Friday, July 8, 2011

Anti-Mormon Bigot Tricia Erickson Outed As A Former Professional Scam Artist; Settled With Federal Trade Commission In 1999

The efforts of a vitriolic anti-Mormon bigot to smear and defame the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on CNN's "In The Arena" blog have seriously backfired as commenters to the post exposed the fact that the bigot was caught red-handed in a marketing scam and was forced to settle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) back in 1999.

In a column entitled "An indoctrinated Mormon should never be elected as President", anti-Mormon hatemonger Tricia Erickson, who like so many self-proclaimed "consultants", peddles the typical porridge of ambiguous hopes and dreams through a couple of entities called Crisis Management, Incorporated and Angel Pictures & Publicity, claims that Mitt Romney is unsuitable for the Presidency of the United States. However, the true purpose of her column is to shill her upcoming book entitled "Can Mitt Romney serve two masters", in which she attacks Mitt Romney's religion. Her book is divided into two parts; Part I covers the spiritual aspect, while Part II covers the political.

The central premise of her whole book is that the commitments made by a devout Mormon like Mitt Romney are supposedly so binding and all-encompassing that she believes him to be incapable of governing the country in a manner that might be at odds with LDS Church leadership. In short, she assumes that if Romney has to choose between the country and the Church, he will choose the Church. She bases this assumption upon her own experience as a former Mormon; she describes the endowment ceremonies she underwent in a temple as being "completely violent, mind controlling and alarming".

Yep, you guessed it. Another ex-Mormon who could leave the Church, but who can't leave the Church alone.

Because of Erickson's extremely slanted and vitriolic discourse, CNN was fair-minded enough to retain LDS historian Richard Bushman to directly respond to Erickson's smears, along with Corey P. Saylor, National Legislative Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Ahmed M. Rehab, Executive Director, CAIR-Chicago (I'm not necessarily comfortable with CAIR getting involved because they have a reputation for being apologists for Islamofascism).

But even without Bushman's response, Tricia Erickson's hysteria actually alienated much of the public as reflected in the comments to the post. Furthermore, comments alleging Erickson's unsavory business past began to pop up:

Why don't you tell all of these readers about how you were charged by the Feds back in the late 1990's in Virginia. It seems that a lot of Christain families that you served felt that you ran an organization that scammed them out of a lot of money. Sorry to bring this up, but when you bash on others on a national stage, your past can haunt you. I am suprised CNN did not do a thorough background check on you! (Google it (Erickson Agency, VA))

ANTHONY, thanks for bringing that to light. After reading many articles about this, such as,
I can only reiterate my previous comment. Funny, I can't find any articles like this about Mitt Romney. I did find one about him shutting down Bain Capital for a couple of days to help search the streets of NYC for a missing girl. To bad he belongs to a cult or you may have to say that sounds pretty Christlike and shows forth love.
You're unbelievable!

Daryl Denney:
Yep. As suspected, she is in it for the money. Credibility gone. Take a look at this. Looks like she is/was a scam artist. Google: Consumer Affairs Modeling Scam Settlement Patricia Erickson

So I Googled the suggested phrase, and look what I found. In May 1999, the FTC charged Model 1, Inc., and its president, Jason Hoffman; Creative Talent Management, Inc. and its president, Ralph Bell; and The Erickson Agency, Inc., and its president, Patricia Erickson, with misrepresenting their ability to get lucrative jobs for consumers who contracted for their modeling and acting courses. The Commission's complaint also alleged that the defendants misrepresented themselves as highly selective in scouting, screening and reviewing consumers for marketability as models or actors. Model 1, Inc., Jason Hoffman, Creative Talent Management, Inc. and Ralph Bell settled FTC charges on August 27th, 1999. The terms of the settlement are posted in this FTC press release, and are also presented towards the end of this post, after the jump.

Confirmation that the current Tricia Erickson and the past Patricia Erickson are the SAME PERSON is posted in BlogsForMitt in the form of three comments:

against hypocrites who spew venom June 24th, 2008 at 12:06 am:
Tricia Erickson, of all people. Wow. This is hilarious. I knew her. I worked for this self-proclaimed “Christian” woman in her agency, called the Erickson Agency, in McLean, VA. It was a scam, pure and simple. This hypocrite bilked a lot of innocent people out of a LOT of money by exploiting their dreams of stardom. Tricia was vicious, too. She and her (then?)-husband Ralph Bell were bullies and would do anything to preserve their money-making scam, including threaten people with legal action if they said they’d go to the authorities. I know it sounds silly, but people were scared of her. She and Ralph Bell were doing the devil’s work, is all I can say. They are EVIL. Ralph was just some engineer who got sucked into the whole money-making allure of Tricia’s modeling and acting agency. Huh. If Tricia is so Christian, let her make amends the right way and take responsibility for hurting a lot of people by downright stealing their money and falsely representing what the Erickson Agency could do for them. Knowing what I know and remember about Tricia Erickson, all I can say is, Tricia, you’ve got some nerve spewing anything against Mitt Romney. “Christian” woman. Indeed.

against hypocrites who spew venom June 24th, 2008 at 12:13 am:
Oh, while I’m thinking of it, one more thing. From what I remember of working at the Erickson Agency, and I remember working there like it was yesterday (like the people she violated must remember being scammed, I bet) Tricia’s hatred of all things Mormon have less to do with the church than it does the fact that a bad Mormon man diddled her when she was little.

rather not October 10th, 2009 at 7:03 am:
ms erickson and her former husband ralph bell ripped off my business for over 40,000.00. their scam business (model 1 aka creative talent management) was shut down by the ftc in 1999. she is a fraud and a thief. she should not be judging anyone. she should spend her time paying back all the people she ripped off in her life.

The terms of the 1999 FTC settlement are presented below:

Under the terms of today's settlement, Patricia Erickson and The Erickson Agency are banned from assisting any entity with the marketing or sale of modeling and acting development programs by:

* appearing in any promotional materials or performing marketing services to consumers;
* reviewing the marketability of individuals for professional work as actors or models;
* allowing a business to use the name of the defendants' clients unless the client hired graduates of that modeling and acting training program during the preceding three calendar years; or
* serving as a reference for any entity that offers modeling and acting training programs.

They also are permanently banned from working with Jason Hoffman, Ralph Bell, Model 1 or Creative Talent Management in any business engaged in the marketing or sale of any services for aspiring models or actors.

As with the settlement reached with Model 1, Inc., Jason Hoffman, Creative Talent Management, Inc. and Ralph Bell, Erickson's settlement prohibits Patricia Erickson and The Erickson Agency from falsely representing that:

* they are selective in scouting, screening and reviewing consumers for marketability as models or actors;
* consumers are likely to obtain substantial paid employment as models or actors through the defendants' efforts;
* their principal source of income is commissions on the fees paid to their models and actors by clients;
* individual sales personnel or other agents have industry expertise to assess consumers' marketability as models or actors;
* any person or entity has hired talent trained by the defendants; and
* the availability of specific modeling or acting assignments.

In addition, in the event that the Erickson defendants ever operate their own training program, they cannot:

* charge any non-refundable testing and processing fee in excess of $50;
* conduct mass scouting by holding in-person solicitations away from their primary business location using scouts or other sales staff who are paid commissions based on enrolling consumers in modeling and acting development services; or
* condition talent representation on consumers' payment of greater than 50% of the tuition and fees for modeling and acting training classes.

In addition, to allow consumers an adequate time to cancel any contract for future training, Erickson must also provide a 3-day cooling off period in which the consumer may cancel his or her contract and receive his or her money back less the $50 non-refundable fee, after the consumer has been accepted into any modeling or acting development program, and after the consumer has been informed of the total cost of the program.

Finally, under the settlement, the Erickson defendants must pay a $25,000 monetary judgment, which contains an avalanche clause that calls for the defendants to pay a $500,000 judgment if the court finds that either of them made a material misrepresentation or omission on their sworn financial statement. The settlement also contains various recordkeeping requirements to assist the FTC in monitoring the defendants' compliance.


Anonymous said...

Great work. This information explains a lot about Tricia Erikson. Here is post I wrote about Erikson as well. She's quite a interesting person.

Anonymous said...

where does R Bell live now,I heard florida?

Anonymous said...

The largest scam in the history of our nation is the mormon "church".
They are one of the wealthiest fortune 500 corporations - ever.
No accountability by the scamsters to their worker bees for the $$$$$$ they blindly and mindlessly fork over to the "big guys". The mormon corporation is brilliant at dodging all taxes of their huge wealth. Amazing that anyone could even try to defend that SCAM!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

So our point is ......she is worse than us ? As a member of The LDS church for over 10 years I feel these personal attacks on individuals only serves to make us look bad.
Let’s argue the contents of the book. Never forget we should not be engaging in the very same hate speech others use in a failed attempt to make us look better ...It’s doesn’t!!!!!!

Jenny H>

Anonymous said...

I found the book on Mitt Romney attacking his Mormon Faith

Sherrie said...

I saw her interview. If she is a scam artist, shame on her, however what she says about the Mormon cult and Mitt Romney are true. I've studied this cult for a long time and it's every thing she says and more.

Debra J.M. Smith said...

Okay, I went and read the FTC piece on Tricia Erickson. And I don't get your point, of what it has to do with her stand against Mormonism.

Are you saying that a person has to be perfect in business in order to speak against Mormonism?

You do realize that business people get into situations every day in this country. I recently heard of law schools being sued because graduates believed that they were wrongly told that they would easily get a job after graduation. Seriously, check this out: --Perhaps you had better write all the defendants names down just in case one of them ever speak against Mormonism.

And look at Martha Stewart. She spent time in prison for inside trading, something that until just recently congress was allowed to do. Would you say that Martha Stewart should not speak on something that was a large part of her life, because of what happened?

Tricia Erickson was born and raised in the Mormon Church. She married in the Mormon Church and didn't come out of it until after she was a mother. Are you going to claim that she has no right to talk about twenty-some years of her life that was spent being a Mormon because thirteen years ago something went wrong in a business that she had and the FTC ruled against her on it, gave her a fine and basically told her to never do it again? Are you serious?

Here's the fact of it. We all have what we believe and what we don't believe. And we are all free to talk about either. If you are so sure of that which you believe, you should be able to handle someone speaking against it and not fall into a frenzy over it. And you should be able to argue your case on topic, not on something that is totally irrelevant to that topic.

Diverting the topic onto something else means that you do not have the ability to argue the issue with arguments that are on topic. It proves that the other person is telling the truth and that you cannot refute what the other person has said.


Anonymous said...

I received a magazine-like publication in the mail called The Link Letter with a subtitle the Journal of Texas Conservative Politics in Houston Texas. It seemed to be a descent publication preparing for the upcoming primary. I read several of the articles and they seemed pretty good but the sourcing seemed limited. Then I came on an article titled, 'Why would any woman vote for a Mormon'. It was an excerpt from Tricia Erickson’s book. Not even half of it is true or accurate. It saddened me to think that a reputable radio station would publish such an article without investigating in more detail. It is unfortunate that often churches do not open dialog with the LDS Church on such publications to create an accurate understanding of our church. Thanks for helping me source details on this author.

Anonymous said...

Really some ppl are just dumb. I am a son of a bishop and yes I do not have a testimony of the church and I do not attend church I don't pray I don't read my scriptures Really I have nothing to with this church anymore but was a part of it for 18 years. but what this woman talks about is very far fetched and wack no wonder her family deserted her she is a moron. Oh speaking of that I need to tell the general population about GMs cars and no one can refute this because I have driven them for over 10 years, don't buy one and they should be off the road because there are three essential things I need to do to start my car and keep it running first it makes sure I have a blood alcohol of over 10% or it shuts off. second I must be texting at all times if I go more than 10 seconds without entering txt in my phone the car senses this and shuts off. third I must be getting a blow job, if the up and down motion is stopped the car will shut off also. if I drop the ball on one of these the car will not function so therefore all GM's cars are unfit for the road. yes this is all true no arguments can be made 10 year plus ownership of GM's

Anonymous said...

Erikson is a nut. If she had any sense at all, she wouldn't go trampling the Lord under foot along with everything she doesn't like about the Mormon church. It's obvious that all she's doing is trying to get publicity for herself and she doesn't care how she does it. Okay, so she used to be a Mormon and is mad about it. That's no reason to go run amok without even checking with the Lord first. Maybe she ought to consider whether the Lord will excuse her for the things she's said and done. I guarantee you he won't.

Anonymous said...

Mormons are not christians.

Anonymous said...

MORONS I mean mormons are not christians.

Anonymous said...

As much as I hate to say this, I was curious about her book, "Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters?", and I was disturbed to find that it is well written and factual. Every time I saw something in it that I didn't like, I went to her reference and found out that she was telling the truth. It is so well referenced that I could not argue with anything she had to say in it because when I looked it up, she reveals information in our own church's words. In other words, she didn't "opine" very often...she just stated the facts from our church leaders, prophets and history. I guess she was a member a long time ago and things have changed since then, but her experiences in the book are valid. It makes me re-think Mormonism because Mormons just attack her, but when we attack her, we are attacking our own religion because, again, it's written pretty much in our own words and history. We better be careful here before we react in an ungodly way towards the facts. ...sorry to say.

Anonymous said...

No wonder scam artists are so successful in fooling people because there are a lot of gullible people out there. I think there's a fine line between a liar and a scam artist.
How I see it is that she is the one doing all the attacks, how is questioning her credibility an attack on her.

Anonymous said...

What is your definition of a cult?
What is your definition of Christianity?

Anonymous said...

The Community of Christ, formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the LDS Church) are two separate denominations that share a common heritage in the Church of Christ founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. on April 6, 1830 in western New York, through its first 14 years until 1844. They have evolved separately in belief and practices ever since.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Debra, are you saying that scamming people is a business?
Like you said, everyone has the right to speak even if they are telling lies. You can't expect me to believe that if someone demonize you in a public media that you will not react.
What prove do you have that tricia is telling the truth? Because she WAS a member of that church? That doesn't mean that she is telling the truth, it just means that she has knowlegde of that religion and can easily twist her words.

Anonymous said...

I finished her Acting for the Camera studio in McLean long ago & it was one of the funnest things I ever did, & with real professional training. I didn't continue on with my headshots, Auditions, casting calls in D.C. because I was doing many other projects at the time, & those Job goals require great focus. The only reason they went after her & The Erickson Agency is because the colleges with very lengthy-duration theater programs got ticked off that her talent Agency provided a direct efficient waste-no-time Real World (with all the normal hits) guiding path into show business & modeling, with Networks of contacts. ( Not excluding academic & community theater experience & credentials to build one's resume. ) Her agency had a Big City feel & it was one of the funnest gigs in town. Everyone was so excited for the models working hard to build their portfolios of real on-the-job experience. The place was a blast & no one wasted time. It was no-nonsense. It was a buzzing no-BS environment, that felt like you were already in LA or Manhattan 'fighting to make it.' If anything, her Agency was innovative & stood alone for our part of the country in Northern Virginia. Seems some of the complainers that coalesced wanted a candy-coated world & endless guarantees. I wish I could have defended her during the complaints. It's supposed to be the free market, but that scene on her was just power cartels worried about their turf. So as with anything, it's always wise to determine just exactly who is pulling the scamming. And I'm rather surprised that the spoken-of FTC wasn't more thorough in identifying the real 'bandits', because those government spotters can usually get to the Real dirt of any scene.
Kosh, - March 19, 2013
[ I studio'd under agent Steve & actor Jonathan ]
& wouldn't trade it for the World. : )


Anonymous said...

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Chat Conversation End

Nice try, Tricia.

Anonymous said...

Mormonism = deceived. Romney? You might as well vote for someone that believes the Easter bunny is real.

Anonymous said...

Yep Bell is now scamming in Florida