Former "Healers" Face Consumer Fraud Lawsuit

Ellsworth American/July 20, 2006
By Tom Walsh

Augusta — The Maine Attorney General’s Office has filed a 13-count complaint against The Gentle Wind Project, a nonprofit organization once based in Blue Hill.

The complaint filed in York County Superior Court accuses the group of violating the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act. It seeks penalties of up to $10,000 for each intentional violation of the state’s consumer protection law.

The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction that would prohibit the group from claiming that “healing instruments” it manufactures and distributes worldwide can be effective in treating everything from high blood pressure to alcoholism. Such claims are untested and untrue, according to the complaint.

“In truth and in fact, the healing instruments have not been scientifically tested and proven to be effective,” the complaint contends.

Now headquartered in Kittery, the nonprofit organization was incorporated in 1983 as a “world healing organization.” The group claims that the designs for its various products are received by Co-Director John Miller in the form of telepathic impressions from the “spirit world.”

According to the complaint, the organization’s activities have been under active investigation by the Attorney General’s Office for more than three years.

The lawsuit asks the court to order that restitution be paid to any consumer who submits a claim for reimbursement for money given to the group since 2000 in exchange for a healing instrument.

According to the group’s federal tax filings, revenue for the budget year that ended Aug. 31, 2004, totaled nearly $1.2 million.

The lawsuit also seeks a court order that would force the group to pay Maine Revenue Services sales tax on any money it collected for its products. It also asks that the state be reimbursed for attorneys fees and costs related to the investigation that resulted in the complaint being filed on June 30.

Gentle Wind Project Co-Director Mary Miller could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit.

The Gentle Wind Project is now the plaintiff in another lawsuit it filed in January against James Bergin and Judy Garvey of Blue Hill. That suit contends Bergin and Garvey, who were once project advocates, posted false and defamatory statements about the group on their Web site.

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