Aljazeera America publish “in-depth look at MLM”

This popped up on my radar in conjunction with Herbalife, but I soon discovered it wasn’t a once off.

The article in question was published as a part of a series Aljazeera America are publishing this week, titled “An in-depth look at multilevel marketing”.

It’s a four-part series, with the first three articles published over Tuesday and Wednesday. At the time of publication, a fourth article “Your Company Loves You” has yet to be published.

Below you’ll find a brief break down of the three thus far published articles: [Continue reading...]


Xtreme Green Review: Mandatory purchases & recruitment

xtreme-green-logoThere is no information on the Xtreme Green website indicating who owns or operates the company.

Xtreme Green does have an “our story” section on their website, but only a vague marketing spiel is provided:

We have been working in the lubrication field, developing and marketing our patented state-of-the-art lubrication to the industry for a very long time.

The Xtreme Green website domain (“xgopportunity.com”) was registered in April 2013. A “Peter Corel” is listed as the domain owner. In his LinkedIn profile, Corel credits himself as the Director of Operations and Information and Communication Technology Services (two roles) since 2011.

Credited as CEO of Xtreme Green in a compensation plan presentation is Stuart Graves:

stuart-graves-ceo-xtreme-green

Research reveals Graves credited as the Director of Operations for New Vision International, after which he went on to launch his own company, Pure Health International.

New Vision International was the predecessor of Vemma. The two companies ran simultaneously after the launch of Vemma in 1994, but New Vision was ultimately merged into the Vemma brand.

There is a surprising lack of information regarding Graves’ subsequent company Pure Health International. I’m going to assume it didn’t last long.

I also noticed a “Elton Alderman” credited as the original Xtreme Green Founder and CEO in affiliate marketing presentations (Graves was initially credited as President).

I’m not sure what happened there but I was unable to find any information explaining why Alderman stood down. Ditto on whether or not he still owns the company.

In any event, why no formal corporate management information exists on the Xtreme Green website is a mystery.

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


Business ToolBox Review: Multiplex Systems cycler scam #3

business-toolbox-logoBusiness ToolBox launched in the first quarter of 2014 and operates out of the US state of New York.

peter-wolfing-owner-of-multiplex-systemsThe company was launched under the umbrella of Multiplex Systems, which is owned by Peter Wolfing.

Wolfing (right) has a long history of launching short-lived matrix cycler recruitment-driven pyramid schemes.

Past examples of Wolfing’s schemes reviewed here on BehindMLM include Turbo Cycler (2012) and Ultimate Cycler (2014).

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


Robert Craddock’s sordid post Zeek Rewards conduct

zeekrewardsIn the aftermath of the Zeek Rewards Ponzi scheme, Robert Craddock (right) self-styled himself as a major player in hustling of disenfranchised investors into new reload schemes.

Craddock did this through his entity Fun Club USA. Initially the operation was used as a front to solicit funds from Zeek investors under the guise said funds would be put towards helping those who contributed keep their ill-gotten gains.

robert-craddockIn reality, Craddock (right) amassed an email list of those who had invested in Zeek Rewards and profited. Armed with this, he then approached several reload scams that closely modeled Zeek’s Ponzi points compensation plan.

Craddock’s offer saw him demand off-the-table reimbursement for promoting an opportunity to his Zeek Rewards investor list. Whether or not those who were on the list were ever aware of Craddock’s conduct is unclear.

Two of the companies Craddock approached were OfferHubb and Bids That Give (now BTG180). In both instances the questionable schemes have since turned on Craddock and filed legal action against him.

Today we take a look at the two respective cases Craddock is currently battling out in court. [Continue reading...]


Liberty Reserve Founder extradited to US

liberty-reserve-logoAgainst the backdrop of payment processors continuing to provide services to the MLM underbelly’s shadiest of schemes, the Liberty Reserve money laundering case continues.

Once describing itself as ‘the oldest, safest and most popular payment processor’, Liberty Reserve was shutdown in mid 2013 for money laundering.

Co-founder Vladmir Kats was the first to accept responsibility, having pled guilty to ‘money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business’ last November.

Kat’s partner and fellow Liberty Reserve co-founder, Arthur Budovsky Belanchuk, was arrested in Spain. His offices in Costa Rica were also raided.

US authorities have been working to extradite Budovsky, with the Department of Justice announcing the success of those efforts last Friday.

The founder of Liberty Reserve, a virtual currency used by cybercriminals around the world to launder proceeds of their illegal activity, was extradited from Spain and arrived in the United States this afternoon.

The Department of Justice also revealed additional information about Budovsky and his alleged criminal activities: [Continue reading...]


Changes Trading owner apologizes for payout delays

changes-worldwide-logoModeled on the failed Ponzi scheme Bids That Give, Changes Worldwide initially launched in late 2013 as a $25,000 revenue-sharing scheme.

For whatever reason, that didn’t last long and a few months after launch Changes Worldwide switched names to Changes Trading.

Whereas Changes Worldwide attached itself to an irrelevant dietary supplement, Changes Trading sought to hide behind a day-trading platform.

As per the Changes Trading website,

Changes Worldwide brings you a revolutionary breakthrough in the world of day trading: The Changes Trading System (CTS).

The Changes Trading System has a documented and verifiable track record of unmatched performance in trading futures contracts (commodities).

Our proprietary and proven system is unique and is found nowhere else in the world. It is designed for both the new, inexperience trader as well as the seasoned professional.

This color-coded system is simple and easy to understand. It gives you exact entrance and exit points. And, we provide an unparalleled level of personal help and training to each user of our extraordinary system.

If you have a desire to own your own life, working from the comfort of your home, on your computer, in an “ALL CASH” business, the Changes Trading System could be for you.

Built on the foundation of Changes Worldwide, it wasn’t long before Changes Trading too ran into problems.

I haven’t yet formally reviewed Changes Trading, but have read reports of affiliate commissions being withheld for some months.

With silence thus far from Changes Trading corporate and facing mounting criticism from his investors, CEO Timothy Baggett has finally addressed the issue. [Continue reading...]


Clar8ty Review: Nutrigenomics and recruitment

clar8ty-logoClar8ty launched in late 2013 and operate in the health and wellness MLM niche.

Operating out of the US state of California, Clar8ty was founded by Robin Hoffman Haack.

According to Haack’s Clar8ty bio,

Robin developed an interest in direct sales approximately 9 years ago, instantly recognizing the field’s potential for helping others succeed.

Soon after her introduction to a fast-growing direct sales company, she accepted the challenge of building her own part-time direct sales business — even though she lacked previous experience in the field.

Amazingly, she rose to a top-level position while still managing her corporate career. All the while, Robin dreamt of the day she would start her own direct sales company.

I’m not sure about nine years ago, but in 2010 Haack created a Facebook profile called “Robin Haack Arbonne Independent Consultant”.

arbonne-consultant-robin-haack-facebook-2012

When exactly Haack joined Arbonne is unclear but the last update on the profile wall was made in July 2012.

At the time of publication the Arbonne affiliate link cited in the profile no longer works, indicating Haack probably left Arbonne around the time of her last update.

By late 2012 Haack had joined Global One:

global-one-support-request-robin-hoffman-haack-facebook-2012

Initially intended to be a Zeek Rewards reload scam, Global One original business model saw them emulate Zeek Reward’s penny auction Ponzi scheme formula.

After the SEC shut down Zeek Rewards and revealed it to be an $850 million Ponzi scheme (only weeks after GlobalOne went into prelaunch), GlobalOne then announced they were abandoning their penny auction plans.

The company floundered for months before eventually fizzling out.

After Global One died Haack then got involved in Penny Matrix:

penny-matrix-support-question-robin-hoffman-haack-facebook-2012

Penny Matrix charged affiliates $7 a month to participate and paid them 30 cents an affiliate in recruitment commissions.

In 2013 Haack got involved in TeamVinh:

robin-haack-team-vinh-affiliate

TeamVinh is essentially a downline builder for its owner, Vinh H. Le.

With a focus on recruitment-driven schemes, affiliates join Team Vinh in the hope they will have their downlines built for them in schemes Le recommends they join.

Haack’s TeamVinh affiliate splash-page is still live, however whether or not she is still active in the company is unknown.

Read on for a full review of the Clar8ty MLM business opportunity. [Continue reading...]


What is Genesis Acquisitions International?

genesis-acquisitions-international-logoHad a request to look into something called Genesis Acquisitions International from a reader.

Doesn’t seem to a website available and there’s talk of investments, NDAs, real-estate in Kentucky, SEC compliance and all sorts of nonsense.

So, what’s Genesis Acquisitions International all about?

With publicly available details on the company being sketchy at best, here’s what I’ve been able to put together. [Continue reading...]


Crowd4x Review: Wealth4AllTeam attempt a forex Ponzi

crowd4x-logoThere is no information on the Crowd4x website indicating who owns or runs the business.

The Crowd4x website domain was registered on the 10th of March 2014, however the domain registration is set to private.

Crowd4x marketing videos on YouTube reveal a “Victor Ronzulli” speaking on behalf of the company:

victor-ranzuli-owner-admin-crowd4x

Ronzulli repeatedly refers to himself as “we” and explains why he “started Crowd4x”. For all intents and purposes, Ronzulli would appear to be the owner or an owner of Crowd4x.

Ronzulli is no stranger to the MLM industry, with research revealing his particitipation in a number of questionable schemes.

In June of 2014 Ronzulli was promoting EMSquared, which saw affiliates buy boxes of nutrition bars and get paid when they recruit others who do the same.

emsquared-promotion-victor-ranzulli-facebook

Around the same time Ronzulli was also promoting Brain Abundance, which he seems to have joined earlier in the year:

brain-abundance-promotion-victor-ranzulli-facebook

Brain Abundance saw affiliates market a brain pill, with a heavy focus on affiliate recruitment over retail sales.

In 2013 Ronzulli was heavily invested in marketing Rippln:

rippln-promotion-victor-ronzulli-twitter

Rippln was initially set to launch as a full-blown pyramid scheme, however talks with compliance lawyers saw the recruitment side of the business gutted before launch.

When Rippln eventually launched with a modified compensation plan, months of lackluster performance saw the opportunity die a painfully slow death.

2011 saw Ronzulli pushing AutoXTen:

autoxten-promotion-victor-ronzulli-twitter

AutoXTen was a recruitment-driven matrix scheme, that promised affiliates they could “legally” turn $10 into $199,240.

Details of Ronzulli’s involvement in MLM opportunities prior to AutoXTen are murky.

Looking at the information we do have though, there’s a noticeable gap between 2011 (AutoXTen) and 2013 (Rippln).

Both Ronzulli’s Facebook profile and Twitter have been scrubbed clean of any promotional activity during this period. So if you’re wondering what he was up to during this time, allow me to fill in the blanks.

Circa September 2012, a Skype chat log provides insight into what Ronzulli was up to during the missing years from his public timelines:

[22:11:47] Victor Ronzulli ~ Morpheus: Well, trust me, I know what you guys are going thru, I have been there, I lost over $97,000.00 in Zeek and have lost money before in other companies prior to that.

We are still here, we are trying to communicate as much as possible.

We are putting together another Awesome company, we are trying to see how to cash everyone fairly and also looking at the most infinetesimal posibility (sic) that we could salvage W4A,

Ronzulli was an investor in the $850 million dollar Ponzi scheme Zeek Rewards, and appears to have been one of the owners of Wealth4AllTeam.

Zeek Rewards is one of the largest MLM Ponzi schemes in history. It launched in early 2011 and was shut down by the SEC in mid 2012.

Wealth4AllTeam? Ugh… where to begin.

Wealth4AllTeam first popped up on my radar in May 2012. It was a simple enough 10 day Ponzi ROI scheme and didn’t last long.

Wealth4AllTeam’s next incarnation called PrimusHub, which sought to encapsulate a number of dodgy schemes under the one umbrella. Primus Social was one of those schemes, which had affiliates earn commissions for recruiting fee-paying affiliates into the Primus Hub social network platform.

That lasted about a month before Ronzulli and his fellow Wealth4AllTeam owners went back to their Ponzi roots. This time around (December 2012), Wealth4AllTeam was accepting $10 to $10,000 investments from affiliates on the promise of an advertised 1.6% daily ROI.

By March 2013 that scheme had also collapsed.

A month later in April, Wealth4AllTeam officially announced they were suspending ROI payouts till late 2013.

The last known incarnation of Wealth4AllTeam was the launch of AdRevWorld.

How long AdRevWorld lasted I can’t say, but today the website is no more.

Enter Crowd4x, seemingly the latest opportunity in a long-line of schemes where only the owners and their friends have profited.

Read on for a full review of the Crowd4x MLM business opportunity. [Continue reading...]


Ultimate Cycler Review: Peter Wolfing’s latest cycler scam

ultimate-cycler-logoUltimate Cycler launched in 2013 and on its website names Peter Wolfing as CEO.

In the footer of the Ultimate Cycler website a copyright claim by “Beyond Multiplex Systems” is present.

Peter Wolfing is the President and owner of Multiplex:

peter-wolfing-president-of-multiplex-systems-linkedin

peter-wolfing-owner-of-multiplex-systemsPrior to Ultimate Cycler, Wolfing (right) launched Turbo Cycler and Infinity Downline.

Turbo Cycler saw affiliates buy positions in matrices that cost $200, $500 and $1000.

Once enough new positions had been bought to fill a matrix, the affiliate at the top of the matrix “cycled” out and was paid a commission.

Infinity Downline was $25 to participate and saw affiliates gift their joining fees to the affiliate who recruited them. Payment of this $25 then also qualified them to recruit new affiliates who in turn would gift them their $25 joining fee.

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