— Ravi Ghataode and his GForce Performance Chip business have lost their horsepower after being charged with ripping off $15 million from consumers. Ghataode settled the charges by agreeing to shut down the GForce Chip business, agreeing to pay $400,000 in civil penalties and agreeing to reimburse buyers who complained.
Ravi Ghataode, 32, is accused of unlawful business practices and engaging in false advertising by selling a fake performance chip to increase gas mileage four to seven mpg, reduce emissions by 25 to 40 percent and increase the horsepower of the car by 30 to 60 horsepower.
The company website looked good, but the problem was, just about every statement on the site was a lie.
First there was the small problem of the "performance chip" itself. California prosecutors discovered the nicely-packaged device contained only a useless circuit board not capable of doing anything. Then there was the website that made Ghataode $15 million.
The website contained lies about the company, who founded the company, when it was founded, its location, the number of employees, who created the product, false customer testimonials and fake pictures of GForce office buildings.
Ghataode went so far as to advertise six electrical and mechanical engineers built the device, when in fact it was four employees who were paid in cash for their assembly work.
Without admitting wrongdoing, Ghataode agreed to never sell devices that claim to affect emissions, gas mileage or horsepower. Although Ghataode agreed to stop selling the fake chip, it's unlikely this will be his last "business" venture because he has been in trouble before and simply changed what he was selling.
In 2011, Ghataode was prosecuted and fined $200,000 by the Orange County District Attorney's Office for running a scam where he sold audio equipment at discount prices. Both ventures earned him millions of dollars compared to the fines levied against him and in neither case was he sent to prison.
The settlement must still be approved by Orange County Superior Court Judge James J. Di Cesare. Once finalized, Ghataode must reimburse all customers who complained about the GForce Performance Chip during the past four years. Additionally, any customer who makes a complaint within 90 days of the signed settlement will also be reimbursed.
If you bought one of the useless "chips" and want to make a complaint, contact the Orange County California District Attorney at 714-834-6553.