Lyoness corporate webinar spells out Ponzi scheme
When I sat down to initially review Lyoness (the European version), I spent a few days trying to get my head around material that was obviously never written to be fully comprehended by your average MLM affiliate.
When Lyoness launched in the US, they sought to remedy this by releasing slightly less confusing business model material. Not as clear-cut as it could have been, but enough for me to suss it out and put out a Lyoness review.
In my review I identified the primary revenue source that had contributed to the initial success of Lyoness in Europe and their subsequent worldwide expansion.
An affiliate-funded investment scheme, where affiliates invest in “accounting units” and after a fixed number of new units have been invested in, Lyoness pay out affiliates a cash ROI.
All monies are deposited with and paid out by Lyoness, isolating the scheme from the merchant shopping network.
That of course doesn’t stop the company burying the scheme in mountains of “earn cashback by shopping” literature, which the companies affiliates are all too happy to run around the internet promoting.
With now over 1000+ comments on the BehindMLM review fleshing out the AU investment scheme (including the reluctant admission that it functions as a Ponzi scheme by some Lyoness affiliates), some affiliates still don’t see it, or probably more accurately, refuse to see it.
Despite the review citing the official Lyoness US compensation plan material itself, evidently there’s still a great deal of confusion amongst Lyoness affiliates as to what the business is actually about.
Evidently I’m not the only one to observe this, with Lyoness feeling the need to put together an official corporate webinar to lay out the compensation plan and business model in detail.
So here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth: The Lyoness Accounting Unit Investment Scheme.
Coming in at a gruelling 78 minutes (thankfully broken into four parts), the official corporate presentation is hosted by Rik Wahlrab (right), who credits himself as being a “Presidents Team Member” of Lyoness USA.
The first two parts of the presentation walk the viewer through the cashback scheme and generating units through this scheme. It’s not until the third part of the presentation that we get to the “meat” of the business.
Part 3 of the presentation opens with Wahlrab stating that
now we’re going to get into it, how to make money and what it’s all about.
Probably something most viewers will miss, Wahlrab is essentially admitting he just wasted the past thirty-four minutes of your life on the shopping network side of things.
Part 3 of the presentation gets stuck into becoming a Lyoness “Premium Member” and the commissions paid out to them. Wahlrab openly admits that ‘Premium Members make the most money‘, so obviously this is going to be the focal point of the presentation for prospective Lyoness affiliates.
So what is a Lyoness Premium Member?
A Lyoness Premium Member is someone who has either
- spent $30,000 within the Lyoness shopping network in a year
- spent $15,000 within the Lyoness shopping network and invested $1,500 directly with Lyoness or
- invested $3000 directly with Lyoness
Wahlrab states that option 3 is ‘really what we do‘ in order to become a Lyoness Premium Member, and financially is the cheapest way for a prospective affiliate to enter the accounting unit investment scheme.
Lyoness will let you send them up to three thousand dollars and you can get units in the system now.
Why would affiliates do that?
Two reasons both of which require a fixed number (75) of new investments to be made with Lyoness by affiliates, after the initial $3000 is one is made.
Once this condition is met, the first reason is that Lyoness pays out an affiliate $4,725 in “loyalty credit”.
In the above slide from the presentation, the blue squares represent units invested in directly by a Lyoness affiliate. The initial $3000 investment is broken down into six $75 accounting units, with each paying out an individual return once new investments have resulted in the creation of a fixed number of new accounting units after it.
This credit can then be spent with Lyoness merchants, or it can be re-invested back into Lyoness to generate more accounting units (taken from the Lyoness “Cashback Summary” document, page 2):
The Loyalty Credit can be paid as Cash or use as Accounting Units to grow additional income.
The second reason, and this is as blatant a Ponzi scheme as you can get, is that Lyoness will also pay you straight cash on top of the loyalty credit.
Referred to as “loyalty commission”, on a single $3000 Premium Member investment (6 x $75) Lyoness will pay you a $1386 cash ROI, once 70 new investments have been made after yours:
For those of you who are mathematically inclined, you’ve probably worked out that seven times $75 is only $525. Before we get into where the rest of the $3000 went, it’s important to drill home the point that an affiliate deposits $525 directly with Lyoness, and is paid $1386 in cash once a fixed number of new $75 investments have been made.
This equates to a 264% ROI. On top of this they also give you $4725 in credit, which can be re-invested back into the scheme to generate more accounting units.
And how do I qualify to earn my cash ROI?
Simple – I have to recruit at least one new
investor Lyoness affiliate who then also makes at least one $75 investment into the scheme:
Now, despite the answer being rather obvious, the question arises: “So where does this money come from?”
Lyoness would have you believe, as Wahlrab repeatedly claims throughout the presentation, that it comes from Lyoness’ participating shopping network merchants. The problem with this claim though is that it doesn’t add up.
As a Lyoness Premium Member (or regular affiliate who decides to invest in accounting units, after “buying” $300 in giftcards), I deposit money with Lyoness, recruit one new investor who invests in at least one $75 unit, wait till enough new investments have been made (70 in total), and get paid my cash and loyalty credit ROI.
If I re-invest my loyalty credit back into AUs, I bypass shopping merchants altogether.
All money is deposited by affiliates with Lyoness and all money is paid out to affiliates by Lyoness.
Logically, that means the money Lyoness is paying affiliates is being sourced from… wait for it, none other than affiliates.
You invest $75, once Lyoness has collected $5250 (70 * $75), they pay you and the scheme continues along as new money continues to be pumped into the scheme by affiliates.
Technically it can keep going on shopping generated units but, and let’s not kid ourselves, this is just a front for the investment scheme. The revenue generated by shopping, as per analysis of the Lyoness Income Disclosure Statement, is entirely negligible.
Wahlrab even go so far as to refer to gloss over the process with which units created via shopping as “yada, yada, yada” at one point in the presentation.
Now, getting back to the remaining $2475 Lyoness Premium Members invest? Well here’s where things get even more murky.
The $75 accounting unit investment scheme is only the tip of the iceberg, with Lyoness operating an additional four levels of accounting unit investment above it.
There are five in total (including the $75 level), offering ROIs on investments ranging between $75 up to $24,000:
The gold box in the above screenshot shows you where the rest of the $2475 of Lyoness Premium Member investments go, that being into what they call the ACII ($225) and ACIII ($600) investment schemes.
Oh and note the red circles I’ve added, they are the cash ROIs paid out at each level, once an affiliates investment reaches maturity (subject to a fixed number of new investments being made).
Note that Lyoness don’t initially allow affiliate to directly invest in the upper two AC levels:
They don’t let us make downpayments into those last two accounting programs, at least in the beginning.
Because then Lyoness would only be for rich people, right?
For $3000, Lyoness Premium Members get seven $75 units, three $225 units and three $600 units:
Rik Wahlrab strongly urges viewers of the Lyoness corporate presentation to get in at the $3000 Premium Members level, but for those who don’t have $3000 he still urges them “get started at whatever amount you can”.
A $1050 amount is recommended, allowing a Lyoness affiliate to invest in three $75 units and one $225 and $600 unit.
If you do that at least you’ve got units here and here (ACII and ACIII), and you’re not fully missing out.
I would recommend that if you can’t do three thousand, at least do a thousand fifty… or something beyond that so you’ve got units in ACII and ACIII.
What do you get paid back for your $1350 (four additional $75 units over $1050)?
$12,360. That’s awesome.
Supposedly justifying the blatant affiliate-funded Ponzi scheme Lyoness are running above is the requirement to purchase $600 in giftcards with every $3000
How that negates Lyoness’ accounting unit investment scheme from being an unregistered security I have no idea, but that’s the premise they sell to prospective affiliates.
Just to ram the point home, you invest $3000 as a Lyoness Premium Member, spend $600 on giftcards, and Lyoness pay you a $9108 (303%) ROI once seventy $75 investments, 60 $225 investments and fifty $600 investments have been made after each of your units respectively.
So $600 worth of giftcards will allow you to make a $3000 downpayment, now you’re fully covered and look what you get back – twenty four thousand eight hundred and fifty eight dollars for your one-time three thousand dollars.
Finally, whacked on top of all this is a progressive cash ROI paid out incrementally as new investments are made:
As per the above table, one single $75 accounting unit can progress (paying out the affiliate who invested in it), incrementally all the way from ACI to ACV.
You can imagine that you’ve got units that are gunna move through the system. Maybe it takes a few years to move all the way through, you know, depending on how many people are connected to you but so what, right?
This is what it eventually pays out. It just keeps going and going and going, based on other people simply
shopping andcreating units.
Rik Wahlrab states in the Presentation that ‘he was the first “level 7” in North America’. What does that entail? At least 20,000 “career points” being generated via the creation of accounting units following Wahlrab joining Lyoness.
For his efforts, as a Level 7 Lyoness affiliate Wahlrab takes home an additional $30,000 a month on top of any ROIs paid out as a result of his participation in the accounting unit investment scheme.
Sign up as a Lyoness affiliate, invest your $3000, wait for 20,000 career points to be generated via the creation of accounting units after your own (you can help create them by re-investing), and you too can reach the level of success Wahlrab has achieved within the Lyoness investment scheme.
Wahrab goes on to predict that
there are going to be thousands of people making Presidents Team, Level 7 and Level 8, in the United States. Thousands, many thousands.
Who’s it going to be?
It’s going to be those that get started now isn’t it. It’s those of us who get started now and start sharing Lyoness.
The people who get started now, the people who get started early when it’s very small – they’re kind of pioneers. But on the other hand, they’re going to benefit for ever and ever and ever and ever.
…and if you don’t do it, someone else will.
Footnote: Credit to the “Complaint Center Lyoness” blog for making public footage of the Rik Wahlrab’s Lyoness corporate webinar.
I’ve included the footage from the relevant parts quoted in this article (parts 3 and 4) below: