Banners Viewer launched in early 2014. Fronted by Edward A. Cocchiola, the MLM opportunity saw affiliates invest between $150 to $21,250 on the expectation of an advertised $25 to $1250 weekly ROI.
Cocchiola himself appeared to have no executive MLM experience but if he was working with others, their details were kept from the public eye.
Nonetheless shortly after BehindMLM published a review on Banners Viewer the company decided to change their name to “Y-Banners”.
Around that time Banners Viewer began to exeperience downtime problems with their website. Amid ongoing problems with downtime, the Y-Banners website was taken offline and replaced with an “under maintenance” splash page.
This was then followed by the filing of a voluntary dissolution with the Florida Department of State on June 16th: [Continue reading...]
Gold Crowdfunding launched in mid 2014 and is headed up by President and Founder, James C. Hill.
No corporate address is provided on the Gold Crowdfunding website, however the company’s website domain provides an address in the US state of Utah.
Listed as the owner of the Gold Crowdfunding domain is Lynford Theobald of AutoTelNET, Inc.
The exact nature of the relationship between Theobald and Gold Crowdfunding is not clarified anywhere on the company website. Theobald’s name only appears as the creator of a “project” on the site, requesting members give him $150,000 to purportedly put towards gold mining operations in Tanzania (Africa).
As for James C. Hill (right), according to his Gold Crowdfunding corporate bio,
When he joined the workforce, he started in the psychiatric department with a hospital and worked directly with doctors and nurses in a new field research called “behavior modification”.
In the early 2000s he created an e-commerce program that was very popular in the United States. This was during the very early stages of the Internet. Since then he has created five e-commerce Internet-based marketing programs which have been widely accepted worldwide.
JC learned how to work with teams of developers and programmers and website designers around the world to expedite the development of e-commerce systems.
One of the “e-commerce programs” Hill refers to above is OneX. Under the pseudonym “J.C.”, Hill regularly hosted OneX affiliate calls during which he claimed to be part of a group of OneX admins.
OneX itself was a $5 entry recruitment-driven matrix-based scheme that paid affiliates to recruit new affiliates into the scheme. OneX acted as a cheaper feeder program for the shady investment scheme QLXchange.
One of OneX affiliates was notorious AdSurfDaily Ponzi kingpin Andy Bowdoin. Following the shutdown of AdSurdDaily, Bowdoin sought to recommend his investors join OneX under him in order to raise funds for his legal defense.
Public prosecutors quickly put a stop to that, with Hill named as one of the “principals” of OneX in a 2012 court filing:
In what is believed to be the first public filing that includes specific details about OneX, prosecutors produced an exhibit that identified one of the principals of OneX as James C. Hill, who allegedly also is known by the initials J.C.
The introduction of the document ends one of the long-standing OneX mysteries: the identity of “J.C.,” who once assured conference-call listeners that “God” was aboard the OneX train.
In mid 2012 Andy Bowdoin was sentenced to a maximum 78 month prison term. James C. Hill escaped prosecution.
Hill remained at large but appears to have been relatively quiet in the MLM arena these past few years… until now.
Read on for a full review of the Gold Crowdfunding MLM business opportunity. [Continue reading...]
When we last visited WakeUpNow’s financials, it was revealed that the company had blown through almost $8 million dollars over two years.
Numbers wise WakeUpNow looked to be in dire straits and unless things picked up in 2014, the future wasn’t looking all that bright.
About a week ago WakeUpNow published a consolidated quarterly report for the first six months of 2014.
Looking at the raw numbers the company appears to be on the up and up, but is everything as it seems? [Continue reading...]
Back in March the SEC shut down WCM777 and it wasn’t long thereafter that a court appointed Receivership took over.
Tasked with securing funds that will eventually be returned to investors who lost money in the scheme, little has since emerged as to the status of the Receivership’s efforts.
In contrast to the Receivership circuses of TelexFree and Zeek Rewards, the WCM777 Receivership has been deceptively quiet.
In the Receivership’s Second Interim Report however, details of what exactly they’ve been up to are finally revealed. [Continue reading...]
Late last year and just only a few months before the DoJ and SEC would take down the billion dollar Ponzi scheme TelexFree, US attorney general issued a stern warning to Ponzi admins and participants:
“We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to take down greedy scam artists who think nothing of stealing the savings of hard working people,” said U.S. Attorney Tompkins.
“As today’s technology continues to evolve, cybercriminals use these advances and enhancements to perpetrate an expanding range of crimes,” said Secret Service Assistant Director of Investigations Paul Morrissey.
“As we have seen with this case, even with the increasing complexity of online Ponzi schemes, it remains difficult for criminals to remain anonymous.
The Secret Service continues to seek new and innovative ways to combat emerging cyber threats.
In the nine months preceding, it’s easy to lose sight of the above message. MLM Ponzi schemes still launch to a global audience with relative frequency and those involved in past scams continue to ply their trade openly.
Still, in the five or so years I’ve been covering MLM – it does feel that this year some real judicial progress has been made (see coverage of the ongoing TelexFree and Zeek Rewards cases).
With every regulatory action against the industry the grey shrinks, and the speed with which regulators react increases.
So much so that as of right now, I’d be hard pressed to name a remaining MLM Ponzi scheme that operates with the reach and magnitude of either Zeek or TelexFree.
Evidently work continues in the MLM regulatory arena behind the scenes. So what have the authorities been up to these past eight months? [Continue reading...]
There is no information on the BitClub Network website indicating who owns or runs the company.
The BitClub Network website domain (“bitclubnetwork.com”) was registered on the 22nd of July 2014, however the domain registration is set to private.
The BitClub Network website itself is being hosted out of the Netherlands, without more information however it’s not clear whether this is also where the owner(s) of the company are based out of.
As always, if a MLM company is not openly upfront about who is running or owns it, think long and hard about joining and/or handing over any money. [Continue reading...]
I tried to maintain tabs on what was going on with TelexFree while I was on break. Mostly it was paper pushing between the parties involved (scheduling, replies etc.), but there was one court document filed that I felt was a must-read.
On the 18th of August the SEC filed a “Motion For Complex Case Designation And Exclusion Of Time” and in it, the scope of case the US government are putting together against TelexFree was revealed for the first time.
Simply put: It’s nothing short of epic. [Continue reading...]
If we learnt anything over the roughly three years it took Mumbai’s EOW to file a chargesheet against Speak Asia, it’s that Indian regulators were woefully ill-equipped to deal with the smoke and mirrors that accompanies modern Ponzi schemes.
With millions of dollars at their disposal, those who ran the scheme paid off an army of affiliates and supporters to rally behind their cause. This saw regulatory proceedings against Speak Asia head to the Supreme Court where, under a foundation of lies, they were delayed for months on end.
Eventually the Supreme Court saw through the farce but by then it was well and truly too late. Ditto when the EOW eventually filed a chargesheet against the company late last year.
In the aftermath of one of the more destructive yet not so widely discussed scams however comes some relief.
With its origins dating back to late last year and it having seen three incarnations since, a few days ago a new law was passed granting SEBI access to an expedited court of their own. [Continue reading...]
Following on the heels of earlier news today that the ACCC regulatory body in Australia are suing Lyoness for being a pyramid scheme, comes a response from the company.
Hollow rhetoric and colossal amounts of waffling?
Youbetcha! [Continue reading...]
It’s not exactly how I pictured easing myself back into blog coverage of the MLM world, but news broke last night that Lyoness are being prosecuted by Australian regulators.
As per their website, the Australian Competitor Consumer Association (ACCC)
promotes competition and fair trade in markets to benefit consumers, businesses, and the community. We also regulate national infrastructure services.
Our primary responsibility is to ensure that individuals and businesses comply with Australian competition, fair trading, and consumer protection laws – in particular the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
So what’s their beef with Lyoness?
Lyoness International AG, Lyoness Asia Limited, Lyoness UK Limited and Lyoness Australia Pty Limited (together ‘Lyoness’) (are) operating a pyramid selling scheme and engaging in referral selling.
How totally not surprising. [Continue reading...]