subjecting viewers to a rambling, 10-minute discourse about the need to repent your sins, the wonders of Genesis Oil, the evils of the FTC and the Nazification of America. Watch it here.
'Healing Ministry' Peddled Harmful, Bogus Cancer Supplements, Says FTC