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Entrepreneur and Instagram influencer Dana Chanel is being sued by the authorities in Pennsylvania who are basically accusing her of being the FYRE Festival of business owners and ripping off customers by promising products and services that said customers never received. According to the lawsuit, victims of Chanel’s alleged sham are mostly Black small business owners.

2015 MBK Entertainment Holiday Concert & Party

Source: Dave Kotinsky / Getty

On Thursday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the lawsuit against Chanel, whose real name is Casey Olivera, in a press release stating that:

“Dana Chanel built a following online by presenting herself as a black woman-owned small business success story,” but in reality, she “advertised the products of her companies as a way for other black small business owners to achieve what she did. Then, she ripped off the same community she claimed to care about.”

Chanel has more than 796,000 Instagram followers, according to BuzzFeed News, and owns a number of businesses including Curl Bible, a hair and skincare brand, and Sprinkle of Jesus, a bottled holy water company for Christian strip clubs that don’t allow the spraying of champagne. (Actually, it’s a Christian mobile app that Chanel described as “the largest online ministry in the world with 5 million users,” according to BuzzFeed, but I’m still jotting down the Christian stripper holy water idea for potential future ventures.)

 

But it’s the Chanel-owned brands Alakazam, a mobile app company, and Credit Exterminators, which was rebranded as Earn Company, that have her listed as a defendant in Shapiro’s lawsuit along with her sister, Cassandra April Olivera, and father, Nakia Rattray, who are reportedly her business partners.

According to the press release, “one consumer, who runs a nonprofit, paid Alakazam Apps $2,000  believing she would work directly with them to bring a custom app to life. She never received an app from Alakazam and contacted the company more than ten times via phone but never received a response or a refund.”

 

Credit Exterminators advertised a $300 per month “VIP Package” service plan to help people raise their credit scores, but the lawsuit alleges that customers were misled and flat out lied to about the actual work the company was doing on their behalf.

“The suit also alleges how one consumer signed up with Credit Exterminators with the understanding that, as part of the services she paid for, Credit Exterminators would resolve delinquent credit accounts on her behalf,” the press release stated. “Months after retaining Credit Exterminators, the consumer received a garnishment of wages letter from a creditor she believed Credit Exterminators had resolved. She received no refund or other relief and in total paid the company more than $2,000.”

The investigation into Chanel reportedly began after Pennsylvania authorities received numerous complaints from customers who said they either didn’t receive the goods and services they paid for or that the businesses they put their trust in misled them. The suit accuses her of violating Pennsylvania’s Consumer Protection Law on multiple fronts including the violation of the state credit services law and “failing to register a fictitious company name with the state,” BuzzFeed reported.

“It’s hard enough these days for workers in Philadelphia,” Shapiro said in a statement. “We can’t have bad actors breaking the law and making it even harder for folks to resolve their bad credit or keep their small businesses afloat.”

Shapiro is encouraging anyone who feels they were victimized by Alakazam or Credit Exterminators/Earn Company to file a complaint at www.attorneygeneral.gov/submit-a-complaint or contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection at 800-441-2555 or scams@attorneygeneral.gov.

 

This is not the first time allegations of scamming have followed the Christian entrepreneur. Last year a Change.Org petition titled “Stop Dana Chanel’s Scamming” surfaced.

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