Thursday 6 July 2023

Robert FitzPatrick's thoughts on his recent visit to 'Amway World HQ.'


In 1945, whilst most contemporary mainstream commentators were unable to look beyond the ends of their noses, with a perfect sense of irony, Eric Arthur Blair a.k.a. George Orwell (1903-1950) presented fact as fiction in an insightful 'fairy story' entitled, 'Animal Farm.' He revealed that totalitarianism is merely the oppressors' fiction mistaken for fact by the oppressed. In the same universal allegory, Orwell described how, at a time of vulnerability, almost any people's dream of a future, secure, Utopian existence can be hung over the entrance to a totalitarian deception. Indeed, the words that are always banished by totalitarian deceivers are, 'totalitarian' and 'deception.' Sadly, when it comes to examining the same enduring phenomenon, albeit with an ephemera'American/Capitalist' label, most contemporary, mainstream commentators have again been unable to look further than the ends of their noses. However, if they followed Orwell's example, and did some serious thinking, this is the reality-inverting nightmare they would find.

For more than 70 years, successive grinning generations of two Dutch-American families (DeVos and Van Andel) have got away with building 'Amway' - a labyrinth of legally-registered corporate structures, pursuing lawful, and/or unlawful, enterprises. They have used these private companies to peddle a pernicious totalitarian fairy story entitled, 'Multi-Level Marketing,’ which they, and their propagandists, have steadfastly pretended to have brought great benefit to humanity. During this shameful period, these two clans of world-class liars have become fabulously wealthy, whilst tens of millions of ill-informed individuals around the globe have quietly-continued to be churned through a dissimulated rigged-market swindle (a.k.a. pyramid scheme) and related advance fee frauds. At the same time, many of these victims have had their minds hijacked by a perversion of the ‘positive (good) versus negative (evil)’ Christian belief system. Although the unpaid proselytisers for this self-perpetuating crime-wave were given the illusion that they were making a free-choice, they were, in fact, subjected to co-ordinated, devious techniques of social, psychological and physical persuasion designed to facilitate the shutting down of their critical, and evaluative, faculties (without their fully-informed consent). In this way, a significant minority of chronic 'Amway' victims have been deceived into dissipating all their mental, physical and financial resources to the benefit of a sanctimonious little gang of self-proclaimed ‘compassionate Christian capitalists,’ whom they continued blindly to trust and follow no matter what suffering this entailed.

Major organised crime groups were supposedly identified by US legislators as a cancer that had previously been allowed to gnaw its way into the heart of the republic when, in 1970, severe criminal penalties, and powerful civil remedies, were finally provided as a defence in the form of the US federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Yet US federal prosecutors have (so far) done nothing to prevent the bosses of 'Amway' (the original, blame-the-victim 'MLM' racket), and their associate criminal enterprises, from maintaining control over billions of stolen dollars. Indeed, certain, corrupt senior political figures and legally-qualified law enforcement agents have enthusiastically assisted in protecting the group’s kitsch front - obstructing full-exposure of the sinister cult that has lurked behind it. Tellingly, the beneficiaries of the 'Amway' racket have invested some of their ill-gotten gains to infiltrate traditional culture to a degree which makes even the most-notorious Mafia 'Wise Guys' look like a bunch of amateurs. 

In the following article, Robert FitzPatrick offers his thoughts on his recent visit to 'Amway World HQ' in Ada Michigan. Readers should bear in mind that this impressive edifice (indeed, the entire bedazzling game of Utopian make-believe of which it has been a key-element), has been paid for by the unpaid labour of tens of millions of ill-informed individuals who have continued to be churned through the ranks of 'Amway' adherents over a period spanning several decades. 'Amway World HQ' remains only part of a classic information monoply which the bosses of 'Amway' (just like the bosses of any centrally-controlled totalitarian regime) have always sought to maintain. Yet in the USA, 'a deliberate scheme to obtain financial or similar gain by using false statements, misrepresentations, concealment of important information, or deceptive conduct,' is known in law as: 'criminal fraud.'

David Brear (copyright 2023)


by Robert L. FitzPatrick, Author of PONZINOMICS, the Untold Story of Multi-Level Marketing

July, 2023

From the outside or if you just drive by, the enormous facility in Ada Michigan would look like any large corporate center. There is a huge globe on display by the road and a row of national flags, signifying the worldwide reach of this company, whatever it is. 

Windshield View of Amway World Headquarters

There is no other indicator of the nature of the company, its products, where they could be purchased or who buys them, whatever they are

The company offers a “self-guided” tour to visitors that walks you through a short circular hallway toward the back of the lobby area. Everywhere else is closed to the public without appointment. The “tour” offers wall displays about products that Amway apparently sells. They appear to be the most ordinary of consumer goods that one sees in grocery, convenience, health food stores, malls, or online. But most people have never heard of or would remember the brand names of any Amway products, and no one has ever seen them in a retail store of any kind. 

Have you heard of “Glister” brand toothbrushes? They are highlighted on the Amway tour. A package of four of the Amway/Glister toothbrushes sells for $12.50 or $3.13 each. They look like any toothbrush. Are they special or different? The Amway website states, “Soft and medium bristles help remove plaque even between teeth, and gently massage gums. Flexible neck eases pressure on teeth and gums. Reach hard-to-brush areas with tapered head.” Yes, that’s pretty much what toothbrushes do.

A quick search on turns up a package of six Colgate branded toothbrushes with the typical traits of toothbrushes. It sells for $4.44, or $.74 a brush. Amway’s toothbrush cost four times (400%) more!

Okay, how about the “Atmosphere Sky” home air purifier. Heard of it? It’s the one Amway sells – for $1,590. 

Shopping on Amazon, it’s hard to find an air purifier anywhere nearly this expensive. For New Yorkers in one of the most densely populated cities in America and recently suffering from thick smoke of Canadian forest fires, New York Times recently tested 50 different air purifiers and recommended one that sells for under $200.

So, questions normally arise: how do Amway’s extremely high priced commodities get sold? Where? In today’s hyper-competitive, globally-sourced market, why would anyone buy these unknown products over so many other well-known brands in stores and online and pay these exorbitant prices? 

The largest section of the display highlights vitamin pills branded “Nutrilite”, which, despite not being sold in stores, the display claims are the most “popular” of all vitamin brands in the world – without explaining how this could be. A bottle of 60 capsules of Nutrilite Vitamin C, 500 mg., time-released sells for $20 or $.33 a pill. Taking Amway Vitamin C daily costs $120 a year. offers the well known and respected Nature’s Bounty Vitamin C, same mg. and time-released for $.07 a pill, $25 a year. Amway’s cost nearly 5 times (500%) more!  

Perplexing Questions, No Clues, Paranoid or Real?

These product and sales questions lead to the most perplexing question of all: how could such an enormous facility exist that produces and sells ordinary products that few people have ever heard of, can’t be found in any store, and are uncompetitively priced?

The displays offer no clues to these questions. Billions are claimed in sales with no mention of retail outlets, prices, marketing strategies or product differentiation. To anyone in marketing, sales or distribution, Amway would be an economic mystery.  Taking the self-guided tour would undo everything learned.

Without any background on what Amway is and with so little substantive information offered, one could even be forgiven for suspecting the entire presentation and the large buildings on the “campus” are fake, maybe an elaborate front for a giant money laundering scheme, like Madoff’s “hedge fund” operations that never did stock trades and issued fake quarterly reports.

That would not be paranoia. It is precisely what Amway is being accused of now by federal regulators in India that sued Amway. The products, the suit claims, serve as a mechanism for laundering money obtained in a giant Ponzi scheme, and all its “profits” and “commissions” are therefore illegal. Essentially, the same charges were brought against the company in the United States by the FTC in 1975 and have been brought by “distributors” in civil lawsuits.

But, if you don’t know what Amway is, that shocking information would also be unknown. So, back to the perplexing “self-guided” tour… 

Founders, Famous for What?

Besides the incredibly high priced but utterly ordinary products, there is another prominent presence in the lobby and on the tour. Two men, both deceased, heralded as the founders of Amway, are depicted in life-size photos and cardboard cutouts like legendary historical figures. The lobby is almost a museum dedicated to their work, whatever it was. But, if you don’t know what Amway is, you will likely never have heard of them, any more than you would the brands of the products on display. Strangely, Amway’s current company leaders are not referenced at all.

Why would these two departed people be so exalted for a business selling such ordinary commodity products? Apparently, they did not invent anything, no breakthrough technology, no innovation that changed how we live or shop. They are not a Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison or even Bill Gates. If what they did is historically or economically significant, why does the tour not explain plainly what the company is and what it does?

Facts and Figures

The economic mysteries that the Amway tour raises are answered once some basic facts and figures about the company are discovered. As an author and researcher of “multi-level marketing” and having been contacted by countless Amway distributors over a 20-year span, and having served as expert in court cases against Amway, I am all too familiar with these facts. 

I know that 99.9% of all people, all over the world who have ever invested in the Amway “business” from when it started to today, never gained a net profit. Few remain active in the business more than a year or two. I know that Amway’s “compensation” plan sends most payments, per transaction, to the top 1-5%, dooming all others. I know the Amway pay plan and business model, based on “endless chain” recruiting, and some of its products were copied directly from the previous employer of the Amway founders, called “Nutrilite”. Amway’s future founders worked there for a decade before starting a directly competitive company and taking 5,000 of Nutrilite’s distributors. Later, they acquired what was left of Nutrilite.

I know Amway settled charges and paid the largest fine to date in a criminal tax evasion case in Canada and that Amway is being sued now by regulators in India for running a multi-billion dollar Ponzi and money laundering scheme. I’ve read all the books by former Amway recruits that dramatically detail cult accusations. I have been contacted by many former Amway “distributors” who told me of their ruined families, divorces, foreclosure and bankruptcies that they say stem from being Amway “direct sellers.”

I’ve researched the history of Amway and how it turned its pyramid recruiting model, promising “unlimited income” and “infinite expansion” into a religious crusade, branding those who criticize or quit the company as “pathetic losers.” I know Amway has sued critics. I learned how Amway’s political connections in Michigan were used when the congressman of their home district became president, just when Amway was being federally prosecuted as a pyramid fraud.

As for the marketing mysteries, Amway’s products, it turns out, are mostly sold only to the contract salespeople. Some of them may convince a few family and friends to buy them for a little while. Most never sell any goods to anyone. The company is supposedly based on millions of people gaining profits from retail selling, but I have never encountered anyone who claimed sustainable profits from “direct selling” of Amway goods. 

Factoring lack of consumer interest or need for personal salespeople, the tiny retail profit margin offered to Amway “resellers”, the high prices of the commodities, the lack of product differentiation, the unlimited increase of “sales” people in every area, driven by the hyped-up, recruiting-based income promises and causing excess competition, it is clear that profitable and sustainable “direct selling” of Amway goods is an economic impossibility.

Mystery Customers

Nevertheless, it is indisputable and fully documented that all Amway recruits – tens of millions of people worldwide – buy Amway products, at least for the little while they are under contract. This fundamental piece of information – that the “salespeople” are the primary “customers” – answers the question of why there is no advertising. There are, effectively, no sustainable retail customers, no stable customer base, to advertise to. Salespeople are under contract to Amway as “distributors.” No company needs to advertise to their distributors.

But if nearly all the “distributors” don’t sell and gain no net profit from the Amway “business,” why do they buy, if only for a little while? Why would they pay so much more for Amway’s commodity toothbrushes, vitamin C and air purifiers? Why wouldn’t they just go to stores or shop online like everyone else and enjoy greater choice, much lower prices and more convenience? Without advertising, how do they even find out about these unknown Amway products?

Of course, I know the answer to these questions too, but only after much research and plowing through mountains of disinformation and overcoming my own bewilderment that what I saw could be true.

For those solicited by Amway recruiters and who want to understand what Amway is or anyone who ponders the mysteries raised in the self-guided tour, the questions about the “business” always lead to another set of mysteries. The new questions are not about economics and marketing. Rather, how is it possible that millions of people are induced not only to pay to become “direct sellers” of products that are virtually unsellable on a profitable basis, but to personally buy them. 

Dark Corners, Disbelief, Extreme Irony

That deeper inquiry leads inevitably into areas of criminal law and the corruption and negligence of law enforcement regarding pyramid scheme frauds. It pulls the inquirer into Amway’s origins, its true history, prosecutions, lawsuits, promises of wealth and happiness, and shocking statistics on consumer losses and personal tragedies related to the “business.” It leads into the dark corners of undue influence, Big Lie deception, intimidation, shaming and brainwashing.

The inquiry into the fates and motives of Amway’s “direct sellers”, its main “customers,” takes one into the depths of extreme irony, disbelief, and confusion. Little wonder the “tour” seeks to distract the visitor with toothbrushes and vitamin pills and strangely offers so little about the substance of the company.

To know of Amway’s cult control leading to the separation of many Amway followers from family and life-long friends and their very own identities, and to be aware of the pain and despair of the millions of Amway “losers”, one must stand and ponder in utter amazement the words displayed over the founders’ images in the lobby: Freedom, Family, Hope, and Reward.


  1. Thank-you Robert and David - your explanations make perfect sense. Without your work we would still look at these MLM companies with little idea of what they hide.

    1. It seems that plenty of people have now recognised the major organised criminal enterprise 'MLM' front companies have all been hiding, but whether they have been free to speak the truth publicly, is a different matter.