Autumn Stringam's book tour 2007

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    Autumn Stringam is Tony Stephan's daughter. She's been busy promoting the latest version of her autobiographical book, Promise of Hope.
    It was published in September 2007 by Harper Collins, a major Canadian publisher.

    The publisher also rolled-out a video on, and one of Autumn's brothers claims to have placed a dozen or so copyright videos on YouTube as well. It would appear that this is in violation of copyright laws.

    So far, she's been on radio stations in major markets, and articles have appeared in most large regional newspapers. Of course, most references to those who have questioned her story about Empowerplus over the years have been left out. Harper Collins seems to have trained her well in the art of public presentations.


    If you would like to support our efforts to combat quackery, health and diet fraud we make it easy for you to donate to the cause.

    Synergy Group - True Hope or True Hype?

    Part 1

    Tony Stephan and the folks from Synergy & Truehope want everyone to believe their mission is to provide support, advocacy and research on behalf of the mentally ill. He claims benevolent motivation, and a desire to help people who are vulnerable and suffering from potentially life-threatening psychiatric disorders. He also claims that participants are under medical supervision.

    "Late in 2000, Tony Stephan's son Dan, in the course of selling their unapproved investigational drug E M Power+ to an undercover Health Canada inspector, mentioned that the Synergy Group of Canada *only* made 12 cents profit per capsule of E M Power+...

    Well folks, that works out to roughly $53 per bottle: each bottle contains 448 capsules, which means Synergy is pigging out with a whopping profit and markup. $15 worth of god-knows-what kind of dietary supplement/drug/miracle cure and $53 profit for Tony Stephan & his family & associates.

    But of course they aren't in it for the money.... People considering E.M. Power+ deserve honest and thoughtful answers to their questions, and we're sure Synergy and Truehope would agree.


    Obviously you want to know who you're dealing with.


    There seems to be a lot of confusion about the status of this corporation. For some reason, principle researcher Bonnie Kaplan thinks it's a charity: "She emphasized no one at the University of Calgary was profiting from the sales, that Synergy is a charitable organization, and that if the company had decided to sell the supplement over the counter it could make a great deal more money."

    And Dr. Chris Gorman, a co-investigator, suffers from this same confusion:

    "Contracts are in place so that the scientists and clinicians cannot earn money from its sale; indeed, the developers have set up a non-profit institute so that most of their income will eventually support safe houses for the mentally ill."
    [Jan/Feb 2001 Vancouver BC Mood Disorders Newsletter]

    Maria Cook, Hog Supplement Helps Humans, the Ottawa Citizen, 5 June 2000:

    "Mr. Hardy and Mr. Stephan's non-profit company, Synergy Group of Canada."

    Sharon Malvern, Pig-Calming... the Beacon Herald, October 2000:

    "...through Mr. Hardy and Mr. Stephan's non medical, non-profit research group,The Synergy Group Of Canada Inc."

    This is not correct. The Synergy Group of Canada was incorporated on 25 May 1996 as a named Alberta corporation -- for profit -- Corporate Access Number 206972291. The company's 2 directors and shareholders are David L. Hardy and Anthony F. Stephan, and it's never changed right up until today. Anybody can get this information from the Alberta Corporate Registry.

    We still don't understand why Stephan & Hardy listed the Synergy Group of Canada as a water-cooler vendor with the Canadian Business Index.

    There isn't anything wrong with being a for-profit company, but it seems like a company in the business of helping people would want a reputation for honesty, no?

    Fastforward to July 2001: Now Stephan & Co. tell us in their legal disclaimer that:

    "The Truehope Institute Inc. is a benevolent group dedicated to assisting the mentally ill and their families. Application has been made for the Institute to act as a charitable non-profit organization."

    That's a start, but in Canada a non-profit and a charity are two legally distinct entities. What did they apply for? And when? Why the confusion? Anyway, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency never got an application from The Truehope Institute for either status that we could find when we called them.

    But they did come through. On 29 October 2001, Truehope Nutritional Support Ltd. was incorporated in Alberta as a private non-profit company. The two directors are David Hardy and Anthony Stephan, and Tony was nice enough to post this information on the forum at along with the registration number.

    On 28 June 2002, this was posted on the web site:

    "Truehope Institute
    We are a U.S. charitable, tax exempt
    [501(C) (3)] company.  All donations to us
    are tax-deductible in the United States.

    Our mandate as a non-profit group is to:

    * Advance research into natural treatments for mental illness. * Provide public education on mental health issues. * Give qualified financial support for natural treatments to those struggling with mental disorders. * Provide relief to the mentally distressed"

    In their updated Legal Disclaimer, they claim:

    "Truehope Institute a non-profit, publicly supported charitable organization dedicated to assisting the mentally ill and their families."

    Well, this isn't correct either. A (501) (C) 3 corporation is a non-profit organization, not a charity, and according to the Internal Revenue Service, it must:

    • - be registered in 1 or more states in the US
    • - a Canadian corporation cannot do this unless it has a US location that controls the finances.

    Well? What State are they registered in and what is their IRS number? They don't say and the IRS could not find them on its database.

    Who are we dealing with here? Synergy? Truehope? Another mystery entity like the "Truehope Support Center"?

    If you were going to trust your health and welfare to Stephan and his benevolent crew of pig pill boosters, wouldn't it be nice if anyone could figure out who the hell they are?


    Sales....that's why.

    Stephan & Hardy and their Truehope Assistants -- and let's not forget Barb Kovac, David Hardy's sister, who runs Truehope American Synergy LLC, the US pig pill pit-stop -- would be, according to our calculations, in a position to collect MILLIONS OF DOLLARS on the sales of E.M. Power+ through its associates and direct orders from the manufacturer(s), and some doctors who sell the products from their web sites, or arrange for the sale through their offices.

    Health Canada wrote Tony Stephan for the first time on 20 October 2000 and told him he could not conduct *research* with E.M. Power+ without an approved Investigational New Drug application, and he could not sell it without obtaining prior authorization. In other words, cease and desist.

    Tony & the Synergy Group of Canada must be taking too many of their *nutritional supplements* because this is part of their explanatory note included in our ATIP from Health Canada:

    "Synergy states that the products referred to in this letter were manufactured in the United States and are imported into Canada pursuant to the PUED or Personal Use Enforcement Directive. Synergy does not own the intellectual property rights in these products. Synergy does not own or operate the Truehope web site. The server that supports this web site is located in the United States . Synergy and Truehope are not interrelated corporations nor do they have any sort of legal relationship."
    [notes to pp. 79-80]

    Synergy doesn't own the intellectual rights to E M Power? Give us a break.

    The web site: Domain registrars are public access databases, one of which makes Synergy look less than benevolent.

    The INTERNIC Registration:
          The Synergy Group of Canada Inc. (TRUEHOPE2-DOM)
             Box 1254,
             Cardston, Alberta T0K-0K0

    Domain Name: TRUEHOPE.COM

    Administrative Contact: F., Stephan Anthony (SAF39) truehope@TELUSPLANET.NET The Synergy Group of Canada Inc. 635-2nd Ave., Cardston, Al T0K-0K0 CA 403-653-3336 (FAX) 403-653-2654 Technical Contact: ValueWeb (HOS237-ORG) hostmaster@VALUEWEB.NET ValueWeb 3250 West Commercial Blvd. #200 Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309 US 954-334-8000 fax: - - - 954-334-8001

    Record expires on 14-Mar-2003. Record created on 14-Mar-1998. Database last updated on 2-Jul-2002 20:01:51 EDT.

    The rest of the information is accessible at their registrar, Network Solutions Inc.

    A mis-statement? An error? The bit about the server being located in the United States is pretty funny actually. Duh..

    Now, how can Synergy and Truehope have no interrelations if Tony Stephan & David Hardy are the co-directors and shareholders for BOTH The Synergy Group of Canada AND Truehope Nutritional Support Ltd. This, you must admit, is a rather difficult situation to be mistaken about. Presumably they cannot misquote themselves.

    Clearly they didn't obey the directive of Health Canada, because they
    got another one on 21 April 2001 Again Health Canada ordered Synergy
    to stop selling E.M. Power+.