It is a rule universally acknowledged in crime writing that if you stash your ill-gotten gains under the mattress, someone is eventually going to find it. Just like the $20 million in cash hidden in a box spring that federal agents found in Massachusetts this week. [More]
A year ago, a court agreed to put a temporary halt to an alleged pyramid scheme that made its money by convincing college students they could make big bucks shilling energy drinks — but only paying up for recruiting more sales friends instead. Today, the FTC has announced a settlement with the Vemma Nutrition Company that puts a halt to those practices for good. [More]
Gift exchanges can be super fun: it’s great to receive a present that you didn’t anticipate at all. However, an attempt by either a well-meaning person or a gift-hogging trickster began on Facebook recently, and zapped quickly around the world. One scheme, called the “Secret Sisters Gift Exchange,” promises thirty-six gifts in your mailbox after you mail out only one, but reality doesn’t work that way. [More]
After two years of accusations calling Herbalife a pyramid scheme, the company has won the dismissal of a lawsuit against it alleging it was set up to only enrich those few at the top of its multi-level marketing business.
Those who lost money investing with jailed shyster Bernie Madoff will be getting some of their ill-advised expenditures back this week, thanks to the bankruptcy court-mandated liquidation of his estate.
A federal judge shot down an appeal from Madoff investors who didn’t just want the money they’d invested back, they wanted the amount of money Madoff said they were worth on paper. The judge said that Madoff’s financial statements were “fictitious” and thus can’t be used as a basis for claims by investors.
In the outside world, Bernie Madoff is reviled. Inside prison, he’s a hero, admired for his stunning successes.
I got this spam recently. Looks like our spammer forgot to fill out his form fields! “Whatsup My parents are from #CSVFIELD(3)# too! Are you 100% sure you wish to get rid of this #CSVFIELD(2)#?”I love how vague and modular it is, it’s like spam madlibs!
Wanna see the Maddoff clan’s AMEX statements? They’re online here. 2 grand Giorgio Armani in Paris, 8 grand at a hotel, 10 grand to charity, $441 at a bagel store, the garners of unlawful gains really know how to live it up. But you gotta give the guy some credit: he did pay his bills on time. [Scribd] (Thanks to Chris!)
Everyone seems to have a friend or family member that’s been suckered into a multi-level marketing road to nowhere. While you may have no trouble identifying Amway, Zrii, Arbonne and the like as pyramid schemes, convincing naive loved ones, blinded by get-rich-quick dreams, is another matter entirely.
To help the judge decide Madoff’s sentencing, the NY AG’s office submitted 96 pages what they said were emails from his victims. I feel bad for this one guy on page 36…
The SEC has busted another Ponzi scheme and ordered its operators to “disgorge their ill-gotten gains.” In this one, Anthony Vassallo of “Equity Investment Management and Trading” recruited investors through his church by saying he had a computer program that would guarantee a 3.5% return on stocks. Eventually he stopped trading and paid off investors using other investor’s money, while shoveling the rest of the funds into other schemes and scams. Vassallo was eventually busted when his investors ganged up on him and said his reports were phony-baloney.
Kevin’s been invited to his friend’s house to hear about a great new business opportunity! He writes, “I did a quick Google search and… while the company appears to be legit, it seems that their way of marketing their products [is] almost pyramid scheme in nature.” The problem for Kevin, and anyone else researching this sort of thing, is it can be hard to tell how much you should trust any specific page of reviews or feedback. Here’s a clear 5-step evaluation to determine whether or not the next big thing is really a multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme.
Madoff’s $50 billion scam came unwound when too many investors tried to pull their money at the same time, which means we’re likely to more big swindles get exposed in the coming months…
I’ve been approached by a friend to join up with MonaVie acai juice—it’s a “superfood” juice that’s sold through “network marketing.” I actually do like the product, and this is a friend I trust, but my alarm bells are still going off. I don’t want to get sucked into a scam, obviously. There’s nothing about this company on your site, so I thought I’d drop you a line and see if you had any advice.
The modern pyramid scheme has undergone slight tweaks in order to stay just with the bounds of the law, and still keep the fun scam times going. When you strip away all the pretty foil and chocolate, though, a naked Ponzi sits in the center, laughing his ass off.