Digital Altitude Lawsuit: Why the FTC Shut It Down

This post details the Digital Altitude lawsuit and why the FTC shut it down. This is wonderful news that took a long time coming! The FTC is suing Digital Altitude/Aspire, it’s owner Michael Force, plus all related parties, for their fraudulent business coaching scheme.

The lawsuit was filed in California federal court Jan. 29, 2018 and the FTC issued a press release on Feb 8, 2018. The Federal Trade Commission is suing Digital Altitude/Aspire for taking over $14 million from gullible consumers seeking to start their own online business with their digital marketing system.

The FTC has filed a lawsuit against California-based MLM Digital Altitude and its founder and CEO Michael Force alleging that defendants, which also include ten related companies and four additional individuals, operate “a deceptive scheme that has caused at least $14 million in consumer injury.”

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The suit against the company, which sells a digital marketing business opportunity, was filed Jan. 29 in California federal court. In their case against Digital Altitude, the court stated the following:

In numerous instances, Defendants operate an online enterprise, falsely representing to consumers that they will earn large sums of money if they join the Digital Altitude or “Aspire” program.

Defendants tell consumers they can earn “six figures online in the next 90 days or less,” and that experienced business coaches will help the consumer build a successful online business. . . .

There is good cause to believe that Defendants have engaged in and are likely to engage in acts or practices that violate [laws prohibiting unfair or deceptive business conduct] and that [the FTC] is therefore likely to prevail on the merits of this action.

The FTC identifies most of the companies below as “alter egos” of Digital Altitude itself. The court has grouped all of the following as just “Digital Altitude”.

  • Digital Altitude LLC is a Delaware company owned and operated by CEO Michael Force
  • Digital Altitude Limited is a UK company also owned and operated by Michael Force, primarily used to open merchant accounts for credit card processing
  • Aspire Processing LLC is a Nevada company managed by Mary Dee and Sean Brown (as an officer), primarily used to open merchant accounts for credit card processing
  • Aspire Processing Limited is a UK company owned by Mary Dee with Alan Moore as an officer, it is used to advertising Digital Altitude memberships
  • Aspire Ventures that shares the same details as Aspire Processing Limited
  • Disc Enterprises is a Nevada company that appears to be run by Sean Brown, it is primarily used to open merchant accounts for credit card processing
  • Rise Systems & Enterprise is a Utah company managed by Sean Brown, primarily used to open merchant accounts for credit card processing
  • Rise Systems & Enterprise LLC is a Nevada company managed by Mary Dee and Morgan Johnson, primarily used to open merchant accounts for credit card processing
  • Soar International Limited is a Utah company managed by Michael Force
  • The Upside LLC is a California company managed by Mary Dee and primarily used to open merchant accounts for credit card processing
  • Thermography for Life LLC (dba Living Exceptionally Inc.) is a Texas company, primarily used to pay Digital Altitude employees and affiliates

For the sake of simplicity I’ve grouped all of the above companies as just “Digital Altitude”.

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Michael Force, the creator of Digital Altitude, has been in the internet marketing industry for a long time and was involved with other multi-level marketing companies like the Empower Network.

Empower Network was one of the biggest pyramid schemes around at that time; it launched in Oct 2011 and out in three short years, just to give you a taste of what’s to come.

The defendants’ operation misled thousands of consumers by making them think they will be making a substantial income by promoting highly exaggerated marketing tactics like making “six figures in 90 days or less”.

I’ve had specific reasons for telling people not to join Digital Altitude/Aspire, or its sister company MOBE for quite some time now. I wrote a post titled “Is MOBE an MLM Scam? The FTC Said YES and What You Need to Learn From This” in which I said the following:

“Let me say this: The Federal Trade Commission…has determined that an MLM company primarily generating revenue via sales to recruited affiliates is a pyramid scheme.

You can’t be providing a genuine product or service value when nobody outside of your income opportunity is paying for your product and/or service. That’s the core of the problem the FTC has.

This was the same situation with MOBE. Only the people within MOBE was buying what MOBE was selling, and they had to keep making sales within MOBE in order to make the business viable.”

This is a similar issue the FTC had with Digital Altitude/Aspire.

“The bottom line is this: An MLM company without significant retail activity is a pyramid scheme. The FTC has done their homework and concluded the retail revenue in MOBE among its own members/participants is quite substantial.

If the majority of company-wide revenue is NOT derived from the sale of products and services to retail customers, then look out: You’re in the crosshairs of the FTC!”

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Below are products Digital Altitude/Aspire members are encouraged to purchase. These ARE NOT retail products available to the general public, but digital products members were REQUIRED to buy at some point if they wanted to reach the higher income levels within the organization.

Now lets look at the prices for each of these products you are REQUIRED to buy if you want to reach the higher income levels:

  1. Aspire Walker (Digital Business Sales System) – $37/month
  2. Aspire Hiker – $67/month
  3. Aspire Climber – $127/month
  4. Base (Digital Business Mastery Course​​​​) – $597 (one-time)
  5. Rise (Digital Marketing Mastery Course) – $1,997 (one-time)
  6. Ascend (Digital Business Profit Workshop) – $9,997 (one-time​​​​)
  7. Peak (Digital Business Prosper Retreat) – $16,997 (one-time)
  8. Apex (Digital Business Legacy Experience) – $27,997 (one-time)

Another problem the FTC had with Digital Altitude is that you can only get commission for the membership levels you have purchased for yourself. For example, if you only have Aspire membership, you won’t be able to promote Apex membership and earn high-ticket commission for that membership.

If you add up all the prices for the products together…

$37+$67+$127+$597+$1997+$9997+$16997+$27997 = $57,816!!

That’s right! $57,816!!

The worst thing is that most beginners are not aware of all the different upsells that are waiting for them. Digital Altitude’s website doesn’t mention a single price on its products page!

Why People Fall for These Promises: “Your Pain…Let Me Remove Your Pain…”

There are two primary reason why people fall for the lie promised by all of these multi-level marketing organizations. The first one was stated very well by MOBE (My Online Business Education) founder Matt Lloyd:

Make no mistake: Michael Force understood and applied what Matt Lloyd was saying. Do you understand what Mr Lloyd is saying?

Obviously Mr Lloyd has some understanding of psychology. He understood that there are millions of people who “are in pain”, either physically or emotionally. He understood that people are “looking for a way out” of their pain.

Most people equate making money as a way out of their “pain”.

Their “pain” could be a bad marriage, a very painful breakup with a life partner, a bitter divorce, or many of these people may be enduring a bad relationship for the sake of their children. I have personally experienced the “pain” that life can bring as well.

The pain could also be physical; some may be enduring a battle with cancer, as I am battling at the very time I’m writing this post. Others may have just received other bad news about their health. Some may have been enduring “pain” for decades and need financial relief.

Some may have lost everything to pay medical bills and are living with people they don’t want to live with. Others live with family members who need medical treatment or other services and cannot afford it. They helplessly watch their family members suffer.

This type of “pain” can be particularly devastating: the pain of watching a family members health deteriorate and YOU HAVE NO MONEY OR RESOURCES TO HELP THEM!

Standing by helplessly with no financial resources chips away at your self-esteem, it creates anger, and you are constantly looking for “a way out.”

Let me make this clear: the “happy, shiny people” you see at these seminars may look like they have no pain, but they do. Believe me, they do!

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6 Figures in 90 Days to “Remove Your Pain”

The second reason why people fall for the lie promoted by MLM organizations is the promise of making money quickly in a short period of time.

Think about it: If you are “in pain” and need a way out, and you looked at the ad below, there’s a possibility you’re going to say to yourself: “This could get me out of the difficult situation I’m in!”

People want to make money online but they don’t want to endure the time and the hard work it takes to create a real, enduring business.

You hear the excuses all the time: “I don’t have time when I get home from work” or “I’m too tired at the end of the day” or “I don’t know how to write blog posts” or “I don’t like to write”. There’s an excuse for every day of the week.

Presto! Don’t worry…Here comes Michael Force and Digital Altitude to help you make money online without all of the trial and error and sweat equity most people have to endure. That’s not how this works.

Look at this very small sample of the people who were dependent on the income from Digital Altitude. With one court decision ALL OF THEIR EARNINGS ARE GONE!

When Digital Altitude got shut down, their online business dissappeared! Thousands of dollars that people were depending on GONE WITHOUT A TRACE.

Making matters worse, the courts and lawyers suing Digital Altitude will NEVER get the money back that these people lost. Even if some members of Digital Altitude are fortunate enough to get SOME money back, the majority of bottom-feeders will NEVER see one red cent!

My question to you is this: Would you want this to happen to YOU? How would you feel if thousands of dollars of money YOU WERE DEPENDING ON vanished overnight, never to be seen again?

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The Future’s Looking Bleak For MLM “Schemes”

With the closure of Digital Altitude,  Empower Network, and MOBE – from where I’m standing, there’s no future for high-ticket multi-level marketing organizations. They will have to completely change their business model if they want to avoid the crosshairs of the FTC.

Obviously the FTC is on the warpath to rid the internet of MLM scams.

There are legitimate programs they could have easily recommend that will put you on the right track to success online; to name a few:

These are some legitimate highly rated  programs enabling you to build a highly profitable, consistent business in the Affiliate Marketing arena.

The problem is many of the people who passed on these platforms in favor of Digital Altitude, MOBE, Empower Network and the like did so because of the promise of fast money in a short period of time!

I know for a fact that the commissions from traditional affiliate marketing platforms were considered “chump change” compared to the commissions from Digital Altitude, MOBE, Empower Network, etc.

I can’t stress enough the fact that people who are involved in MLM’s are only in this for themselves. Initially they might come off as very concerned and helpful and that is only because they want you to hand over your hard earned money.

Before you join your next so-called “opportunity”, remember to always do your research. I have fallen for a number of these scams in the past and I wouldn’t want anyone to have to loose thousands of dollars just to learn the hard way.

I spend $49/month to run a legitimate online business and I don’t go around recruiting family and friends into some mlm “business opportunity”.

Please consider building a REAL affiliate marketing business that you and your family can benefit from for years to come; a business that you have complete control over from top to bottom.

Talk Soon,

Howard

4 thoughts on “Digital Altitude Lawsuit: Why the FTC Shut It Down”

  1. I really like your article on the Digital Altitude Lawsuit.  You can tell you really put a lot of thought and research into your article.  I found the article to be precise and straight to the point.  I admire articles that shed light on scams such as Digital Altitude.  I hope this lawsuit will help the people who have lost thousands of dollars and with the help of your article you are informing consumers on what to look out for to prevent being scammed by the various products offered through this scam artist.  It is unfortunate that people would invest in such fraudulent schemes, however, I know people are looking to make money and these fraudulent products make promises and guarantees that are not true.  Thank you for shedding light on this ridiculous scam and also grouping all of the Digital Altitude schemes that have taken advantage of consumers.  We need more articles like these that shed light on the pyramid schemes and with more of these articles, hopefully it will prevent others from falling into the trap of false promises and being scammed out of thousands of dollars.  Thanks, Howard.

    • Hey Melissa,

      Thank you for your detailed comments. I’m more than happy to help people keep their earned-earned money! I wish you much success here at WA!

      Talk Soon,

      Howard

  2. Hello Howard,

    Looking back at the many pyramid scams I’ve fallen for, it is clear to me now that what i was actually looking for wasn’t money.

    What i was really yearning for was a way out of my “pain”.

    Now that i can clearly point out my errors, it makes me wonder how anybody ever falls for MLMs. I hope more people get exposed to the reality that it takes hard work and persistence to make money online.

    Kudos to you for the good work.

  3. MLM is the worst thing that can happen to anybody. I know many people that are in ardent poverty because of MLM. As you said they will flag a very promising note that makes people fall for it only to loose all in the end.There are ways to make an honest money in internet as you have rightly said  which wealthy affiliate is one of them but people still fall for these make money quick people.Thank you for this post, you have given a clear instruction, those that have ear let them hear

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