FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 10, 2000
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced at a press conference today that his Consumer Protection Division has ordered T-UP, Inc., a Baltimore company, and its principals, Allen Hoffman and Neal Deoul, to stop making claims that their aloe and mineral health products can treat or cure diseases such as cancer and AIDS. Curran's Consumer Protection Division also ordered T-UP, Hoffman and Deoul to pay restitution to consumers and $3.7 million in civil penalties for violating the Consumer Protection Act by misleading consumers with unsubstantiated claims concerning their products' safety and effectiveness. Curran was joined at the press conference by Deanna Crabbe of Port Deposit, Maryland, widow of Douglas Crabbe, who sought the alternative treatment with T-UP after learning from doctors that he only had 18 months to live with esophageal cancer.
The Final Order upheld findings made last September by Administrative Law Judge Judith Jacobson that T-Up, Hoffman and Deoul deceived consumers with claims that their products "T-UP," a concentrated aloe product, and cesium chloride, a mineral, were effective treatments or cures for many diseases. Hoffman and Deoul marketed their products to consumers, many of whom were terminally ill with cancer and AIDS, promising them a miracle cure at a cost of thousands of dollars for each treatment. The T-UP aloe product was sold in two-ounce bottles for oral consumption, or in larger quantities for intravenous administration, which has not been approved by the United States Food & Drug Administration.
The Consumer Protection Division held that an advertiser making medical efficacy or safety claims for a product must have well-controlled clinical tests proving that its product is actually effective in treating or curing a disease. The Consumer Protection Division found that Hoffman and Deoul possessed no such studies at the time they began marketing their products as being effective and safe. The Division found that there are no scientifically valid studies showing aloe vera or cesium chloride are effective treatments or cures for any of the diseases for which T-UP, Inc. marketed its products, including cancer and AIDS.
"This is one of the worst cases of deceit and irresponsibility I have ever heard of," Attorney General Curran said. "To give these suffering people and their families false hope and prey upon their vulnerability and desperation all in the interest of lining their own greedy pockets makes me sick ."
In addition to not having any reliable scientific evidence to support their claims about their products, the Order also found that Hoffman and Deoul falsely represented that the T-UP aloe vera was approved by the FDA and could be lawfully administered intravenously in the United States, that Hoffman and Deoul possessed doctorates, that Hoffman and T-Up staff were qualified to offer medical advice to consumers, and that their aloe vera product was significantly more concentrated than any other aloe vera product on the market.
"I am very pleased with the Order and hope it sends a strong message to other potential predators that these kinds of deceptive practices will not be tolerated," said Curran. "My heart goes out to the families who fell victim to this company and its staff and I only hope this action assuages their anguish by some small measure."
T-UP has sold its products to thousands of people. They or their survivors are eligible to receive refunds for T-UP products they purchased. Those consumers are urged to contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at (410) 576-6569.