e-mails should be marked: 'For the attention of David Brear'
Stop Press July 12th 2016
Readers are also directed to this fully-deconstructed analysis of 'Forever Living Products (FLP)' as a pernicious, or criminogenic, cult (Secte) - i.e. a self-perpetuating, non-rational ritual belief system instigated for the clandestine purpose of human exploitation.
'Forever Living Products (FLP)' - Craig Morgan blows the whistle.
|Craig Morgan (b. 1963)|
I have to say, that in 20 years of investigating 'MLM' rackets, other than Eric Scheibeler, I have rarely come across an 'MLM' whistle blower of the calibre of Craig Morgan. He says that he is prepared to face absolutely anyone over this.
|Teresa Jones (formerly known as Teresa Morgan-Jones)|
For 6 years (out of love and loyalty) Craig Morgan secretly subsidised his wife's financially-suicidal 'FLP'-related activities, falsely believing that he was investing in both their futures. During this entire period, Teresa kept her financial records hidden, and Craig only discovered the full truth about his wife's debts 4 years ago, when she dumped him (because he was so physically weakened ,and impoverished, that he was no longer of use) and the couple divorced. Lawyers, and a judge, then became involved, and Teresa's tragicomic accounts were finally declared. The judge commented that she wasn't really in business at all and that, consequently, her so-called'FLP business' was worthless. In the divorce Craig sought to recover £55 000 which he had inherited from his mother, but he discovered that Teresa was insolvent to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds. Although Craig was awarded £20 000, and access to his private belongings, in reality, (after legal fees) he's received virtually nothing from his divorce
This ties in with a frequently-asked question:
'Why do so few MLM victims complain?'
Aloe Vera is a commercially-grown, hybrid species of succulent plant that probably originated in N. Africa - where closely-related wild aloes can still be found. These were reputedly used in ancient herbal medicine. Today, aloe vera (meaning extracts of the hybrid plant) is a cheaply-procured common substance widely-used in cosmetics and alternative/herbal medicine - marketed as having moisturizing, and/or rejuvenating, and/or healing, and/or soothing, properties. There is, however, little scientific evidence proving the effectiveness or safety of aloe vera for either cosmetic or medicinal purposes, and the available (largely-anecdotal) evidence has been widely-contradicted by wholly-independent studies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloe_vera
The 'FLP' adherent's former friend at first treated his whacky new behaviour as a huge joke, but she became increasingly concerned as he shut out of his life anyone refusing to support 'his new business.'
The adherent changed his habitual way of speaking, dressing, eating and sleeping, and stuffed his home with exorbitantly-priced 'Forever Living Products' containing Aloe Vera (the regular purchase, and consumption, of which, he firmly-believed was going to fulfil his 'dreams and goals' and bring him unlimited health, wealth, happiness and freedom).
Whilst watching these typical 'FLP' propaganda videos featuring the tightly-scripted, unsubstantiated 'success/ miraculous cure' testimonies of deluded shills, bear in mind that the hidden overall loss/churn rate for so-called 'MLM income opportunities' has always been effectively 100%. In plain language, anyone claiming, and/or implying, that it is possible to make an overall net-income out of operating a so-called 'FLP Business,' is not telling the truth. The claim that '150 governments around the world have approved the FLP Business Model' is a classic piece of realty-inverting 'MLM' propaganda.
In the above (astonishing) video, UK shill, Andy Waring, boasts that the 'FLP MLM income opportunity' has precious little to with selling, and is actually based on 'geometric progression.' In this way, Mr. Waring has been habitually committing fraud on behalf of his American masters; for this video demonstrates that 'FLP' adherents are taught that they can all receive constantly expanding profits forever, simply by exactly duplicating a 'proven plan' where they all obediently hand over their cash each month whilst attempting to recruit others exactly to duplicate the same 'plan.' Classically of an 'MLM income opportunity' racket, in 'FLP,' these unlawful losing investment payments (based on the false expectation of future reward) have been laundered as lawful sales ( based on value and demand), simply by giving victims pseudo-medical wampum (which has been arbitrarily given quasi-miraculous powers and an exorbitant fixed value, by the 'FLP' racketeers) in return for their cash. Self evidently, (from all rational points of view), this wampum might as well not exist, because its effects are unquantifiable and it has been effectively unsaleable on the open-market (i.e. to members of the general public with fully-functioning critical and evaluative faculties).
Currently, perhaps the most worrying aspect of 'FLP' activity in the UK, is the involvement of a significant number of former, and serving, police officers - one of whom, Emma Cooper, boasts of having been recruited whilst she and her husband, Shaun ( another former police officer), were in a highly vulnerable emotional state (after the murder of two colleagues).
|Unarmed WPCs, Nicola Hughes (aged 32) and Fiona Bone (aged 23), who were lured to a fake burglary and shot dead (Hattersly, Tameside, Greater Manchester), September 2012.|
Readers should note that Emma Cooper has subsequently left comments on this article in which she ordered me to remove all reference to her emotionally-vulnerable state at the time she was recruited into 'FLP.' According to Emma Cooper, my description of her as boasting of being of being in a highly-vulnerable state (after the murder of two colleagues), is 'slanderous.' However, I would suggest that the real reason why Emma Cooper doesn't want attention to be drawn to her gushing and tearful 'FLP' performance, lies elsewhere. Former colleagues of Emma Cooper have since contacted 'MLM The American Dream Made Nightmare' and informed me that she did not know, and had not even met either WPC Nicola Hughes or WPC Fiona Bone, and that she had absolutely no involvement in the investigation of their murder.
These same witnesses state that most of Emma Cooper's former colleagues (including an officer who was a close friend of one of the murdered officers), are now 'disgusted' by her attempt to exploit this tragedy in order to make money.
In a more recent video, Emma Cooper again breaks down at an 'FLP' event (this time staged in Singapore) and confesses that she has suffered from depression and anxiety attacks.
As part of a 'proven step-by-step business-building plan,' the adherent began to travel to regular pay-through-the nose-to-enter 'FLP' meetings and to buy many related-publications and recordings. All these materials constantly repeated the same message. They featured 'FLP Diamond' shills steadfastly pretending to be 'ordinary people who had quickly achieved extraordinary things ... simply by exactly duplicating the 'FLP business building plan' they had become 'financially free'... thus, anyone could begin recruiting ordinary people to duplicate exactly the same 'FLP business-building plan' and quickly 'achieve extraordinary things' themselves, etc. ad infinitum.
As a result of all this typical 'income opportunity' brainwashing, the adherent began to duplicate the 'plan' with religious devotion. Thus, he drew up an exhaustive list of everyone he had encountered in his life. Then, using a precisely-worded script, he progressively tried to convert his 'prospects' to 'FLP.' His former-friend described all of the classic symptoms of an 'MLM' fanatic (principally, a complete incapacity to concentrate on external reality or to apply common-sense, or humour, to the absurd Utopian fairy story modifying, and controlling, his behaviour).
The peddling of so-called 'Leads' and 'Lead Generation Systems,' has also been present within the 'FLP' racket. Typically, adherents have been led to believe that the most successful 'FLP Distributors' have access to an exclusive secret knowledge which has enabled them to generate endless names of persons who are willing to join FLP, and that multi-millionaire 'FLP Leaders' are willing to share this miraculous Internet-based technology with anyone (for a price).
|Martyn Lewis CBE (b. 1945)|
|Dr. Peter Atherton|
If readers watch the above staged-interview, which also features Dr. Peter Atherton ('Scientific Advisor' to 'FLP') and Bob Parker ('Managing Director' of 'FLP UK'), they will notice that Martyn Lewis seems to have been completely taken-in by these two avuncular preachers of the fraudulent 'FLP' Gospel of Prosperity. That said, neither of these charlatans made any real attempt to peddle the so-called 'MLM income Opportunity' during the interview. Instead, they stuck to reciting their (conveniently-unquantifiable) cure-all mantra.
Yet, in order to understand exactly what smartly-dressed double-act, 'Atherton and Parker,' were doing, all anyone with an ounce of common-sense needs to do, is merely remove the words, 'Aloe Vera,' and put back the original, 'Snake Oil,' into this up-dated, but nonetheless absurd, quackery.
Now for those readers who don't know who Martyn Lewis is, or why his apparent association with 'FLP' should shut-down the critical and evaluative faculties of adherents and casual observers: he is a highly-respected, retired BBC television newsreader who became internationally-famous in 1997, when he announced the death of Princess Diana.
Mr. Lewis is also a noted champion of charity in the UK (for which he received his CBE). He is the vice-president of Macmillan Cancer Support. Sadly, it would appear that the manipulative racketeers behind 'FLP,' have obtained the services of Mr Lewis as an unwitting guarantee of authenticity, simply by pretending affinity with his (publicly-stated) existing beliefs and instinctual desires, and by offering to give £100 000 to Macmillan Cancer Support. Thus, shutting-down Mr. Lewis' critical and evaluative faculties whilst, at the same time, giving him the illusion that he made a free-choice to become involved with 'FLP' - making it very difficult (if not impossible) for him to face the reality that 'MLM' is not only a pernicious blame-the-victim racket, but also an ongoing threat to democracy and the rule of law.
|Iconic British Television personality, Michael Aspel (b. 1933)|
|Iconic British television personality, Valerie Singleton (b. 1937)|
The grooming and co-opting of an evidently-ill-informed, iconic, British television personality, Martyn Lewis, to front a propaganda video, doesn't surprise me in the least, because 'Forever Living' is a copy-cat of 'Amway' and, as part of an overall pattern of ongoing major racketeering activity, the 'Amway' mob followed exactly the same subversive tactic in Britain during the 1980s and 1990s - when evidently-ill-informed, iconic British television personalities, Michael Aspel and Valerie Singleton, were both deceived. In the case of Michael Aspel, this involved 'Amway UK' company officers overcoming his initial scepticism by offering to give £30 000 to his favourite charity. Valerie Singleton who, at the time, had been sacked from the BBC (following a public scandal) seems to have been fooled by Mr. Aspel's involvement with 'Amway.'
Second generation 'Domionist MLM income opportunity' racketeers, Dick De Vos and Steve Van Andel, posing as a pair of visionary, philanthropic, Christian billionaire businessmen who have helped more than 3 millions people around the world to start their own business.
Former penniless science-fiction author, turned multi-millionaire, cultic racketeer, L. Ron Hubbard, posing as a historically-important,visionary scientist and philanthropist who had discovered the secret of how ordinary humans can become healthy, wealthy happy and free super humans. Hubbard was also prepared to share this secret with anyone (for a price).
Unfortunately, just as with the followers and casual observers of Hubbard, the only information made available to the followers and casual observers of Rehnborg, has been carefully controlled.
|Carl F. Rehnborg, circa 1915.|
Carl F. Rehnborg circa 1939
In 1934, Rehnborg (aged 48) legally-registered ‘California Vitamins Inc.’, allegedly to manufacture and distribute what he arbitrarily defined as 'the World’s First Multi-Mineral/Multivitamin Plant-Based Food Supplement - a Unique Combination of Vitamins and Minerals in a Special Base.’ At first, this so-called ‘Health Tonic’ was brewed up, and peddled as 'Vita-6' a.k.a. 'Vitasol,' in insignificant quantities. Consequently, it was of no particular interest to regulators.
However, anyone with an ounce of common sense could immediately tell that Rehnborg’s ‘invention’ was just another essentially-inert potion (in the absurd tradition of the medicine show); a random mixture of cheaply-procured common substances with an expensive price tag. It had probably taken Rehnborg 6 hours to concoct, not 6 years.
By 1939, Rehnborg had spotted the existing term, 'Nutrilites' (probably in an old scientific magazine). So he legally-changed the name of his pay-to-play game of make-believe to the technical-sounding ‘Nutrilite Products Company Inc.’ and moved his quackery onto an almost unprecedented scale. Soon, Rehnborg was legally employing dozens of white-coated workers in purpose-built industrial buildings in Buena Park, California. He also acquired an alfalfa farm near to the city of Hemet in California's San Jacinto valley, but it is unclear exactly where he suddenly found all the necessary capital to pay for these impressive sites and their modern equipment. To his followers and casual observers, Rehnborg’s activity looked like any other lawful enterprise. His staff were ordinary honest folk, to whom the truth was also unthinkable.
At this time, Rehnborg rechristened his potion ‘Nutrilite Double X (‘XX’) Supplement.’ He now proposed to offer it as two ‘complimentary products’ in one pack - comprising little green bottles of bright red ‘Multivitamin Capsules’ and boxes of pale-coloured ‘Multi-Mineral Tblets.’ The product was deliberately designed to look modern and scientific (like a proprietary medicine), but, tellingly, the price was fixed at just less than $20 a box (the equivalent of several hundred dollars today). Rehnborg claimed that the ‘XX’ brand-name was derived from the Roman numeral representing twenty. It should have been read as ‘double cross;’ for when the former toothpaste salesman’s pricey wampum was routinely analysed by independent chemists working for the FDA, it was discovered that (although it contained essentially what it said on the labels and was quite harmless) ‘XX Supplement’ really did mostly comprise a random mixture of cheaply-procured, common substances in which vitamins and minerals naturally occur (dried vegetable extracts: alfalfa; parsley; watercress; yeast; etc.). FDA experts later estimated that ‘XX Supplement’ cost no more than a few cents a pack to produce. Thus, FDA lawyers must have known that Rehnborg was, in fact, using authentic pharmaceutical equipment to mass-produce a precisely-measured, harmless placebo, but labelled as a ‘Health Tonic’ (a meaningless term), and peddling it at an exorbitant mark-up (certainly, more than 1000%). This crack-pot pseudo-scientific swindle, which was tantamount to a self-styled 'alchemist' stamping a valueless amalgam of base-metals, 'Pure Gold,' and selling it for the price of pure gold, could have been quickly nipped in the bud, simply by charging Rehnborg with criminal fraud. Apparently, prosecutors never considered the possibility that they might be dealing with someone with severe psychological problems whose own inflexible delusions were contagious. Instead, at first, FDA lawyers felt obliged to take no action; reasoning that, by truthfully listing the banal ingredients, but avoiding making any specific therapeutic claims, on his packaging, Rehnborg had found a loophole in federal laws concerning criminal misbranding of medicines. As result, an up-dated version of an age-old fiction was permitted to be mass-marketed as fact to an unsuspecting public. Unfortunately, the lack of any rigorous, official challenge only brought its author more credibility. Not surprisingly, a host of copy-cat 'Unique Vitamin and Mineral Health-Tonic’ scams quickly sprang up.
In reality, the new set-up was merely the original mystifying lie with a second mystifying chapter added, but to casual observers ‘Nutrilite Products Company Inc.’ appeared to be exclusively manufacturing for, and wholesaling ‘XX Supplement’ to, ‘Mytinger and Casselberry Inc.,’ whose commission agents, in turn, appeared to be retailing it to the public for a profit. Although ‘XX Supplement’ was presented as ‘Unique,’ it mostly comprised substances which could easily be bought at a fraction of their exorbitant, assembled fixed-price, in traditional retail outlets. The product was effectively-impossible to sell to the general public for a profit on the open market. Therefore, the overwhelming majority of its final customers were merely the non-salaried agents of the second corporate structure, which itself was the sole agent of the first corporate structure. In order for them to maintain the false hope that if they signed-up further contributing participants they would automatically become rich, the participants in this dissimulated money circulation game were obliged by its rules to keep handing-over a monthly payment to Mytinger and Casselberry, to be shared with Rehnborg. From all rational points of view (medical, economic, legal, etc.), ‘XX Supplement’ might have well not existed; for it was just a convenient means of laundering illegal payments in a closed-market swindle, or pyramid scheme, based on the crack-pot, non-rational theory thatendless-chain recruitment + endless payments by the recruits = endless profits for the recruits. New victims were supplied with a $49.50 ‘Business Kit’ (i.e. a large cardboard box stuffed with a month’s supply of ‘XX Supplement’ and a fat folder containing page after page of mind-numbing pseudo-economic/medical presentations and diagrams, and instructions in how to go about remembering, contacting and recruiting everyone they’d ever known during their lives). These presentations contained the concrete evidence which FDA lawyers could use to prosecute Rehnborg, Mytinger and Casselberry. Contributing participants were being instructed to smile, project excitement and enthusiasm, and to recite a precisely-worded script which proclaimed ‘Nutrilite XX Supplement’ to be ‘good value,’ because it could ‘cure or prevent,’ virtually any known human illness.
|William W. Goodrich|
By 1947, Rehnborg, Mytinger and Casselberry were steadfastly pretending ‘15 000 Successful Distributorships in the USA,’ with ‘sales’ totalling ‘$500 000 dollars per month.’ They had also organised the production of a ‘Free’ booklet, ‘How to Get Well and Stay Well’, in which they further pretended that ‘Nutrilite Double X Supplement’ had ‘cured or greatly helped such common ailments’ as : ‘Low blood pressure, Ulcers, Mental depression, Pyorrhoea, Muscular twitching, rickets, Worry over small things, Tonsillitis, Hay Fever, Sensitivity to noise, Underweight, Easily tired, Gas in stomach, Cuts heal slowly, Faulty vision, Headache, Constipation, Anaemia Boils, Flabby tissues, Hysterical tendency, Eczema, Overweight, Faulty memory, Lack of ambition, Certain Bone conditions, Nervousness, Nosebleed, Insomnia, Allergies, Asthma, Restlessness, Bad skin colour, Poor appetite, Biliousness, Neuritis, Night blindness, Migraine, High blood pressure, Sinus trouble, Lack of concentration, Dental caries, Irregular heartbeat, Colitis, Craving for sour foods, Arthritis, Rheumatism, Neuralgia, Deafness, Subject to colds.’
|Carl.F. Rehnborg circa 1947|
Rhenborg now cast himself in the role of ‘Scientific Adviser’ to ‘Mytinger and Casselberry Inc.’ He toured the USA preaching the gospel to wide-eyed ‘Distributors’ - ‘for less than $20 a month’, ‘Nutrilite Double X Supplement’ was the ‘Answer to Man’s Search for Health.’ After both companies’ owners were approached by FDA officials and warned that they could face criminal prosecution for misbranding, the booklet was ‘revised.’ Specific therapeutic claims were supposed to be eliminated. ‘All illnesses’ suddenly became a ‘state of nonhealth’ produced by ‘chemical imbalance’.… ‘Nutrilite XX Supplement’ cured nothing, it merely ‘enabled people to Get Well and stay Well’ by themselves. However, pages 41-52 of the booklet still recounted alleged case-histories explaining that ‘Nutrilite brought relief from such ailments as diabetes, feeble mindedness, stomach pains, sneezing and weeping.’ Not surprisingly, the FDA officials were not impressed, so they finally launched a number of raids, and seizures of ‘Nutrilite XX Supplement’ and associated publications.
In 1951, after a series of lawsuits, appeals and counter suits (in which Mytinger and Casselberry hired top lawyers who portrayed their clients as American capitalist heroes being crushed by Soviet-style bureaucracy), the FDA obtained (on behalf of the people) a permanent Supreme Court injunction against ‘Mytinger and Casselberry Inc.’ preventing ‘Distributors’ from referring to 50 publications making false claims about ‘Health Tonics and Food Supplements’ (including various ‘Revised Editions’ of ‘How to Get Well and Stay Well’). FDA agents soon found that the injunction was being flouted. As a result of mounting complaints, they infiltrated the organization (as potential recruits) and recorded deluded proselytisers chanting the same cure-all mantra about ‘XX Supplement.’ Faced with more litigation and fearing that their monopoly of information might be lost, in 1954, Rehnborg, Mytinger and Casselberry hired a leading advertising agency which handled the clean-cut, but fading, Hollywood star, Alan Ladd. Along with his wife and children, Alan Ladd then briefly-featured in a kitsch 'Nutrilite' advertising campaign - published in various mainstream magazines right up until 1959.
Alan Ladd (who secretly suffered from chronic depression and who had problems with alcohol and narcotics) was, however, soon to be air-brushed out of the 'Nutrilite' fairy story.
|Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel (2nd and 3rd from the right, front row), Carl F. Rehnborg (immediately behind Van Andel, second row), circa 1950.|
Soon, the 'Nutrilite' show was touring the USA on a motor coach (like a 'Tent Revivalist' group). Mytinger, Casselberry and Rehnborg had begun organizing pay-to-enter ‘Rallies and Seminars'’ (addressed by allegedly ‘Successful Christian Distributors’ like Rich De Vos and Jay Van Andel). No quantifiable evidence (in the form of audited accounts) was ever produced to prove what percentage of claimed ‘sales'’ were authentic retail transactions to the general public for a profit (based on value and demand), or how many people who’d signed a ‘contract'’ with ‘Mytinger and Casselberry Inc.'’ had actually received an overall net-profit from the operation of what its instigators arbitrarily defined as an ‘MLM income opportunity’. Excluding the tiny percentage of grinning shills at the top of the pyramid, the hidden, rolling insolvency/churn-rate was 100%. Since there was no significant or sustainable external revenue, participants were actually buying infinite shares in their own finite money.
The classic movie, 'Elmer Gantry' (released in 1960), was written and directed by Richard Brooks and is loosely-based on a novel of 1927 by the Nobel prize-winning author, Sinclair Lewis. In the Movie, 'Gantry' (played by Burt Lancaster) is a grinning charlatan in a loud suit - a hard-drinking whore-chasing travelling-salesman, who, for sexual and financial motives, attaches himself to the beautiful 'Sister Sharon' (played by Jean Simmons), the focus of a profitable 'Tent Revivalist' group working the Bible-Belt during Prohibition (1920-1933). 'Elmer Gantry' keeps his grin, but he dons a sombre suit and black hat, and is reborn as 'Brother Gantry' 'Charismatic Preacher' and 'Moral Crusader'. He soon discovers that he has the power to create mass-hysteria, and reap tens of thousands of dollars, by manipulating individuals' existing beliefs and instinctual desires. At a key-moment in the movie, a Protestant Minister (bedazzled by 'Brother Gantry's' offer to fill his church coffers) abandons the traditional Christian message and proclaims: 'Business is business, that's the American Way'.
Perhaps it's just a coincidence, but at almost exactly the time that the ‘
Initially (and with an irony that is close to exquisite), in order to dodge being drawn into the ongoing FDA investigation of 'Nutrilite,' De Vos and Van Andel got rid of the pills and potions and now laundered all the unlawful investment payments into their copy-cat, dissimulated, closed-market swindle, behind the claim that they were selling a laundry detergent (i.e. banal, but effectively-unsaleable, non-'medicinal' pseudo-scientific wampum of their own fabrication). Again, the updated snake oil stain remover was deliberately designed to look modern and scientific, whilst De Vos and Van Andel grinned from ear as they too steadfastly pretended that these strangely-familiar, cheaply-procured mixtures of common substances, were all-American, exclusive, good-value and unique.
The original 'Nutrilite' lie was progressively-absorbed back into the spin-off 'Amway' (aka 'Quixtar') lie, 1972-1994, where it still is peddled as the truth.
Only after the 'MLM' virus had spread to almost every State of the Union, did the US Federal Trade Commission finally make a half-hearted attempt to close-down 'Amway.' After receiving a significant number of complaints, FTC prosecutors, advised by specialist economists, recognised that what they were faced with, was not a direct selling scheme, but as a classic pyramid scam, without a significant or sustainable source of revenue other than its own victims, but hidden behind a smokescreen of products. However, after years of investigations and hearings, in 1979, a naive, and/or corrupt, federal judge ruled that although 'Amway' had previously been massively in breach of the law and would have to pay fines, the company would be allowed to continue to trade. This was because the judge accepted the latest unbelievable chapter of the 'MLM' fairy story. i.e. That 'Amway' s owners were respectable Christian businessmen who were vehemently opposed to pyramid schemes and that, consequently, they had stopped fixing prices and introduced their own rules which would, henceforth, oblige the members of 'Amway's' sales force to sell at least 70% (by value) of the products which they had bought wholesale from the company, to at least 10 customers, before they could receive commission payments. Amazingly, no independent, common-sense mechanism was created to ensure that this latest twist in the fairy story was true, and that 'Amway' would now be in compliance with the law.
Not surprisingly, this tragicomic judgement was seen as an open-invitation to thieve, and, consequently, a whole host of 'Amway' copy-cat 'MLM' rackets soon began to appear.
Historically, door-to-door selling (or what used to be known as peddling) was a very common way of doing business in the USA, but at the start of the 20th century, its image was blighted by fly-by-night quacks and charlatans. In an age when most women did not go to work, and even the middle-class had servants to cook, clean and receive visitors, door-step products were invariably cheap and cheerful, and aimed at ordinary housewives.
From just before WWI until the 1960s, the 'Direct Selling Association' was a national trade association in the USA that represented (and was only financed by) a number of generally-reputable commercial companies of various sizes. These used to generate profits by regularly selling everyday goods (usually perfumes, cosmetics, costume jewellery, household products, books, etc.) directly to the general public through salaried, and/or non-salaried, commission agents. Although unethical, high-pressure sales tactics were increasingly used by new, and less reputable, DSA members, in their traditional format, direct retail transactions were authentic and lawful, because they were mostly-based on value and demand. Furthermore, the DSA members originally tried to keep fly-by-night quacks and charlatans at bay, and, at one time, they agreed that, like political constituencies, commission agencies for any particular company, should be limited in given geographical/population areas. This prevented counter-productive internal disputes amongst the sales-force and enabled individual sellers to have a fair chance of finding sufficient loyal customers to make a decent living.
Today, when examined in splendid isolation by casual observers, the self-proclaimed activities of the corporate structures still known as 'Direct Selling Associations' can appear to be the same as above, and entirely lawful. However, when the wider-evidence is rigorously examined, during the second half of the 20th century (as door-to-door selling died out in the USA and elsewhere) the membership of 'DSAs' came largely to comprise an ever-growing number of so-called 'Multi-Level Marketing/income opportunity' companies ('Amway', 'Herbalife', 'Nu Skin', 'Forever Living Products', etc.) which have been used to dissimulate vast closed-market swindles or pyramid schemes. The racketeers behind these counterfeit direct selling companies, have acquired their wealth by steadfastly pretending moral and intellectual authority, whilst deceiving an endless-chain of victims (now comprising many tens of millions of individuals around the globe) into making regular losing-investments in exchange for effectively-unsaleable wampum (i.e. banal, but grossly-overpriced products, often of a dubious pseudo-scientific nature with highly-exaggerated, and/or miraculous, claimed benefits which cannot be quantified). These transactions, already totalling many billions of stolen dollars, were actually based on the false expectation of future reward. However, they have been laundered as lawful retail sales based only on value and demand.
The outrageous 'MLM direct selling' lie, has been hiding in plain view for so long: that many people now not only accept it as the truth, but they will laugh out loud at rational persons suggesting that, in reality, so-called 'MLM recruiters' are adherents of the crackpot pseudo-economic theory that endless chain recruitment + endless payments by the recruits = endless profits for the recruits, However, it is important for readers to distinguish between short-term participants and chronic, core-believers in the 'MLM income opportunity' fairy story. The overwhelming majority of people who have been taken-in by 'MLM,' quit within a short time, usually because they find it impossible to convert, and/or maintain, other contributing recruits, and/or they have no cash, or credit, to continue contributing themselves. Since they were invariably recruited by a friend or relative, they have little reason to complain, and they wouldn't know exactly what to say, or where to complain, anyway.
The declared annual roll-over rate in groups like 'Amway', 'Herbalife', etc., has always been well in excess of 50%. Those who have persisted for more than 3 years, is certainly no more than 5%. However, if you ignore the insignificant number of grinning shills at the top of the pyramids, the overall hidden roll-over/loss rate in so-called 'MLM income opportunities,' has always been effectively 100%. Thus, the constant public-proclamations by the leaders of the largest, long-established groups like 'Amway' that their sales-force has always been expanding for decades and lately comprises 'millions of Independent Business Owners conducting billions of dollars of sales annually,' is a grotesque, criminal distortion of ever-shifting reality.
There has been a significant minority of chronic 'MLM' proselytizers, with access to cash or credit, who continue as de facto slaves to the lie, sometimes for more than 10 years. In many cases, these dangerously-deluded, self-righteous persons will do, or say, anything to sign-up, and/or maintain, recruits - convinced that they will only achieve total financial freedom by helping others to achieve it .They are indoctrinated to ignore their mounting losses/debts and to commit everything they can get their hands on. Some even steal from their friends and families, and/or deprive themselves, and/or their families, of food, heating, etc. In the very worst cases, gung-ho 'MLM' adherents known as 'Road Warriors' have been indoctrinated to go without sleep and have ended up dead at the wheels of their cars - crashing whilst en route to late-night recruitment meetings. Fanatical 'MLM' addicts have generally been compared to chronic gamblers, but I have called them 'financial anorexics.'
Once the relatively-simple, underlying modus operandi of blame-the-victim 'MLM income opportunity' fraud is clearly understood, the tightly-scripted, reality-inverting activities of the 'DSAs' form part of an overall pattern of ongoing, major racketeering activity (as defined by the US federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act 1970). Tellingly, the 'DSAs' (which have posed as rigorous and ethical self-regulators vehemently opposed to pyramid schemes), have long-since ceased to set , let alone enforce, any common-sense limits on the numbers of commission agencies being created by members.
The corporate officers of the American 'DSA,' like Joe Mariano (whose salaries have been paid with stolen money), are, in fact, committing wire fraud and attempting to obstruct justice when they make the following, demonstrably false, and/or selective, and/or essentially meaningless, statements on their own Website; for even their use of the term, 'Direct Selling,' is a cruel joke:
'Washington, D.C. (Jan. 29, 2013) - Following the Jan. 28 announcement that an enforcement action against Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing (FHTM) is being initiated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and several attorneys general for allegedly operating a pyramid scheme, the Direct Selling Association (DSA) has received numerous inquiries regarding whether FHTM is a member of the Association. "FHTM is not a member of DSA,” confirmed President Joe Mariano. Additionally, he stated that “the Association’s membership application process is rigorous, and is designed to ensure that only legitimate direct selling companies become members of the direct selling industry's trade association."FHTM had applied for DSA membership, but withdrew its application in 2011. A rigorous review of each applicant’s marketing and compensation plan is conducted to ensure compliance with DSA’s self-regulatory Code of Ethics. DSA works with applicant companies to address any deficiencies in policies and procedures prior to recommending to the Board of Directors that the company be approved for full membership. Mr. Mariano explained that "the membership review process serves to identify pyramid schemes that are masquerading as legitimate direct selling companies." Mr. Mariano also stated "that well over half of the companies that apply for membership in the Association withdraw their applications for a variety of reasons including failure to come into full compliance with the requirements of the DSA Code of Ethics," thus making the company ineligible for membership. Pyramid schemes and other fraudulent scams are ineligible for DSA membership.While DSA cannot comment on the specific allegations regarding FHTM, Mr. Mariano commended the FTC and state attorneys general "for their comprehensive, ongoing efforts to identify and prosecute illegal and fraudulent pyramid schemes, an approach that is consistent with concerns raised by DSA through its membership application process and its long-established self-regulatory efforts....."
.... The Direct Selling Association is a 102-year-old national trade association that represents companies who distribute products to customers through or with the assistance of independent salespersons who personally demonstrate and explain those products to the consumer, usually in the home or work place. Direct sellers are perhaps best known to the public as person-to-person, door-to-door, or home party plan sellers. Through the efforts of direct salespersons that provide personal demonstration, home delivery, and a variety of other sales-related services, direct-selling companies can offer quality products to consumers without substantial advertising or other barriers to entry found in other distribution systems, like brick-and-mortar stores. In 2011 there were approximately 15.6 million direct sellers in the U.S. with retail sales of nearly $30 billion.'
If readers just stop and think for a moment, then this is obviously a fairy story; for the above document conveniently ignores the key-fact that another so-called 'Direct Selling' company, 'YourTravel Biz.com (YTB),' was a 'DSA' member that had just been 'approved as legal and ethical' only months before being successfully-prosecuted as a 'massive pyramid scheme' and shut down by the California Attorney General. In this particular case, it was found that 340,000 persons had been deceived by 'YTB'including a significant number who had bought effectively-valueless shares in it.
Furthermore, if there really were 15.6 millions direct sellers in the USA in 2011, then how many of them remained in 2012 and where are all their customers? Readers will note that nowhere in any material published by any so-called 'DSA' anywhere in the world, is to be found a common-sense, accurate and unambiguous definition of what used to be considered a lawful direct selling company.
i.e. a corporate structure which can prove that its revenue has largely-derived from the regular retailing of significant quantities of products, and/or services, directly to the general public via commission agents: rather than from purchases made by a never-ending chain of its own losing, commission agents.
Tellingly, in all material published by so-called 'DSAs,' instead of 'the general public,' we always find the vague, and ambiguous, terms: 'end users' , 'customers' and 'consumers' which obviously can be (and are) taken to mean absolutely anyone, including the commission agents themselves. Indeed, the so-called'DSA's' own so-called 'Codes of Ethics' specifically allow so-called 'self-consumption by Direct Sellers' to'qualify' as so-called 'Sales.'
Thus, heading the list of common-sense questions which should long-since have been put to the officers of the so-called 'Direct Selling Association' in the USA, is:
'Of your members' claimed '$ multi-billion retail sales,' exactly what percentage have been authentic, external, retail sales to the general public rather than internal transactions between your members and the millions of so-called 'direct sellers' themselves, arbitrarily, and falsely, defined as 'retail sales?'
Obviously, the officers of the so-called 'DSA' have painted themselves into the same absurd corner as the bosses of 'Herbalife', and their standard escape will be first to smile-sweetly, and steadfastly pretend that they can't be expected to have a ready answer to the above question, when the direct selling companies themselves don't monitor, or publish, this information. However, if put under pressure, they will then be obliged to claim that the questioner doesn't understand how direct selling functions, because many of the millions of persons who have always been described as 'direct sellers in the USA,' weren't actually 'direct sellers' at all, they were 'discount customers.'
Thus, I will confidently predict that, when challenged, the branch of the 'MLM' Ministry of Truth known as the 'Direct Selling Association' will cease to put forward the limp defence of ignorance. Instead, they will mount exactly the same arrogant, Orwellian offensive as the bosses of 'Herbalife (HLF)'
In effect, they will say:
Read the word 'seller' as 'buyer,' stupid! Then theft is lawful.'
David Brear (copyright 2013)