FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 22, 1999
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that an administrative law judge has ruled that a Baltimore company which sold aloe and other products as potential cancer and AIDS cures made false and misleading claims about the effectiveness of its products. Last year, the Attorney General's office charged T-Up, Inc., and its principal owners, Allen Hoffman and Neal Deoul, with violating the Consumer Protection Act, alleging that it misled customers when it claimed its concentrated aloe product "T-Up" and a mineral product were effective treatments or cures for many diseases, including almost all forms of cancer and AIDS. In her Proposed Decision, Judge Judith Jacobson determined that the claims lacked any credible medical or scientific support. Judge Jacobson also found that Hoffman and Deoul lied to consumers about their credentials, falsely claiming they were Ph.Ds.
Characterizing these violations as "egregious," Judge Jacobson recommended that Hoffman, Deoul and their company receive the maximum penalty permitted by law. Judge Jacobson also recommended that the company and its officers be prevented from committing further violations and pay back all monies collected from consumers who were deceived.
T-Up, Inc. and its principals may take exception to Judge Jacobson's proposed decision. Those exceptions will be heard by the Chief of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, who will determine whether Judge Jacobson's decision should be adopted or modified in any manner. After this exceptions process, the Consumer Protection Division will issue a Final Order in the case.
"This was a horribly sad situation for a lot of people, many of whom faced grave illnesses and were desperate for a cure," said Attorney General Curran. "Patients and their families should always be skeptical of any unproven treatment, especially if it's sold as a type of ‘miracle cure'."
According to documents filed in the Attorney General's case, during one 18-month period alone (April 1997 to October 1998),T-Up sold more than $2.3 million worth of its product to more than 3700 customers. T-Up's principal marketing piece was a cassette tape entitled "There Is Hope: You Don't Have to Die." T-Up also distributed a brochure that described its product as "capable of increasing T lymphocytes and attacking cancer, AIDS, herpes and other viruses like nothing else before it."
Allen Hoffman has also been indicted in U.S. District Court with mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiring to introduce an unapproved new drug into interstate commerce. Also charged in connection with the same case are a Virginia doctor, Donald L. MacNay, and an Oklahoma cosmetic lab owner, Odus M. Hennessee.
Consumers with complaints against T-Up, Inc., Allen Hoffman or Neal Deoul should contact the Consumer Protection Division by calling (410) 576-6569.