Empower Network affiliate jailed for fraud
“Results not typical”.
For a number of years this disclaimer has been plastered on Empower Network marketing material.
Rather than serve as an actual disclaimer though, instead it’s used as a liability waiver. Or at least that’s the intention.
And it’s not just rogue affiliates doing it either, Empower Network corporate mandate the disclaimer be used:
It’s okay to make income claims as long as they are true and properly disclaimed.
A step in the right direction is proper disclosures. We need to advise consumers and prospects of the average earnings of our affiliates.
A statement like, “Results Not Typical. For average earnings, click HERE” (with an active link to the Empower Network Income Disclosure Statement).
So basically as long as you do the above, you can pretty much publish whatever you want.
Lee McKenna seems to have signed up with Empower Network in early 2014. Prior to that he was hocking digital product on ClickBank.
Perusal of McKenna’s Empower Network blog reveals an initial post made in July 2014. Most of the recent content on the blog is SEO spam focused on Downton Abbey keyword stuffing.
Downton Abbey is a relatively well-known British drama series.
As part of his offsite marketing efforts for Empower Network, McKenna was involved in Vick Strizheus’ Big Idea Mastermind.
Basically a marketing course that teaches you to fake it till you make it.
And so fake it till he made it McKenna did, which eventually attracted the attention not of Empower Network’s compliance department, but rather authorities in the UK.
A fraudster who convinced his victims he was an ‘internet millionaire’ using films he made in sprawling mansions and expensive cars was actually running a scam from a terraced house in Middlesbrough.
Lee McKenna promised that for a £2,000 sign-up fee, his followers would earn up to £1,000 a day using the tips in his promotional videos.
Teesside Crown Court heard McKenna posted videos of private jets and foreign villas and boasted of an extensive property portfolio to convince his victims that he was a high-flying businessman.
He even visited a large property which was for sale and asked to film a video tour ‘to show his fiancee’.
He then passed the house off as his own and even returned when the occupants were out to photograph himself on the driveway with a Bentley.
McKenna – described as ‘aggressive, arrogant and unhelpful’ by prosecutor Joanne Kidd – promised to pass on techniques explaining how to set up a website to exploit social network marketing.
But the results never materialised and instead he tried to pressure customers into spending even more money on other ventures such as ‘Yournetbiz’, ‘Substantial Success’, the ‘Empower Network’ and ‘BigIdea Mastermind’.
Perusal of McKenna’s Facebook profile suggests a large amount of content may have been removed, with the last text post made on the 3rd of February, 2014:
Is Lee McKenna a scammer? I think NOT.
Always remember haters have a job to do. I get that and I’ve accepted it. But remember the words that come out from the haters online are not always true. In fact 99% of the time its all lies and BS.
Question for you… Do you want to listen to a hater who hasn’t got a penny to scratch his/her own arse with or do you want to listen to me? Someone who makes £20,000+ a month online? You decide.
Join my team here: (removed)
P.S. And always remember. If your not getting hated on your not doing your job right.
I LOVE being hated on because it shows that your successful.
In a video accompanying the post, McKenna refers to himself as “a godsend to most people”.
Lee McKenna ScamIs Lee McKenna a scammer? I think NOT. — Always remember haters have a job to do. I get that and I’ve accepted it. But remember the words that come out from the haters online are not always true. In fact 99% of the time its all lies and BS. Question for you… Do you want to listen to a hater who hasn’t got a penny to scratch his/her own arse with or do you want to listen to me? Someone who makes £20,000+ a month online? You decide. Join my team here: http://www.JoinLeeMcKenna.com. — P.S. And always remember. If your not getting hated on your not doing your job right. I LOVE being hated on because it shows that your successful 😉
Posted by Lee McKenna on Monday, 3 February 2014
As to McKenna’s “£20,000+ a month online success”…
Despite owing thousands, Recorder Dodd could not make an order for compensation for McKenna’s victims after finding he ‘does not have the finances’.
Victims who bought into McKenna’s deception meanwhile have lost thousands:
The fraudster was investigated by Middlesbrough Council and the national group Scambusters, whose investigation found three former customers of McKenna were owed more than £6,000.
One woman initially bought a product online for £5 – but then began to get emails from McKenna, promising she would make £20,000 if she paid £2,000 into his scheme.
The woman said she had little money, but he convinced her that she would make that money back within days.
She was told she was a ‘quitter’ when she questioned McKenna’s outlandish claims.
Another man was swindled out of £2,000 when he was ‘bombarded’ with texts, phone calls and emails.
Recorder Sarah Dodd said McKenna’s pre-sentence report showed that he ‘had very little remorse’ for his victims.
Appearing in court last month on five charges of fraud and three additional charges, McKenna plead guilty.
Yesterday he was handed down a two year jail sentence.
Speaking after the case, Middlesbrough Council principal trading standards officer Jim McCluskey explained: ‘This business was a classic pyramid scheme which purported to be a unique business opportunity.
‘The schemes usually work by offering a low price or free product, which is often described as a training or motivational video, on a selling or social network site.
‘This is known as the ‘capture page’ or ‘squeeze page’, as the purpose is to build an email list of potential victims.
‘Those victims are then bombarded with emails with promises of untold wealth by access to niche products to market or unique internet marketing opportunities for those who sign up for a further much larger fee.’
Robert Mochrie, defending, said: ‘He has tried to get rich quick and failed quite spectacularly.
Curiously, McKenna’s Empower Network affiliate links (“1000perday”) still appear to be active. For reasons unknown, Empower Network’s compliance department appear oblivious to his fraudulent marketing efforts.
Either that or so long as the “results weren’t typical”, turned a blind eye.