Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that two Seattle-area based companies will change the marketing of their "get rich quick" seminars and refund Oregonians who paid up to $5,000 to attend additional investment workshops. Named in a complaint and stipulated judgment filed today in Marion County Court House are Wade Cook Financial and Wade Cook Seminars, Inc., both Nevada corporations, with corporate headquarters near Tukwila, Washington.
"Oregonians were coerced by misleading advertising to pay thousands of dollars to attend Wade Cook's financial workshops," Myers said. "Cook claimed financial success through manipulating the stock market when in fact, he made his millions off the seminars."
Fourteen states including Oregon and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached settlements with Cook and his companies. In lawsuits filed by Attorneys General and the FTC, it is alleged that the free seminars sponsored by Cook were nothing more than three-hour sales pitches to pay between $3,000 and $5,000 to attend the two-day Wall Street Workshops. In one year, the corporation held 3,733 seminars in more than 379 American cities.
Myers also alleges that Cook's companies made false claims about acquired wealth and told workshop attendees that they could duplicate Cook's success by following his formulas. In addition, the lawsuit also alleges that Cook's companies failed to disclose losing transactions and information about the risks of trading in the stock market. The judgment filed with the lawsuit incorporates a separate FTC settlement filed Monday in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, Washington.
The restitution program will be administered by Cook's companies and monitored by the FTC. Oregonians who meet preset criteria will receive notice of the settlement and an application for refunds. Washington State will divide more than $400,000 for consumer education and costs among the 14 states.
Consumers wanting printed information on "get rich quick schemes" may write Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection at 1162 Court Street, N.E., Salem, Oregon 97310 or call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll free at 1-877-877-9392 or online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org