A case with allegations dating back to 2008 and litigation dating from 2018 is finally catching up to Donald Trump, who is accused of fraudulently endorsing a videophone that users say turned out to be a clunky failure.
Trump introduced the company, ACN Opportunity LLC, on Celebrity Apprentice, as a significant player in the telecommunications industry (you’ll see the video clip below) and the company marketed its products with that connection.
However, the lawsuit alleges, the reality show mogul failed to disclose that he wasn’t recommending the product from his own experience, but as a paid endorsement, and falsely implied that it was a surefire hit. Instead, smartphones took over the field, and the videophone failed spectacularly.
Trump was first hit with the lawsuit in 2018, although he’s accused of defrauding investors as early as 2008 by assuring massive sales and easy money and was finally ordered to sit for a deposition at an undisclosed date in October.
The investors’ lawyers have said they planned to grill Trump about why he started pitching the company to his viewers around 2008, assuring his fans that they could make easy money selling the video phones “without any of the risks most entrepreneurs have to take.”…According to the suit, the Trumps lied about their faith in its products and also failed to disclose they were being paid to promote the company.
The lawsuit also includes Trump’s company and his three oldest children.
A report from Business Insider in 2020 adds that the four plaintiffs in the suit are remaining anonymous, but that they say they lost thousands following Trump’s advice to invest in the product.
Investors participated in a MLM deal that involved paying “thousands of dollars for registration fees, trainings, and conventions,” to gain the right to sell the product — and to rope other investors into the same scheme, for additional shares of the take.
One described making a total of $38 back on her investment — by selling the devices to her cousins.
Trump, meanwhile, is alleged to have taken nearly $9 million from the company in return for endorsements, appearances on his show, and advertising. You can see one of ACN’s appearances on Celebrity Apprentice below.
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.