Sunday, June 23, 2019

Just how much of MLM is smoke and mirrors (and illusions of wealth)?

Recently, an article on BehindMLM caught my attention. The title was "Wakaya Perfection Field Leader sentenced to prison for fraud".

It's not the fraud itself though, but the circumstances that caught my attention.

According to the article, Andre Vaughn *had* an illustrious MLM career MLM.

In an article in Networking Times, Vaughn claimed to have found MLM on "February 24, 2005".

In 2012 Youngevity brochure, Vaughn was named as one of the "million dollar earners"

In 2014, he was cited as "Senior Vice Chairman," and "Marketing Director" of Youngevity.

Vaughn jumped ship to Wakaya Perfection in late 2015 when the existing leader left the company with several top "officers". This resulted in Youngevity and Wakaya suing and countersuing each other.

He was cited as "Founding Member" and "Gold Member Billionaire's Inner Circle" in Wakaya. His current rank is believed to be "Blue Diamond Ambassador" (among the highest") which I presume, comes with a hefty paycheck.

Then I learned that Vaughn pled guilty to bankruptcy fraud... Fraudulently declaring bankruptcy together and separately with his wife Monique (with twins) in

  • April 2005
  • June 2012
  • July 2013
  • April 2015. 

Now let's put that in perspective by lining up the events, just those we can document. And that doesn't even include any of his Wakaya titles.

  • Joined MLM in February 2005
  • Declared bankruptcy in April 2005
  • Joined Youngevity sometime prior to 2012 (probably 2009?)
  • Million dollar earner in Yougevity in 2012
  • Declared bankruptcy in June 2012
  • Declared bankruptcy in July 2013
  • Senior Vice Chairman, Marketing Directory of Youngevity in 2014
  • Declared bankruptcy in April 2015

Either this guy declares bankruptcy at a whim to cheat his creditors, or MLM doesn't pay NEARLY enough and his "million earner" status was an illusion. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

In fact, even Vaughn's accomplishments at Youngevity is in doubt. In the lawsuit between Youngevity and Wakaya, Youngevity alleged that then-president Andreoli "force qualified" Vaughn and his wife (i.e. they got the rank WITHOUT meeting the required goals) resulting in them getting paid more without actually bringing in more sales.

Either MLM attracts this sort of people... or encourages this sort of behavior.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

IPro Sued by SEC as Alleged Pyramid Scheme

Back in July 2017, I had serious reservations about the amount of PR crap put out by IPro supporters, who claimed everything from ex-Shark Tank guy endorsements to the typical "we have a lawyer so it's not a scam" retorts.

Guess what: SEC says IPro is a 26 million dollar scam, and is suing its owner, not even two years later.

I know it's cliche, but...

I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Did a New Zealand primary school principal sold DoTerra to her own school and forced it on her students?

An interesting bit of news passed my desk this morning: Parent threatens to sue primary school if essential oil diffusers are not removed.

Apparently a parent (also attorney) Rainey is threatening to sue Milford Primary School in Auckland, New Zealand if essential oil diffusers are not removed from the classrooms. A one paragraph notice, buried in a newsletter to parents, notified that 20 diffusers will be spread among the classrooms diffusing DoTerra Onguard mix which supposedly helps students concentrate and ward off illnesses. However, several ingredients in the Onguard mix can trigger asthma and other allergies.

Further digging shows that the school had budgeted 2000 AUD for these diffusers. The principal, Sue Cattell, claimed that this is the first negative reaction to the item, buried in March 2019 PTA meeting notes. Turns out, the principal herself was the instigator of the agenda item... Apparently she's a DoTerra seller on the side. In the PTA meeting, the agenda item also suggested pitching DoTerra diffuser kits to parents as a fundraiser.

Since she didn't unilaterally approve the purchase, it's technically NOT an ethical violation, but her failure to disclose that she's the seller? It's DISGUSTINGLY DISHONEST.

And about keeping students healthy? That's the sort of bogus claim that got DoTerra an FDA warning back in 2014. But then, DoTerra reps always had a sense of hyperbole... Previously they had even suggested DoTerra oil can kill Ebola virus (and many other viruses). No, I wasn't kidding. And no, essential oil doesn't kill viruses when diffused.

Tsk, tsk.

(originally via BehindMLM)

Friday, February 8, 2019

Scam Psychology: Antivax Alternative Facts redux

Antivaxers are well known for bogosities and inability to admit defeat. I've covered this previously but recently, some more bogus facts pushed by antivaxers simply chafed me wrong.

On 27-JAN-2019, in a bit of debate on flu vaccine, someone brought up the "Bill Gates is antivax" hoax. I quickly replied with a rebuttal citing.

Politifacts tracked down the source to a website called Yournewswire, who have NO citing at all. No name, no proof, nothing. Indeed, it is a fake news clickbait site.

Not that it matters to the claimant, who simply dismissed the rebuttal, so I called him out on it.

So he jumped over to Google and pasted the first link he found that supposedly proves it.

Which leads to this article:

At the bottom, the "source" is cited as Transcend Media Service, where a virtually identical article can be found, but the ORIGINAL source was revealed to be YourNewsWire... the very source debunked in the article I linked.

Indeed, YourNewsWire has a long history of publishing fake news clickbait later debunked by Snopes that now number in the dozens.

Sample headlines published by YourNewsWire includes:

"Katy Perry: 'Human Flesh is The Best Meat; Cannibalism Got A Bad Rap'"

"George Soros Orchestrates Devastating Plan to Kill 100000 Haitians"

and so on.

But none of this bull**** has any effect on the original poster.

Guess we have to consider him an antivax troll.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Why You Should Not Follow Youtube Health Advice: who is the "Drugless Doctor" on Youtube?

If you look on Youtube for health advice, you may have come across Dr. Bob DeMaria, who goes by the moniker "Drugless Doctor", and sometimes, "Dr.Bob".

The problem is, he never got an MD. The closest credential he got was a chiropractic degree he got from the "National College of Health Sciences" (now National University of Health Sciences) back in 1978.

Bob mentioned in his LinkedIn profile that he went to Clayton College for further studies. What he did not mention was that Clayton College of Natural Health was NOT an accredited school, does mostly distance learning, and closed in 2010 instead of seeking accreditation, and was sued by students who got neither degree nor refund. Indeed, one investigation by the state turned up someone who managed to obtain FOUR diplomas from this school over 14 month period: BS, MS, Ph.D., AND "Doctor of Naturopathy".

Clayton College is also known for selling their founder's nutritional supplements "Doctor Clayton's Naturals", from minerals and vitamins to homeopathic remedies.

But that's not the most disturbing thing about Bob DeMaria (I refuse to call him doctor)...

Saturday, January 26, 2019

BREAKING: Washington State Attorney General Sues Lularoe, Allege "Pyramid Scheme"

On Friday, 25-JAN-2019, the Washington attorney general filed a lawsuit against LulaRoe, the clothing marketer, for operating as a pyramid scheme that defrauded the "fashion consultants" it employs.

Without going into too much detail, LuLaRoe is best known for selling leggings (and other stuff) on a lottery system. Each consultant is expected to buy $2000 to $9000 worth of stuff upon signing up. Yet they will not know what they will receive.  Since 2014, over 3500 Washington residents signed up, but less than 2000 remain active today. Between 2014 and 2017, LuLaRoe consultants receive bonuses based on how much inventory they and their recruits have PURCHASED (not sold) from the company.  It is obvious that the more the consultants recruited (and each recruit bought THOUSANDS of dollars of stuff), the more bonuses were paid out. The compensation plan was changed in 2017 to be only based on sales of the consultant alone.

There are PLENTY of other problems with the company's practices. The leggings have to be unpacked to be show to potential customers (including for eBay), yet LuLaRoe have refused to provide refund if the package was opened. There were frequent charges of "low quality". Multiple designers have charged LulaRoe of stealing their designs and patterns without their permission. After multiple complaints, LLR seems to have moved to taking vector art and remixing them, but again, many seems to have been used without the proper license.

MLMSkeptic had penned a commentary "Is LuLaRoe eating its own tail?" in 2017, when LuLaRoe attempted to serve a "discovery" on a blog critic who goes by MommyGyver, claiming she had disclosed company secrets.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

How One Woman Scammed a Dozen People out of $5.4 Million

Woman claimed to have purchased software from Europe that can let doctors to remotely examine and talk with patients, and need more money to pay taxes and fees.  But it was all a ruse. In the end she got $5.4 million from about 50 people and spent it mostly on herself and her friends, only 300K actually went to the software, and it's not even purchased.

But what's really disturbing is how she exploited her friends and victims, making them believe they just need to lie a little, she'll get the money soon. Even more, she convinced two ex-air-marshals into pretending to be still active to intimidate people into coughing up more money.

What's even more disturbing is she apparently believes she will be offered probation because of her education and career... as she somehow has degrees in electrical engineering and law...

Unfortunately, this time, the law has documented all of her lies... Like her claim that a fictitious billionaire will "lend" her 74 million, and the time she claimed to be in negotiation for the "loan", she's actually in Jamaica, celebrating one of her girlfriend's birthday. And she had been to Bora Bora and other ritz-y resorts around the world, all while claiming medical emergencies and tough negotiations to her victims, trying to squeeze even more money... Once, the victims even sent her the social security check...

And it's not just the money, but the devastation it left behind on the victims. Most of the victims had invested their life savings, and even mortgaged their homes and businesses to put in even more money for a "sure bet". Now they have lost everything, all based on lies, lies, and more lies.

Meet Keisha L Williams, who will be spending the next 15 and a half years in Federal prison. And this is her story.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Would You Pay Someone to Commit Suicide? 13000 People did. Really.

According to a recently published paper, 13000 people paid over 1.4 million dollars to help 200 people commit suicide. Except they thought they were paying for zero-evidence treatment for desperate cancer patients. In other words, these so-called do-gooders paid scammer quacks to help sick people commit suicide by paying huge amounts of money for water... i.e. homeopathic cancer treatments.

That's 1.4 million bucks raised to pay for some VERY expensive water proven to do nothing, that could have been used for palliative care or other purposes that may have made final moments of life more bearable. 1.4 million bucks could have paid for a lot of weed or even more powerful opioids or whatever the cancer patients needed to spend the final days in peace, and leave some for their family to cover other expenses.

Instead, the money is going to cancer quacks, doing NOTHING for the actual patients, who have to live their final days with treatment proven to do NOTHING, see their hopes dashed and pain unmanaged.

Basically, the 1.4 million bucks paid for suicide by water and pain.