TelexFree US investigation linked to WCM777
As first reported by Patrick Pretty, the US state of Massachusetts Securities Division has confirmed they are investigating TelexFree. A US investigation was first announced by Brazilian Public Prosecutor Alessandra Marques back in January, with TelexFree denying there was an investigation taking place at the time.
Since Patrick Pretty’s initial announcement at least two independent media outlets have gone on to confirm the existence of a US regulatory investigation into TelexFree, with one of them reporting the case is linked to the cease and desist issued to the WCM777 Ponzi scheme last November.
The Milford Daily News writes,
Secretary of State William Galvin’s office is investigating a Marlborough-based telephone marketing company that has already been banned in Brazil for running a pyramid scheme.
The inquiry stemmed from the office’s investigation into a similar company that was accused of targeting Brazilian immigrants in Massachusetts with a multi-marketing scam, said Brian McNiff, a spokesman for Galvin.
The model is similar to a system utilized by a company called WCM777, which offered buy-in packages that would make the purchaser eligible for various referral bonuses and commissions, according to Galvin’s office.
The current status of the scheme is unknown, with the Global Unity website currently in limbo. Unconfirmed information from various sources suggest WCM777 co-founder Tiger Liu fled the US with $50 million after Massachusetts and California issued the scheme with cease and desists.
In addition to the Milford Daily News, Brazilian media outlet iG has also independently confirmed the existence of a US investigation into TelexFree. Reporter Vitor Sorano writes,
The headquarters of the Telexfree in Massachusetts, United States, is under investigation by the local government. The state is pointed to as the axis from which the business is operated.
The US investigation is being conducted by the Office of the Secretary of State of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, William F. Galvin. The office has the power to suspend (TelexFree’s) business activities in the State.
The American investigations are underway since at least March 2013, according to the report it was found, but were being kept under wraps.
Mcniff confirmed the existence of an investigation into the company, but did not comment when it began or if someone from the company will be heard.
“We have a policy of not commenting on ongoing cases,” he said. “Any action that is taken here is brought to the attention of other jurisdictions [State and federal governments],” he said, about the possible impact of investigations in Massachusetts.
The mention of “someone from the company being heard” by iG refers to the issuing of subpoenas to individuals connected with TelexFree, commanding they appear before the Massachusetts Securities Division today at 10am and 2pm.
Local time in Massachusetts at the time of publication is 8pm, but as of yet no information has surfaces indicating how the SEC summons went.
Despite confirmation from three independent sources now all quoting Galvin’s Office, there are still TelexFree affiliates in denial about the investigation. In a comment left only a few hours ago on BehindMLM, a TelexFree affiliate claimed the investigation was a “rumour”, and that those reporting on it had some sort of “personal agenda”.
This despite co-founder Carlos Wanzeler himself confirming in a “private conversation” last weekend that the SEC had first requested documents from TelexFree back in April 2013. When asked about the SEC investigation, Wanzeler told TelexFree affiliates that he “had no concern”.
Steve Labriola, TelexFree’s International Marketing Director, denied the existence of a US regulatory investigation last month but promised affiliates ‘if there’s something going on we’ll let you know.‘
To date neither Labriola or TelexFree have issued any official statement acknowledging or explaining the SEC investigation and what it could mean for the company to their affiliates.
Stay tuned for any further updates on the SEC summons today as the information surfaces…