SALT LAKE CITY — Daniel Burgner and his wife paid $53,000 to learn real estate investing from Zurixx.
Then there was another $180,00 from his IRA he lost repaying all the lines of credit he was told to open.
“That was originally my retirement account,” Burgner said Wednesday. “I'm down to about $4,000 or so.”
Wednesday, the Utah Department of Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission announced a $12 million settlement with Zurixx to repay consumers. That’s believed to be the largest consumer protection settlement in Utah history.
The two agencies say Zurixx actually cost consumers $111 million, but the company is in receivership. The $12 million appears to be all the thousands of victims will share.
“Zurixx and its executives used high pressure sales tactics to convince thousands of different customers to participate in what we would really think of as a classic get rich quick type of scheme,” said Margaret Woolley Busse, the director of the Utah Department of Commerce, at a news conference.
Burgner and his wife said they attended their first Zurixx seminar in 2014.
“There was a real estate investing seminar headlined by Tarek and then Christina then-El Moussa,” Burgner said.
The couple, then married, have had home repair shows on television.
The first seminar was free, but, Burgner said, Zurixx pressured him and his wife to attend more seminars that cost thousands. Those trainings encouraged Burgner to apply for new credit cards and to use them and other lines of credit to invest in real estate.
The celebrities are not part of the settlement. Burgner had a message for them Wednesday.
“Shame on you!” he said.
Anyone who lost money to Zurixx can apply for a refund by making a report here.