For Release: October 19, 2004
"Slim Down Solution": Problem Solved
A federal district court has permanently barred a group of marketers of bogus weight-loss
products from making false claims about the effectiveness of their products. In January 2003, the
Federal Trade Commission charged Slim Down Solution, LLC, Maderia Management, Inc., and
several related companies and individuals with misrepresenting that their product, "Slim Down
Solution" and its main ingredient, D-glucosamine, could block dietary fat absorption and cause
consumers to lose weight without changing their diet, in violation of federal law. In May 2004,
the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida granted summary judgment against the
two sets of defendants and entered an Order and Judgment for Permanent Injunction and Other
Equitable Relief against each of them. On October 6, 2004, the court entered a stipulated
modification settling one remaining complaint count and the monetary judgment against Slim
Down Solution, LLC, and its related entities and owners.
The Commission's complaint named Slim Down Solution, LLC, Slim Down Solution,
Inc., S.S.T. Management, Inc., The KARA Group, LLC, and their principals, Ronald and
Kathleen Alarcon (collectively, the SDS defendants); and Maderia Management, Inc.,
Polyglucosamine, Ltd., and their principal, Steven Pierce (collectively, the Maderia defendants).
The SDS defendants, based in West Palm Beach, Florida, advertised and sold Slim Down
Solution through nationally disseminated infomercials that aired on cable television channels such
as Bravo, Comedy Central, and PAX Cable, and on the Internet at www.slimdownsolution.com.
In addition, the SDS defendants sold their product through a continuity program, automatically
shipping consumers Slim Down Solution and charging consumers' credit cards or debiting their
bank accounts monthly. The Maderia defendants, based in Conroe, Texas, have manufactured
and sold D-glucosamine products directly to consumers and other resellers through their Internet
sites, including www.polyglucosamine.com. Resellers, in turn, promoted the products to
consumers under private labels such as "Fight the Fat," "Everslim," "Mini Max," and "Slim Down
The court found that the defendants deceptively advertised Slim Down Solution and D-glucosamine (both chitosan derivatives) as "fat trapper" weight-loss products that could prevent
consumers from absorbing up to 20 grams of dietary fat per dose. The court also found that the
SDS defendants falsely claimed that Slim Down Solution causes weight loss even if consumers eat
substantial amounts of foods high in fat, such as cheeseburgers, french fries, and cheesecake.
The Permanent Injunction Orders entered by the court bar the defendants from making
these and other false claims, such as that Slim Down Solution or D-glucosamine cause substantial
weight loss without calorie reduction or exercise. The orders also prohibit the defendants from
claiming, without competent and reliable scientific proof, that Slim Down Solution or D-glucosamine cause any weight loss at all. The defendants further are barred, in connection with
the sale of any product, from making false or unsubstantiated efficacy or safety claims, or
misrepresenting the results of any scientific test or study.
The court orders hold the defendants jointly and severally liable for more than $30 million
in consumer redress. To satisfy the $30 million judgment partially, the court ordered the
defendants and third parties holding the defendants' assets to turn over to the FTC all assets
traceable to Slim Down Solution or D-glucosamine sales. Further, the orders bar the defendants
from selling their customer lists. The orders also impose on the defendants compliance reporting
and record-keeping requirements.
On December 16, 2003, individual defendants Ronald Alarcon and Kathleen Alarcon filed
for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. On May 14, 2004, the court in the
FTC action found that the Commission's action against the Alarcons was not stayed because of
the bankruptcy proceeding and granted the Commission's motion for summary judgment against
As part of the stipulated modification to the final order entered by the Court on October 6,
2004, the SDS defendants will dismiss their bankruptcy case and pay $725,000 in consumer
redress. The Alarcons have put up their Florida home as collateral for payment of this judgment.
If the SDS defendants have lied about their financial situation, or if they do not pay the required
amount by December 28, 2004, they will be liable for the entire original judgment of $30,135,784.
The modified order has an added provision prohibiting the SDS defendants from enrolling
consumers in a continuity program or billing consumers without their express consent. The
Maderia defendants remain liable for the original judgment.
The Commission vote to approve the modified order was 5-0. The modified order was
entered by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on October 6, 2004.
The FTC has the following tips for consumers who are interested in weight-loss products
- Products and programs that promise quick and easy weight loss are bogus. To lose
weight, you have to lower your intake of calories and increase your physical activity.
- The faster you lose weight, the more likely you are to gain it back. Experts recommend a
goal of about a pound a week.
- There are no miracle weight-loss products. Be skeptical of products and programs that
claim they can keep weight off permanently. Be skeptical about exaggerated claims.
For more information on weight loss and diets, visit the FTC's Web site at:
Copies of the modified order are available from the FTC's Web site at http://www.ftc.gov
and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue,
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent,
deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help
consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual
counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer
topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and
other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to
hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Office of Public Affairs
Heather Hippsley or Karen Muoio
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3285 or 202-326-2491
(FTC File No. X030017)
(Civ. No. 03-80051-CIV-PAINE/JOHNSON)
FTC v. Slim Down Solution, LLC, Slim Down Solution, Inc., S.S.T. Management, Inc., The Kara Group, LLC, Ronald Alarcon, Kathleen Alarcon, Maderia Management, Inc., Ployglucosamine, LTD., Stephen Pierce (D.C.S.D.Fla.) Case No. 03-80051-DIV-PAINE/JOHNSON