The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is attempting to nail a group of Internet affiliate marketing companies for numerous alleged false advertising allegations.

The FTC filed claims in six different federal courts against 10 affiliate marketing operations. The allegations state the affiliates used fake news websites to promote the Açaí Berry weght loss program. The FTC is asking the courts to freeze the affiliates’ assets.

The FTC believes the affiliate marketers falsely claimed the Açaí Berry supplements will lead to major weight loss. In addition, the agency alleges false news reports and testimonials were created in order to pull the wool over consumers' eyes. The federal agency claims the affiliates did not spell out the relationship with the Açaí merchants who were actually producing the weight loss program.

Charles Harwood, deputy director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection, said the defendants' websites are designed to look like news-gathering organizations, but instead they are deceptive advertisements. The websites in question include: “News 6 News Alerts,” “Health News Health Alerts” or “Health 5 Beat Health News.”  The websites include articles that indicate typical Açaí customers are losing 25 pounds per month.

The FTC claims the defendants' sites display the names of major media sources, including ABC, Fox News, CBS, CNN, USA Today, and Consumer Reports, and the sites erroneously say their news reports had appeared on the websites for the news networks.

The defendants are accused of directing web traffic to their sites by running ads on popular websites with such headlines as: “Açaí Berry EXPOSED— Health Reporter Discovers the Shocking Truth.”  Consumers could then click on a link from the defendants' websites to the merchant's site in order to purchase the Açaí products.

The FTC and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office also alleges the weight-loss claims purported in the ads are not reliable. The agency is is seeking refunds for consumers who purchased the Açaí products. It is estimated over $10 million worth of Açaí products have been sold through the affiliates' websites.