John Tiedt’s Statement on Kimkins verdict

To all Ducks Today, October 29, 2010, Judge Rick Brown of the Riverside County Superior Court entered a verdict for the plaintiffs in a certified national class action lawsuit. The court entered a verdict against Heidi Diaz the owner of the diet website Kimkins.com for fraud and false advertising. The court awarded the class members restitution in the amount of $1,824,210.39. The court also awarded an additional $500,000 in punitive damages as well as attorney fees. The court then issued a temporary restraining order to freeze all of the assets of Ms. Diaz. Most notably, the court also imposed an injunction requiring Heidi Diaz to post on all of her websites that: (1) she lied about her weight loss; (2) she lied about her after diet pictures; (3) she lied about testimonials on her website; and (4) she lied about the photographs used with the testimonials to promote the Kimkins website. An injunction was also issued to prevent Heidi Diaz from contracting, harassing or cyberbulling the plaintiffs and the witnesses. A formal judgment will be entered before November 19, 2010. The original complaint was filed over three years ago on October 15, 2007. I want to thank everyone who supported the class action lawsuit. The Ducks were wonderful. I met a lot of great people and made a lot of new friends fighting for a good cause. Heidi Diaz lied on her website and made the fatal mistake of lying in the courtroom. You cannot trust Heidi Diaz. I anticipate more legal (illegal) maneuvering by Heidi Diaz to evade the judgment. We will be prepared and I will be relentless. Again, I thank all you. John E. Tiedt TIEDT & HURD

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Kimkins Bankruptcy Dismissed

Heidi’s attempt to derail the Class Action Lawsuit against Kimkins.con was not successful. She filed for bankruptcy in January 2009 which put all other legal actions on hold. But the bankruptcy case has now been dismissed.

So who thinks Heidi Diaz will show up for the new Kimkins get-together scheduled for Las Vegas in October 2009? The 2008 venture didn’t happen due to “high gas prices.” What will the excuse be this time? That Kimkins.con doesn’t exist anymore?

MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION IS GRANTED

This is on the Riverside court site….Looks like really good news to me!

Quote:

Case RIC483005 – FENDERSON VS DIAZ
Action:

HEARING RE: MOTION TO/FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION * BY JEANESSA FENDERSON
01/14/2009 – 8:30 AM DEPT. 04

HONORABLE MICHAEL B DONNER, PRESIDING
CLERK: L. HALL
COURT REPORTER: T. FOSTER
JEANESSA FENDERSON, KARIN BILLECI, TRISTA ESSEX, HEIDI MARTINEZ, KATHLEEN ROGERS, DIANA SHERBY REPRESENTED BY MICHAEL L COHEN A PROFESSIONALLAW CORP – JOHN TIEDT PRESENT.
MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION IS GRANTED.
FORMAL ORDER TO BE PREPARED, SERVED AND SUBMITTED BY COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF

Hiedi Diaz and Kimkins year end review

Having lived through this past year following the Kimkins Scam from the frontlines—you would think not much has happened. You would be wrong.

Cleo was good enough to give us a rundown of the year.

The Lighter Side of Low-Carb: 2008: A Kimkins Year in Review

Let’s not forget all the wonderful publicity Heidi has gained for herself:

Diet Scams: Top 10 Worst Diets of 2008

3. Kimkins. Gives sketchy advice like super-low calorie levels and also laxatives (eeek!), but finding out that the diet’s supposed inventor and biggest success story actually weighs over 300 pounds must have been très awkward.

A Roundup of the Top News Stories in Diet and Food from 2008

This year also saw a lot of scandal around the Kimkins Diet, a plan called a hoax starvation diet by people now involved in a class-action lawsuit against the founder of the diet plan, Heidi Diaz (also known as Kimmer, who claimed to have lost 198 pounds on the plan but really used pictures from a Russian mail order bride website as her after pictures).

Diaz in turn filed a lawsuit against people she says sullied her name and interfered with her business, and Woman’s World magazine apologized for featuring the diet plan in its pages.

Corona woman’s diet program given low marks | Inland News | PE.com | Southern California News | News for Inland Southern California

A Corona woman’s Internet-based weight-loss program has been named the worst diet product of 2008 by a healthy-eating Web site.

In announcing winners of its 20th annual Slim Chance Awards, the Healthy Weight Network — an online forum for health care professionals, researchers and consumers — said the Kimkins low-fat, low-carb diet amounts to a “starvation diet” that deprives members of many nutrients.

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Kimkins Diet Update

Last year I reported quite a bit about a supposed “low-carb diet” that was making quite a lot of news, called Kimkins. It turned out to be an unhealthy, dangerous diet that has generated a class action lawsuit. I wrote a review of the Kimkins diet in 2007, and then followed up on it with more information as it became available, including reporting on multiple types of fraud perpetrated by the owner, Heidi Diaz.

Unfortunately, the wheels of justice turn slowly, and the Kimkins site is still up. I checked in on it recently, and although there are a few minor changes in the diets offered by Kimkins, the essential diet, and my objections to it, remain unchanged.

Low-Carb Lifestyle Examiner: And the ‘Worst Product’ of the year diet award goes to…Kimkins!

One of the chapters of that book will be on the Kimkins diet scam.

After promoting this diet on my blog for months because it seemed to be helping people find their path to genuine weight loss, I realized thanks to the gentle nudge of some friends who delved deeply into the Kimkins plan that this was nothing more than a “starvation diet” that was encouraging lower and lower calories while cutting out the fat and the carbohydrates and promoting its members take laxatives (what was known as “the plan behind the plan”). EEEEK! This was so shocking to me that I wrote an open apology to my readers for exposing them to this dangerous diet scheme.

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Consumer Health Digest, December 23, 2008

Slim Chance Awards issued. Frances M. Berg, M.S., who operates the Healthy Weight Network has issued the 20th annual set of “Slim Chance Awards” to weight-loss scheme promoters. Her 2008 picks are:

Worst product: Kimkins diet. Heidi “Kimmer” Diaz promised loss of up to 5% of body weight in 10 days. She also claimed to have lost 198 pounds in 11 months and showed before-and-after pictures that turned out to be fakes. Many users developed chest pains, hair loss, heart palpitations, irritability, and menstrual irregularities caused by the near-starvation (500 calorie per day) diet.

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Denver Low-Carb Examiner: New Year’s diet plans: Resolve not to get ripped off

Membership Websites: There are online sites that charge you to join to get access to their diet plans, discussion forums and recipe sites. Some charge per month while others offer a lifetime membership. The problem with these sites is you can’t see what the plan is until you’ve already ponied up the cash to join. You have no way to evaluate the quality of the information being offered, or if the dietary advice you are getting is even medically safe or sound.

In one well publicized case, a woman running a diet site claimed to have lost 198 pounds in a year, and maintained her weight loss for over 5 years. Her site offered the way to lose weight “just like her” if you paid $59.95. After an investigation prompted by a disgruntled business partner and upset members who were denied access to the site after paying for the “lifetime” membership, it was revealed that the diet’s founder was, in fact, over 300 lbs. She had not lost 198 pounds. Her “after” photo she used on her site and in an issue of Women’s World magazine was lifted from a Russian Bride website. Not only was her photo faked, several other “success” stories were fictitious, their photos also coming from Russian dating sites. (more) This diet founder is now the target of a lawsuit for her fraud as well as health problems experienced by those who followed her plan.

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‘Worst’ diet promotions of the year | Julie’s Health Club – Where alternative and mainstream health meet

WORST PRODUCT – Kimkins diet. Heidi “Kimmer” Diaz charged users access to her Internet diet, claiming they could lose up to 5 percent of weight in 10 days safely and permanently. Essentially it is a starvation diet, and members complained of chest pains, hair loss, heart palpitations and menstrual irregularities. Eleven are now suing Diaz.

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Fraud and Quackery

To call 2008 a typical year in the weight loss field would be too easy. This year’s awards go to an infamous huckster of diet infomercials, known for his outrageous disregard of injunctions against him; $139 body-shaping jeans impregnated with substances that supposedly reduce cellulite; a pill that’s “proven” to help your belly fat vanish; and a dangerous starvation diet launched recklessly on the Internet with promises of safe, fast and permanent weight loss.

WORST PRODUCT: Kimkins diet. It must have seemed an easy way to get rich quick. Founder Heidi “Kimmer” Diaz set up a website and charged members a fee to access the Kimkins diet, boasting they could lose up to 5 percent of their body weight in 10 days. “Better than gastric bypass,” there was “no faster diet,” and in fact she herself had lost 198# in 11 months. Stunning “after” photos were displayed. In June 2007 Women’s World ran it as a cover story, and that month alone PayPal records show the Kimkins site took in over $1.2 million. Then users began complaining of chest pains, hair loss, heart palpitations, irritability and menstrual irregularities. This was not surprising since Kimkins is essentially a starvation diet, down to 500 calories per day and deficient in many nutrients (appallingly, laxatives are advised to replace missing fiber). In a lawsuit, 11 former members are uncovering a vast record of Diez’s alleged fraud. They found that the stunning “after” photos, including one of Kimmer herself, had been lifted from a Russian mail order bride site. According to a deposition reported by Los Angeles TV station KTLA, Diaz admitted using fake pictures, fake stories and fake IDs, and a judge has allowed the litigants to freeze some of her assets.

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Kimkins: Does Kimkins Work?

With the amount of controversy surrounding this diet, it is a wonder that the website still operates or that anyone would sign up for the plan.

Kimkins was founded by ‘Kimmer’, a formerly obese woman who claimed to have lost 200lbs in a year by following her own low-carb, high-protein diet. She developed a diet plan based on her own experience and built a whole Kimkins empire, including diet program, e-book and Kimkins products. The diet appears to have had an enormous amount of followers who seem to have achieved substantial amounts of weight loss. However, there is a very dark side to this ‘success story’ which has recently been exposed through a number of online dieting sites, forums and even news media.

The controversy concerns the fact that not only is Kimkins extremely low calorie, to the point where some have described it as a starvation diet, but that ‘Kimmer’, whose real name is Heidi Diaz, never actually lost the amount of weight as claimed, and, judging by recently taken photos, is certainly still obese. Added to this is the fact that ‘Kimmer’ has no professional qualifications as a dietician or nutritionist but continues to take money from overweight individuals desperate to lose weight in whatever way possible.

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AOL Body Web Site’s Notes | Facebook

Worst Product — Kimkins diet. Five percent body weight gone in 10 days if you pay a fee on-line for the Kimkins diet plan. Turns out founder Heidi Diaz admitted using fake pictures and stories to promote this starvation diet, leading some to complain of chest pains, hair loss, heart palpitations, irritability and menstrual irregularities. Yes, there’s a lawsuit.

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That’s Fit

Worst Product — Kimkins diet. Five percent body weight gone in 10 days if you pay a fee on-line for the Kimkins diet plan. Turns out founder Heidi Diaz admitted using fake pictures and stories to promote this starvation diet, leading some to complain of chest pains, hair loss, heart palpitations, irritability and menstrual irregularities. Yes, there’s a lawsuit.

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This is just the type of publicity I love to see.

Kimkins Wins the Slim Chance Award

The Worst Diet Promotions of 2008 snag 20th Annual Slim Chance Awards

HETTINGER, ND – Healthy Weight Network released its 20th annual Slim Chance Awards today, highlighting both the hidden dangers of diets and supplements that often contain unknown ingredients and sometimes potent drugs, and the merely ridiculous.

To call 2008 a typical year in the weight loss field would be too easy. This year’s awards go to an infamous huckster of diet infomercials, known for his outrageous disregard of injunctions against him; $139 body-shaping jeans impregnated with substances that supposedly reduce cellulite; a pill that’s “proven” to make your belly fat vanish; and a dangerous starvation diet launched recklessly on the Internet with false promises of safe, fast and permanent weight loss.

All in all, a typical year that synthesizes all that is deceptive and exploitative in this field. So, here they are, the 20th annual Slim Chance Awards (only “Worst Product” is shown here):

WORST PRODUCT: Kimkins diet. It must have seemed an easy way to get rich quick. Founder Heidi “Kimmer” Diaz set up a website and charged members a fee to access the Kimkins diet, boasting they could lose up to 5 percent of their body weight in 10 days. “Better than gastric bypass,” there was “no faster diet,” and in fact she herself had lost 198# in 11 months. Stunning “after” photos were displayed. In June 2007 Women’s World ran it as a cover story, and that month alone PayPal records show the Kimkins site took in over $1.2 million. Then users began complaining of chest pains, hair loss, heart palpitations, irritability and menstrual irregularities. This was not surprising since Kimkins is essentially a starvation diet, down to 500 calories per day and deficient in many nutrients (shockingly, laxatives are advised to replace the missing fiber). In a lawsuit, 11 former members are uncovering a vast record of Diez’s alleged fraud. They found that the stunning “after” photos, including one of Kimmer herself, had been lifted from a Russian mail order bride site. According to a deposition reported by Los Angeles TV station KTLA, Diaz admitted using fake pictures, fake stories and fake IDs, and a judge has allowed the litigants to freeze some of her assets.

For a full list, go to Quackery and Fraud

Motion for Class Certification

The motion for Class Certification for the Lawsuit against Kimkins.con was filed last week. It is an impressive document that details many of the lies told by Heidi Diaz in her efforts to attract customers to her website.

The motion has an excellent summary of why a Class Action Lawsuit is justified. The entire document can be read on the Riverside Court website (look up RIC483005 or search on Diaz, Heidi).

An excerpt from the motion (edited to shorten):

The Unraveling of America’s Worst Internet Diet Scam.
Almost all of the material representations of the Kimkins.con website and advertisements were in fact false. The success stories were pure fiction and photographs were stolen from other Internet sites. The Kimkins diet was not ever proven safe or effective.

“Kimmer”, aka Heidi Diaz, never lost 198 pounds in 11 months. “Kimmer” was purely a fictional character created to defraud the public. The perpetrator of this scam is Heidi Diaz, who habitually lied about the Kimkins diet and her alleged weight loss on the Internet for years from her home in Corona, California. She regularly used false names on the Internet, lied about her weight loss, created countless false success stories, falsely claimed celebrities such as Jessica Alba and Lindsay Lohan used her diet, lied about the safety and efficacy of the Kimkins diet, falsely impersonated consumers in order to induce sales, used unlawful labels and Metatags to misdirect Internet traffic and fraudulently tried to conceal her assets to avoid repaying customers. Heidi Diaz was caught red-handed but still continues to engage in false and misleading advertising on the Internet while making a substantial profit.

1. Kimmer is not Kim Drake, the thin diet expert: Kimmer is Heidi Diaz, a morbidlv obese Internet swindler from Corona, California.
The beautiful woman in the red dress featured on the Kimkins Internet site named Kim Drake aka “Kimmer,” does not exist! Ms. Diaz also admitted that she had posed as Kimmer in a “public apology” that was posted on Kimkins.con after she was successfully exposed by an investigative report on the KTLA news. The Kimkins “poster girl” is actually a model named Lesya whose image was lifted by Heidi Diaz from a Russian bride Internet site. Heidi Diaz used her own picture to depict the “before Kimkins diet” image of Kimmer, and unlawfully misappropriated the photograph of Lesya as the “after Kimkins diet” image of Kimmer. Heidi Diaz has been and remains a morbidly obese woman.

Heidi Diaz created false identities to sell or promote the Kimkins Diet. She admitted under oath that she had used such names as Kimmer, Jennifer Danser, Brad Curtis, Kimberly Stewart, Kimberly Drake, Vanessa Sharp, Dennis Sharp and numerous other monikers.

2. Use of False Pictures of Kimmer.
Under oath and by way of public apology, Heidi Diaz has established that she has used false pictures to depict the weight loss success story of Kimmer. Under oath she stated that the picture of the Kimmer was not her and was actually “a model.”‘M s. Diaz’ decision to use a false picture to advertise Klmkins was even questioned by her technical support staff. Her technical consultant, Aliyar Firat, wanted to use a real picture of Heidi Diaz but Ms. Diaz refused and insisted on using the picture of the model for Kimmer’s after diet photographs.

3. Heidi Diaz Lied About Her Alleged Weight Loss.
Under oath, and by way of public apology, Heidi Diaz admitted that she lied about the alleged weight loss success of Kimmer on Internet and print advertisements. She admitted that her statement that Kimmer lost an amazing 198 pounds in 11 months was in fact a statement that she prepared but was false. Ms. Diaz also admitted that the woman identified as Vanessa does not actually exist and her story was a fictional creation by Ms. Diaz.

With respect to Kimkins’ homepage, Ms. Diaz admits that her testimony on said homepage was derived from the interview wherein she claims to have lost a purported 198 pounds in 11 months was false. Variations of the homepage of Kimkins.con were accessible to the public throughout the class period.

To promote Kimkins, Heidi Diaz made phenomenal misrepresentations on the Internet program known as the “Livin La Vida Low Carb” show hosted by Jimmy Moore on July 19, 2007. Heidi Diaz also stated in the interview that she had kept the weight off for a total of 5 to 5 1/2 years. At the time of the interview, Heidi Diaz weighed over 300 pounds. She was photographed several times shortly after the interview.

4. Material Misrepresentations Contained in the Woman’s World
Magazine Article “Make Heidi Diaz a Millionaire.”

In June of 2007, the story of Kimmer and the Kimkins diet reached millions of Americans. Heidi Diaz admitted that she supplied her own “before diet” photograph for the article but used a photograph of another model for her “after diet” photograph. When asked where she obtained the picture of the model, she stated: “from the Intemet. I don’t remember the site. Just again, I wanted to be anonymous.” Ms. Diaz does not dispute the fact that she also used the false name “Kim Drake” and another false picture in the article.

Her statements in the article were a phenomenal act of fraud by Heidi Diaz. In the article she falsely stated she had lost 200 pounds in 11 months. She also falsely represented that she soared up to 318 pounds after a serious injury. She falsely claimed she went from a dress size 26 to a size 6. As a result of such blatant false advertising, sales shot up immediately. In June of 2007, there were 15,330 paid memberships.

5. The Use of Fortv-One (41) False Success Stories with Misapproprated Photographs.
Numerous Kimkins’ success stories used on the websites and on advertisements were FALSE. The photographs featured in each of the success stories were lifted from Russian Bride websites. Ms. Diaz admitted that each and every person featured did not use the Kimkins diet and did not lose the weight as advertised.

She admitted to fabricating success stories and using false photographs in connection with the advertisements. She also created fraudulent success stories on the Kimkins Newsletter which was accessible to the general public and designed to promote Kimkins.con subscriptions.


6. False Celebrity Endorsements.

Heidi Diaz admitted that she had represented to the public that celebrity Jessica Alba, a famous actress, used the Kimkins diet. She testified that she did not know if Jessica Alba used the diet but repeated the “rumor” on the internet. She admitted in retrospect, she thought it was deceptive to repeat the rumor that Jessica Alba used the Kimkins diet.

Heidi Diaz also falsely claimed and advertised that Lindsay Lohan was a user of the Kimkins diet. In fact, she misappropriated a picture of Lindsay Lohan wearing a T-shirt. The Kimkins logo is superimposed on Ms. Lohan’s t-shirt. Ms. Diaz admitted that she has never had any contact with Lindsay Lohan. She also testified that she never believed the photograph of Lindsay Lohan with the doctored image displaying Kimkins across Ms. Lohan’s chest was real.

7. Unlawful Use of Labels and Metatam to Misdirect Internet Traffic.
Many of the Kimkins.com advertisements have labels or tags that are used as a basis to direct traffic to the Kimkins.com site. Heidi Diaz was an expert on how to misdirect traffic on the Internet. For example, Heidi Diaz took a popular Internet topic such as the “Geico Caveman” which generated a lot of Internet activity at the time. Heidi Diaz placed the labels: “Caveman, Geico, Kimkins” together so that when “Geico” and “Caveman” would be searched, the Kimkins advertisement would appear. Heidi Diaz admitted that she prepared the graphic and text without the permission of the Geico Insurance Company. Heidi Diaz admitted that labels were also used as tags and that if a search were conducted with respect to the terms “Geico” or “Caveman,” the subject advertisement would show up in a ranking!’
Another example of label/tag misdirection occurred on the Kimkins Blog. Ms. Diaz used the following labels: “Celebrity Diet Secrets, Christie Brinkley, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kimkins, and low carb.”

8. No Lifetime membership as Promised by Heidi Diaz.
Members of Kimkims.con were promised a one-time payment for a lifetime membership. However, if anyone complained of becoming ill on the diet, which was a common occurrence, said member would be immediately terminated. In fact, if Heidi Diaz or any of her minions decided they did not like you, you would also be terminated. Heidi Diaz testified that troublemakers would be blocked from full access to the website. She claimed to have no criteria for terminations. She stated that the term “troublemaker” would be defined by each administrator!

9. Advertised Lies and Misrepresentations.
Although Heidi Diaz is the sole owner of Kimkins and responsible for all of the content on its website, she has made the miraculous claim that certain representations appeared on her website without her knowledge.

Another classic misrepresentation repeated throughout the Kimkins advertisements was that the Kimkins diet was a “fast and permanent” way to lose weight.

Heidi Diaz admits that no medical doctor has ever approved the safety or efficacy of the Kimkins diet.”

Another amazing misrepresentation repeatedly stated that the Kimkins diet was thermogenic and that no exercise was needed to lose weight. Many other irresponsible statements were made by Heidi Diaz and it is anticipated that she may even try to claim that she was not responsible for everything stated on her own website. However, she did admit under oath that no one had access to her website other than her technical company, Clexus New Media. Ms. Diaz admitted under oath that in her best estimate, she only visited her homepage two times in the year 2007, despite being the sole owner of the website.

The Court already has on file numerous declarations and affidavits signed by purchasers of Kimkins.con memberships, who stated under oath that they relied on the representations of Defendant’s weight loss claims when they decided to subscribe to Kimkins.con. The subject declarations and affidavits illustrate the consumers’ reliance on the fraudulent representations of Heidi Diaz. Heidi Diaz admits she lied and the sheer volume of lies proves her intent to deceive her customers.

Happy Lawsuit Anniversary Heidi!

Well Heidi, it’s been a whole year now since the lawsuit was filed. Bet you wished you had given Jeanessa her money back now.