WASHINGTON, DC. (WWLP) – The owner of two companies has been sued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for falsely claiming products they marketed were made in the United States.

According to a complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in a U.S. District Court in Ohio, Adam J. Harmon and two companies he controls, Axis LED Group, LLC and ALG-Health LLC were charged with violating the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act, the Made in USA Labeling Rule and the FTC Act.

The court documents allege that Harmon and the two companies told consumers that personal protective equipment (PPE) they marketed during the pandemic, as well as light fixtures they sold, were made in the United States. The FTC’s proposed order would prohibit them from making deceptive claims that products were Made in USA – or, that because they were Made in USA, they provided superior protection from COVID-19. The order also would require them to pay a civil penalty for their past deceptive claims. 

Beginning in early 2020, Harmon began operating under the name ALG-Health LLC, and selling personal protective equipment such as masks, gowns, and gloves. the complaint alleges that Harmon and ALG made numerous false and misleading claims that their PPE products were all or virtually all made in the United States, even though the products were wholly imported, or incorporated significant imported materials or subcomponents. These claims and other false statements – including that the defendants’ products were U.S.-origin respirators, certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH) – violated the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act, the complaint alleges. Specifically, the defendants harmed consumers by:

  • Deceiving consumers about the country of origin of their products. Through social media posts, marketing materials, and labels, the defendants claimed that their lighting and COVID-19 personal protective products were manufactured in the United States. In fact, the defendants’ products were almost entirely imported. The defendants’ conduct violated the FTC Act, the Covid-19 Consumer Protection Act, and the Made in the USA Labeling Rule.
  • Deceiving consumers about the efficacy of their COVID-19 PPE products. The defendants claimed to consumers that their PPE products were superior due their country of origin. These false claims deceived consumers and undermined honest competitors.

Enforcement Action

The proposed order settling the FTC’s complaint against Harmon, Axis LED Group, LLC, and ALG-Health LLC prohibits the conduct alleged in the complaint. Harmon and his companies must:

  • Stop making deceptive U.S.-origin labeling and advertising claims. Harmon and his companies are prohibited from claiming that products are made in the United States unless they can (1) show that the product’s final assembly or processing – and all significant processing – takes place in the United States, and that all or virtually all ingredients or components of the product are made and sourced in the United States, or (2) clearly and prominently qualify origin claims to disclose imported content or processing.
  • Provide substantiation. The defendants must substantiate all Made in USA and COVID-19-related claims, and refrain from making misleading claims for any products or services they provide.
  • Pay civil penalties. The defendants must pay a $157.683.37 civil penalty, which is due immediately. The defendants are also subject to a $2.8 million redress judgment, which is suspended due to their inability to pay. Should the FTC discover that the defendants have misstated the value of any assets or failed to disclose them, the agency will seek to have the suspension lifted and the full judgment due immediately.

Read the court complaint in full below:

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability. Defendants neither admit nor deny any of the allegations in the Complaint, except as specifically stated in the Order.