Russ Dalbey, Boulder infomercial king: Settlement costs $330 million
Back in 2010, Westword contributor Teague Bohlen put together a list of TV's scummiest get-rich-quick schemers -- and prominently featured among them was Boulder's Russ Dalbey, whose "Winning in the Cash Flow Business" infomercials attempted to separate suckers from their wallets via easy-money promises related to promissory notes and mortgage loans.
Big photos, videos below.
Now, however, the sucker is Dalbey, who's settling a federal and Colorado lawsuit to the tune of $330 million. Photos, videos, documents and details below.
The 2011 complaint against Dalbey, his wife Catherine and assorted business entities was jointly filed by the Federal Trade Commission and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers; it's included here.
The document points out that since at least 1996, Dalbey had marketed products and services "purporting to teach consumers how to find, broker, and earn commissions on seller-financed promissory notes or cash flow notes.... These promissory notes are privately held mortgages or notes often secured by the real property that is the subject of the loan." By 2002, his pitches were going out via nationally broadcast infomercials, direct mail, websites and e-mail.
A screen capture from a Dalbey ad emphasizes his "15 years of success."
Here's one Dalbey claim featured in the complaint: "It's so incredibly easy, you wouldn't believe it. You simply find a cash flow note, and there's millions of them out there, and then you list what you just found on my exclusive nationwide buyers network where buyers are ready to buy what you just found."
Problem was, the only people apparently collecting no-sweat cash as a result of this concept were the Dalbeys. Here's another excerpt from the complaint:
Dalbey putting on the hard sell.
Few consumers who use the initial WITCFB products and services purchased in response to the infomercials and websites, and few consumers who use the additional products and services purchased through Defendants' telemarketers, have been able to quickly and easily broker any promissory notes or earn substantial amounts of money from brokering promissory notes. In fact, most consumers who purchase Defendants' products or services have not brokered any promissory notes or earned any money using Defendants' products and services.Another alleged irony: A number of those offering testimonials in support of Dalbey's formula on infomercials were far less successful than advertised. The complaint maintains that "in numerous instances, Defendants advertise inaccurate earnings claims for testimonialists. For example, some testimonialists paid out substantial portions of their earnings to co-brokers, employees, independent contractors, or other third parties, thereby yielding substantially lower earnings than what is stated in their testimonials. In addition, some testimonialist earnings claims were total earnings figures accumulated over several years rather than in one year."
Continue for more about the Russ Dalbey settlement, including videos and original documents.