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Government Cracking Down On Get-Rich-Quick Scams

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WASHINGTON — The economic downturn appears to be bringing out the worst in some people.

The Federal Trade Commission has announced a major crackdown on those trying to take advantage of people worried about the tough economy by promising jobs that don't exist, get-rich-quick schemes and other phony services.

One of the 15 cases announced by the FTC _ as part of "Operation Short Change" _ involved a company that marketed infomercials for "John Beck's Free & Clear Real Estate System" and other alleged get-rich schemes. The FTC said the defendants made bogus claims about the ability to raise cash fast.

The agency said that more than 600,000 people were duped out of about $300 million. The sweep also included dozens of additional cases filed by the Justice Department and at least 13 states.