Norwegian Lyoness investigation half-assed?

lyoness-logoA few weeks back news broke that the Norwegian Gaming Board had concluded their investigation into Lyoness.

Known for their thorough regulatory analysis of MLM companies in the past (see Wealth Masters and World Ventures), it was hoped that the Gaming Board’s conclusion would shed light on some of the figures behind the scheme. In particular, how much of the company’s revenue was derived from investment in account units, and how much of it was from non-investing shopper members.

Unfortunately when the Gaming Board announced their decision, not much was made public.

(The) Gaming Board has considered the business of our company Lyoness in Norway.The conclusion is now clear.

The Company does not engage in illegal activities in Norway.

The (Gaming Board’s) preliminary audit report concludes Lyoness (is) not engaged in an illegal pyramid sales system in Norway in violation of the Lottery Act § 16 second paragraph.

This conclusion is based on the information that the Gaming Board has about Lyonness operations in Norway today.

We’ll be back with more detailed information on the matter later.

That was it.

While we’re still waiting for an official breakdown of the decision, Norwegian newspaper VG has managed to score an interview with the Gaming Board’s Monica Alisøy Kjelsnes. [Continue reading...]


Merrill wants $4M to defend himself. TelexFree funds?

telexfree-logoGearing up to battle US regulators in what is ““probably the largest pyramid scheme that’s ever been prosecuted by the Department of Justice” is James Merrill. All-round mister nice guy, devoted father, community pillar, loves his mum and owner of the billion dollar Ponzi scheme, TelexFree.

Having thus far appeared to cooperate with regulators, requests by Merrill to release non-TelexFree related funds have been assented to by the SEC. Now however Merrill is asking that $4 million in Ponzi funds be made available to fund his defense.

Has he gone too far? [Continue reading...]


IrisCall Review: Murky video email offering…

iriscall-logoThere is no information on the IrisCall website indicating who owns or runs the business.

IrisCall do have an “About Us” page on their website, however only the following vague marketing copy is provided:

IrisCall started out in 2013 as a collaborative effort between Top Software Engineers in the Field of Communication, an Experienced Marketing Team striving for WorldWide Expansion and a Team of Visionaries who have a Defined Path to Success to follow.

Ironically, on the same page IrisCall list their “core values” as being that of respect, integrity and accountability.

With those core values in mind, it’s worth noting that the depiction of an office on the IrisCall website is doctored:

fake-office-iriscall-website

The image used appears to be an edited stock photo, with edited versions of the same image appearing on at least two other websites:

fake-office-example-iriscall

fake-office-example2-iriscall

The IrisCall website domain (“iriscall.net”) was registered on the 4th of July 2013, and lists a “Gerry Dekens” as the domain owner with an address in Antwerpen, Belgium.

Whether or not IrisCall is actually run out of Belgium isn’t clear. In their “anti-spam” policy, IrisCall advises

You may also mail your concerns to us at the following address:

IrisCall International Ltd.
Indigo Icon Tower 608
Jumeirah Lakes Towers
DUBAI

This address is owned by the Freemont Group, who, according to their website, provide “offshore company” registration and “asset protection” services..

Dekens is credited as being the founder of IrisCall:

gerry-dekens-founder-iriscal

On his personal website (“gerrydekens.com”), he describes himself as being a

34 year old guy from Belgium.

All my skills are self-thought (sic), I’m not an expert at anything, but I know a little about a lot of things because I’m interested in Everything.

Dekens claims to have gotten involved in MLM around 1995-1996, during which he helped his father build a ‘multi level based organisation in the Netherlands‘.

After working non-MLM related jobs for some years, Dekens returned to MLM as a “country leader” in Global Wealth.

This lasted a year, with Dekens describing the experience as ‘a bad idea. The company management turned out to be untrustworthy.

He went on to launch his own company in 2010, but says that eventually failed in 2012 because ‘the partnership didn’t turn out to be a successful match.’

In 2013 Deken’s launched a “co-operative Profit Sharing Association”, which is what IrisCall appears to be a part of.

Why none of this information is provided on the IrisCall website is a mystery.

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


Faith Sloan’s motion for $15,800 to pay lawyer & rent denied

telexfree-logoThe spectacle of the battle between one of the industry’s most prolific Ponzi pimps and the SEC continues.

Hat in hand and convinced that, despite her determination to flout recent court orders against her, Faith Sloan approached the Massachusetts District and demanded $15,800 in frozen funds be made available to her.

Sloan argued that, despite sinking $18,884 into another Ponzi scheme less than two months prior, without the $15,800 she’d have no money to live on or pay her rent and attorney.

Additionally, the Judge hearing the case ruled on May 7th that “no carve-outs” (of money) would be issued to defendants who did not comply with orders to declare their assets to the SEC.

Without even so much as an explanation, yesterday saw Sloan’s request wholly denied. On a photocopied page from Sloan’s original request, the words “motion denied” are scribbled along with Judge Gorton’s signature. [Continue reading...]


Zeek Receiver sues Howard Kaplan for “legal negligence”

zeekrewardsYesterday saw the Zeek Rewards Receivership file a request for permission to “file separate actions against” two of Zeek’s attorneys.

Explaining the request, the Receiver wrote

After careful analysis of RVG’s written and electronic records, extensive document review and numerous interviews with relevant witnesses, the Receiver has concluded that two attorneys hired by RVG (and their related entities) caused significant damages to RVG by their negligent and other wrongful conduct.

The order was granted on the same day in a North Carolina District Court, after which the Receiver went on to file his actions.

Named as defendants in the actions are attorneys Kevin Grimes and Howard Kaplan and their respective law firms. [Continue reading...]


Zeek Receiver sues Kevin Grimes for “legal malpractice”

zeekrewardsYesterday saw the Zeek Rewards Receivership file a request for permission to “file separate actions against” two of Zeek’s attorneys.

Explaining the request, the Receiver wrote

After careful analysis of RVG’s written and electronic records, extensive document review and numerous interviews with relevant witnesses, the Receiver has concluded that two attorneys hired by RVG (and their related entities) caused significant damages to RVG by their negligent and other wrongful conduct.

The order was granted on the same day in a North Carolina District Court, after which the Receiver went on to file his actions.

Named as defendants in the actions are attorneys Kevin Grimes and Howard Kaplan and their respective law firms.

[Continue reading...]


TelexFree Trustee inches closer to Chapter 7 liquidation

telexfree-logoYesterday saw a hearing for TelexFree Trustee Stephen Darr’s request for permission to subpoena several companies associated with TelexFree. Darr had also requested permission to conduct depositions with individuals from said companies, with the court granting him permission to proceed.

Five such motions were filed by Darr, with three of them granted as proposed. Alvares and Marsal (financial consultants to TelexFree) objected only to having to share emails between the firm and its legal counsel.

Darr agreed to this on condition that he reserves the right to request the emails, if needed, at a later date. A & M consented on condition they retain the right to appeal any such requests.

At the time of publication, no order has been made public regarding Darr’s request to subpoena TelexFree’s law firm Greenberg Traurig, however news reports suggest permission was granted on all five subpoena requests.

Speaking to the Worcester Telegram about why he had to file the requests, Darr remarked [Continue reading...]


Plastic Cash International demand $14.9M in Ponzi funds

zeekrewardsPlastic Cash International LLC, who refer to themselves as one ‘of the prepaid industry’s most prominent players‘, was the credit-card processor for Zeek Rewards.

Plastic Cash International

processed credit card payments from affiliates for (Zeek Rewards).

The processed payments were deposited into an account to be held for the benefit of (Zeek Rewards).

Zeek Rewards, an $850 million Ponzi scheme, was shut down by the SEC back in August of 2012.

In a colossal display of due-diligence failure, Plastic Cash International got on board the Zeek Rewards Ponzi gravy train just two months before the company came crashing down.

Don’t let the short time-span deceive you though, Plastic Cash still collected at least $9.7 million dollars in processor fees and funds from Zeek investors.

That evidently however wasn’t enough, with Plastic Cash filing a claim with the Zeek Rewards Receivership in August of 2013. [Continue reading...]


Brazilian SEC: “No doubt TelexFree is a pyramid scheme”

telexfree-logoAfter a flurry of action these past three months as US regulators took action against TelexFree, things have finally settled into a lull.

One owner, James Merrill, is currently out on bail and awaiting trial. The other, Carlos Wanzeler is on the run in Brazil. Regulators boned his wife’s attempts to flee the US to join him. To date, Wanzeler remains geographically cut off from his family.

The US Trustee is currently investigating TelexFree, with the results expected to lay the foundation for possible bankruptcy fraud charges against the company at a later date.

One could argue that in the grand scheme of things, US regulators should have acted much sooner. Despite there being signs well in advance, I will say that these cases take time to build.

With the speed with which US regulators shutdown TelexFree, raided their offices, threw one owner in jail boned the other owner’s wife’s plans to leave the US, ongoing concerns over the pace of regulatory action in Brazil remain.

James Merrill, recently released on bail, has been left holding the bag after his partner-in-crime fled to Brazil. And at least one top promoter, who earned millions and sees himself as a victim, is also hiding out there.

Earlier this year it was hinted that the criminal case against TelexFree might be “resolved by mid-2014“.

With auditors Ernst & Young recently granted an extension to file their report though (due to the “complexity” of TelexFree’s business operations (read: fraud)), and then time granted for both TelexFree and the Acre Public Prosecutor’s Office to file replies, all of which then must be considered by a Judge before a ruling is made, that the case will be resolved anytime soon seems unlikely.

The end of 2014 might be more realistic, but with the ongoing fluidity of regulatory action against TelexFree in the US, even that might be a stretch.

Not helping the existing impression that regulatory justice in Brazil moves slower than a quadriplegic turtle, comes the revelation that the Brazilian SEC concluded TelexFree was “undoubtedly a pyramid scheme”.

Wait for it… all the way back in January 2013. [Continue reading...]


Herbalife continue to dodge retail in LULAC response

herbalife-logoMid last year saw a number of organisations write to the FTC and ask that they investigate Herbalife. One of those organisations was the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and they’ve remained at odds with Herbalife ever since.

“I’m mad,” said LULAC’s National Executive Director Brent Wilkes. “I’ve seen Latinos ripped off by banks and others, but this scheme really takes the cake.”

After talking with Herbalife “and not getting the answers I wanted to hear, I concluded they are defrauding upwards of 300,000 Latinos a year,” he said.

Another consumer activist planning to attend the meeting said, “We think the problem is getting worse, and we think that the FTC is really important.”

In attempts to appease LULAC of their concerns, Herbalife have since met with them on three separate occasions. Those meetings however appear to have achieved little, with Herbalife President Dan Walsh now penning an open letter , sounding a little frustrated at the lack of progress, now penning an open letter to Brent Wilkes. [Continue reading...]