Wednesday, September 10, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: TelexFree investigation in Colombia

There has been little news out of Colombia after their Twitter-announced shutdown of WCM777 Ponzi that involved tweets from both the President AND the Police Chief. Now, the Superintendency of Companies in Colombia has apparently shut down TelexFree Colombia.

The Agency has published a public notice, based on the authority given in the financial emergency act of 2008 that given the government authority to investigate and close down scams in the wake of DMG and other pyramid schemes that almost destroyed the country's economy.

The public notice listed names and ID numbers of multiple individuals, with surnames of Lopez, Sierra, Moreno, and Vergel, with specific reference to "TelexFree Colombia"

A Colombian News article also pointed out that Colombia had recognized the existence of DMG-style pyramid/ponzi scheme in TelexFree.

It's also worth noting that TelxFree had been shut down in Brazil back in 2013, and is also shut down by Federal authorities in the US in 2014 after attempting to declare bankruptcy.

Thanks to for the heads-up

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Due Diligence: Does the Business Model Make Sense To You? Are you sure?

As the MLM Skeptic, one comes across all sorts of alleged businesses, and many of them makes sense as a business, but not so much as an affiliate/distributor. Some makes sense as an affiliate, but makes no sense as a business. Obviously, a real business have to make sense to both the business itself and to the affiliates/distributors. 

In a typical retail business, the business model is very simple: buy low, sell high, sell much. There is no separate model for the participants, as participant is the owner of the business. 

In a direct sale business, we have to examine both layers, and they should coincide. Business buy the inventory at low prices, then sends out the direct sales people to sell them at higher prices. The business model for the participants, the direct sales force, are the same: buy low, sell high, sell much. 

However, with newer technologies a variety of schemes have appeared to entice participants to put in money or sign up in order to reap benefits...  Yet its business model makes no sense upon closer examination. 

Remember, for a business to succeed, both its own business model and the business model of its participants must both be sensible AND profitable. 

Today, we shall examine one business whose business model makes no f***ing sense upon closer examination. 

Or to put it another way: If it's so profitable why are they paying you?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

News Update 07-SEP-2014: Herbalife problem in Norway; TelexFree Brazil Exposed; Zeek, TelexFree, and WCM ponzi updates

Remember folks, when you read "news", they better have a source, and it better be a reputable source (or links to a reputable source), and I do try to do that. If I don't, let me know and I'll fix it. If the sources you read don't cite sources... Well, maybe you shouldn't trust them.

I know I haven't updated this blog for a week, so here's some belated updates:

Herbalife Scandal in Norway; False Claims that former Norwegian PM joined Herbalife

Norwegian magazine Kapital broke the news that Gro Harlem Brundtland, former three-time Prime Minister of Norway and former director general of World Health Organization (WHO) was completely unaware that her name was used on the website "Herbashop Norway" where one of the replicated websites proudly claims "Welcome to Gro Harlem Brundtlands Herbashop! ... After only three months I had controlled my weight down and changed pant size from 42 to 36"

Screenshot of the said Herbashop Norway, courtesy of Kapital magazine
page has been since removed
The page had since been removed from the Herbashop website. However, there is no word on whether Brundtland will take further action against Herbalife or Herbashop, or whether Herbalife itself may take some sort of action against Herbashop, which is an independent operation based in Norway by affiliate Dan Ove Tuven. Herbalife has promised an investigation.

Norwegian news Dagbladet claims that several other Norwegian celebrities were also used in various claims regarding Herbalife products, probably without their permission.

In March 2014 Ray Liotta sued Nerium, when he found that Nerium affiliates claimed for months in late 2013 that Ray Liotta's skin condition improved due to use of Nerium products.

(First reported by BehindMLM)

Brazilian News Revealed Shell Companies Allegedly Used by TelexFree for Money Laundering
Coat of arms of Brazilian Federal Police
Coat of arms of Brazilian Federal Police
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Globo news in Brazil have published allegations from Brazilian Federal Police that they believe TelexFree has engaged in money laundering and concealment of assets through various shell corporations by using relatives of Carlos Costa, head of Ympactus, i.e. "TelexFree Brazil". At least two companies are registered to Carlos' daughter Leticia Costa: AgroFruta and Brasil Factoring, and their stocks are allegedly worth millions despite her only declaring income of 60K a year. It's also worth noting that Carlos' wife Jozelia is named as the biggest creditor in the original TelexFree US bankruptcy application.

Brazilian Federal Police suspect that money that was ordered frozen by Brazilian court back in 2013 may have been used illegally to fund these alleged shell companies in order to hide them from authorities. Many of the directors in these companies are TelexFree top promoters, said the police.

You can read the Globo report here in Portuguese