Lyoness and Friedl cleared of criminal charges in Austria

lyoness-logoA combination of a media blackout order and language-barriers have made it difficult to report on the Austrian criminal case against Lyoness and CEO Hubert Friedl.

BehindMLM first reported on the Austrian case back in 2013, which is when I first became aware of an investigation by Austria’s “White Collar Crimes and Corruption” Public Prosecutor’s Office (WKSTA).

That investigation began in 2012, with legal action commencing around January of this year.

According to news reports out of Austria, a decision has been made in the WKSTA case:

The Criminal Court of Vienna has dropped its case against Lyoness on this point. For the judges Lyoness is not a pyramid scheme.

As it stands, Lyoness and Friedl have been given the all-clear. [Continue reading…]

Boreyko wants to inject $500,000 into Vemma

vemma-logoThe current state of Vemma’s financial affairs is unknown. However if a recent filing by owner BK Boreyko is anything to go by, things might be looking tight.

AZPACK Properties, LLC is an entity in Arizona which owns real estate. Arizona state records list a filing date for AZPACK Properties in 2013, with four manager/member individuals having a stake in the company.

Boreyko is one of the individuals listed, with a filing on November 24th revealing he has a 25% stake in the company.

AZPack Properties LLC as an entity have agreed to purchase Boreyko’s stake for an agreed sale price of $500,000.

The problem?

Whether or not the sale of Boreyko’s stake in AZPACK Properties violates the current Vemma preliminary injunction is unclear. [Continue reading…]

AdvoCare Review: Health & wellness with strong retail focus

advocare-logoAdvoCare, founded by Charles Ragus in 1993, are based out of the US state of Texas.

Before AdvoCare, Ragus worked as a regional vice president for Fidelity Union Insurance, and as a multi-level marketing distributor for Herbalife.

Today AdvoCare is headed up by CEO Brian Connolly.

Brian-Connolly-advocare-ceoBrian Connolly (right) cut his MLM teeth over at Avon. Having joined the company back in 1978, Connolly worked his way up to Executive Vice President of Global Sales.

Connolly’s appointment to CEO earlier this month follows the retirement of Richard Wright in September. Wright had been CEO of AdvoCare since 2007.

On the legal front, courtesy of Wikipedia’s AdvoCare entry;

In July 2008, Olympic swimmer Jessica Hardy tested positive for the banned breathing enhancer, clenbuterol.

Hardy said she had never heard of the substance, attributing the positive result to either a tainted supplement or sabotage.

At the time, Hardy had been taking the supplement Arginine Extreme, which she had received for free from AdvoCare in exchange for making product testimonials, and she claimed in a subsequent lawsuit that the company’s product was tainted.

AdvoCare sued Hardy for making false claims.

An arbitration hearing reduced Hardy’s suspension after a scientific expert testified that the AdvoCare product was tainted.

AdvoCare disputed the panel’s findings, saying that two independent laboratories had not found any evidence of Clenbuterol in the supplements.

Hardy counter-sued Advocare for supplying her with the contaminated product.

Court records show a confidential settlement was reached between the two parties in early 2012.

AdvoCare has also been involved in at least one messy lawsuit with two of their affiliates:

In 2009, a Dallas County jury awarded $1.9 million in damages against AdvoCare after finding that the company had engaged in deceptive trade practices and unfairly canceled agreements with two of its distributors.

According to the lawsuit, litigants Bruce and Teresa Badgett of Arlington, Texas, had been active and profitable marketers of AdvoCare products for more than a dozen years before their distributorship was canceled by the company in 2006 “based upon vague and trumped-up charges.”

The jury found that AdvoCare engaged in false, misleading or deceptive practices that damaged the Badgetts and that the termination provisions of the distributor contract with AdvoCare were unconscionable, according to court documents.

AdvoCare disputed the ruling and on April 30, 2010, filed to appeal the decision on the basis that the plaintiffs were not customers and therefore did not fit the statutory definition necessary to be covered under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The appeal was dismissed on March 13, 2012 and the company was ordered to reimburse the Badgett’s for court costs related to their defense in the appeal case.

Interesting assertion that AdvoCare’s affiliates are not customers.

Of note is that despite multiple civil lawsuits, on the regulatory front AdvoCare appear to be in the all clear.

Read on for a full review of the AdvoCare MLM business opportunity. [Continue reading…]

5 Star Signals issued non-compliance fine by AMF

5-star-signals-logoYou dump money into a scheme and in exchange receive a passive ROI?

That’s a security and, if your scheme is not registered with the appropriate regulators, soliciting such investment constitutes an unregistered securities offering.

The Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets are responsible for

supervising the operation of the financial markets since 1 March 2002.

This means that AFM supervises the conduct of the entire financial market sector: savings, investment, insurance and loans.

On the 2nd of November, 2015, the AMF began fining 5 Star Signals. [Continue reading…]

OneBuckCycler Review: $1 Ponzi cycler ad positions

onebuckcycler-logoThere is no information on the OneBuckCycler indicating who owns or runs the business.

The OneBuckCycler website domain (“”) was registered on the 19th of November 2015, however the domain registration is set to private.

Someone going by the name of “William Benedict Adams” is admin of the official OneBuckCycler Facebook group, but whether or not this is a legitimate profile is unclear.

As always, if an 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…]

Solavei collapses, discontinues MLM opportunity

solavei-logoMid 2014 saw Solavei drowning in $63 million dollars of debt, which in turn lead to the company filing for bankruptcy.

Initial vendor costs and affiliate commissions were cited as primary reasons for the filing.

What sounded like the end of the company later transitioned into maintaining Solavei’s business operations, albeit on a tight budget.

Just shy of a year and a half later it appears that, even on a tight budget, Solavei’s business model still isn’t feasible.

In a video announcement made within the twenty-four hours, CEO Ryan Wuerch has announced the end of Solavei as we know it. [Continue reading…]

Stream Review: $375 affiliate fee & 3rd party utilities

stream-logoStream launched in 2005, with the company today claiming to be

the largest direct selling energy company in the world, with over $7 billion in revenue in just six states.

mark-schiro-president-ceo-streamBased out of Texas in the US, Stream is headed up by President and CEO, Mark Schiro (right).

As per Schiro’s Stream corporate bio, he

previously served as president of his personal investment firm, STI Investments Ltd., and STI Masonry LLC, an architectural paving products manufacturer.

Steam appears to be Schiro’s first MLM venture as an executive.

As to the company itself, in 2009 two class action lawsuits were filed against Stream. Both lawsuits alleged Stream operated ‘as a pyramid scheme which is substantially more active in recruiting sales associates than in recruiting new customers‘.

The lawsuit in Georgia was dismissed on procedural grounds, with litigation in Texas ongoing.

October 2015 saw a class of plaintiffs in the case decertified, leaving two plaintiffs standing.

The two remaining plaintiffs have requested a rehearing with the full Fifth Circuit.

The case will be reheard only if a majority of the 15 active justices now sitting on the Fifth Circuit agree to do so.

Earlier this Solavei filed its own lawsuit against Stream, alleging breach of contract and theft of trade secrets.

Back in June the case was dismissed via summary judgement, with the court finding ‘Solavei had no evidence whatsoever to support its groundless allegations‘.

A press-release published on June 25th by Stream claimed

Stream will pursue its own counterclaims against Solavei and two of its corporate officers – CEO Ryan Wuerch and General Counsel Rick White – for charges of defamation and tortious interference with Stream’s business.

As at the time of publication I wasn’t able to find anything further. Ryan Wuerch meanwhile announced yesterday that Solavei has collapsed.

Stream has also had run ins with state regulators, with Texas fining

Stream nearly $100,000 in 2011 and 2012 for violating customer protection rules.

Read on for a full review of the Stream MLM business opportunity. [Continue reading…]

Money Booster Review: $10 three-tier pyramid scheme

money-booster-logoThere is no information on the Money Booster website indicating who owns or runs the business.

The Money Booster website domain (“”) was registered on the 14th of November 2015, however the domain registration is set to private.

As always, if an 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…]

Azaya Blue Review: Fashion accessories & handbags

azaya-blue-logoAzaya Blue launched in early 2011 and is headed up by co-founder Katalin Kekedi (also credited as Kata Kekedi).

Neither the Azaya Blue website, Facebook profile or website domain registration lists a location for Azaya Blue’s business operations.

Kekedi’s LinkedIn profile location is listed as Washington in the US, which I assume is where Azaya Blue are based.

Kekedi’s LinkedIn profile also lists her as a co-founder of Azaya Blue, with the other founders not disclosed or mentioned on the Azaya Blue website.

katalin-kekedi-cofounder-azaya-blueAs per Kekedi’s Azaya Blue corporate bio;

As a new mom and designer working in the fashion industry, I quickly realized the confines of the corporate structure would not fit my lifestyle.

Instead I pursued my dream of creating lavish, must have womens’ accessories, and began making prototypes on the family dining room table.

The Azaya Blue collection was born and named after my daughter Aziza Maya.

My first Azaya Blue collection landed nationwide on Nordstrom store shelves. Production quickly moved from the kitchen table to overseas.

Since then, my designs have been a presence at Nordstrom. They have sold at Henry Bendel, Fred Meyer and other retail chains, as well as at small boutiques from Arizona to Australia, from California to Qatar.

It was during this period, in the midst of doing pop up boutiques at Henry Bendel and Nordstrom, that several friends asked about opportunities to do private Home Boutiques.

So the story goes, this prompted the founding of Azaya Blue.

Azaya Blue itself is Kekedi’s first venture into MLM, with previous experience seeing her work ‘as a fashion and product designer in Hungary, Holland and the United States.

Read on for a full review of the Azaya Blue MLM business opportunity. [Continue reading…]

Bizarre attorney-in-fact filing in Filho criminal case

dfrf-enterprises-logoWith his DFRF Enterprises Ponzi empire in ruins and a criminal court case looming, Daniel Filho has brought in the big guns.

Well, he’s brought in something… but to what end we’re not sure.

In an affidavit filing by self-styled attorney-in-fact Lynn Schmaltz, a number of amusing demands are made. [Continue reading…]