Real Rise Academy operates in the forex training MLM niche.

The company was founded in 2021 by CEO Raphael Vargas.

One of the first things I came across in researching Vargas is this unbelievably cringe sob story.

If you don’t want to risk that click (I don’t blame you), here’s a taste;

Showing up to a party that was shortly after busted by the police turned out to be a life-threatening day for him.

As he was leaving the party, 3 men started to approach him, which caused him to turn around and go back into the party.

Little did Raphael know the owner of the house was a gang member as well. Raphael was jumped by multiple gang members, getting hit with bats, brass knuckles, and getting his face broken from the impact.

Scarily enough, it didn’t end there. He was then cornered in a room filled with 10 to 15 guys holding guns, bats, and other weapons, telling him, “you’re not going anywhere.”

As they started to approach Raphael, he knew that was it. At the age of 18, he was going to see his life end right before his eyes.

By the grace of God, it just so happened, there was a window by his feet that for some odd reason led to the basement of the house.

Raphael quickly broke the window and fell through into the basement, where he would find his way out of the house and make it to the hospital, where he spent 2 days getting patched up.

Police show up and shut a party down. As Vargas is leaving fifteen armed gang members “corner” him in a room.

Vargas hits pause, jumps through a window and lands in the basement. Fifteen scary armed gang members do nothing and Vargas escapes. Oh and the police disappeared too.

Something something god, real-estate and then Vargas makes $1 million by 24.

And the best part is Vargas wrote that spiel himself.

Anyway, Vargas does seem to have made a career for himself in real-estate. Soon enough though he turned it into a business opportunity.

Through faith, prayer, and an insane work ethic, Raphael became a Multi-Millionaire in his early 20’s and knew he could help others do the same.

Soon came 2019, where he would start teaching over 1,300 investors and become recognized by Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies for Real Estate Investment Education.

Turning countless students into millionaires, he would run into yet another roadblock.

With every good entrepreneurial story comes inevitable obstacles. Another bad partnership pushed Raphael out of the real estate education business and caused him to rethink what it was that he wanted to do next after making his fortune.

To hear Vargas tell it, after his real-estate business fell apart he got into shilling ecommerce automation.

I found marketing though suggesting Vargas started his ecommerce training business in “late 2018”:

In any event, that didn’t last long and by early 2019 Vargas was back to his real-estate origins.

This time it was Real Empire, operated through parent company Real Advisors.

That lasted until March 24th, 2020;

One year ago, Real Advisors set out to create and launch a program to help active real estate investors grow and scale their wholesaling businesses through REAL, proven actionable training that would yield REAL results.

Shortly after Real Advisors signed Raphael Vargas as our newest expert, and Real Empire was born.

We launched the Real Empire brand in early 2019, which was a huge hit for our company and we changed a lot of lives through our collective efforts.

We are announcing today that the Real Empire brand has determined it necessary to commence the process of winding down the brand and consolidate all business operations under its parent company and publisher, Real Advisors, who will continue to fulfill all previously purchased training events, products and services…

For those currently enrolled in our Real Advisors coaching program, we have made changes to improve the program, and those changes go into effect today, starting with the updated daily coaching schedule, taught by REAL active real estate investors/coaches…

The subtle dig at the end suggests it wasn’t an amicable split.

After Real Empire Vargas claims he rode the ecommerce COVID-19 wave, after which he got into forex.

Deciding to get into e-commerce such as Shopify and Amazon, Raphael quickly saw massive successes once again.

Not knowing that Covid-19 was coming, it did everything but hurt his business.

He says, “When covid came, E-commerce blew up. I had no idea that covid was coming. All I knew is that God told me to do it. We literally did over $10,000,000 in 7 months.”

If there’s one thing Raphael knows how to do, it’s how to be a success in anything that you do with no exceptions. Never falling short of building more financial freedom, he took a portion of his profits to invest in Forex.

He stated, “I gave my Forex fund manager $300,000, and he turned it into $1,200,000 in 4 months.

So we raised a bunch of capital, and I put more money in myself. Now we have a multi-million dollar forex fund.”

Now Raphael is giving back once again with his all-new mastermind group giving away all of his knowledge on forex, real estate, marketing, and e-commerce.

That saw Vargas launch Ace Equity Pros circa mid 2020 (just after Real Empire collapsed).

By early 2021 Vargas was back to shilling real-estate, which Stephen Cornelia pegged as mortgage fraud.

A few months after that expose, Real Rise Academy was launched.

Read on for a full review of Real Rise Academy’s MLM opportunity.

Real Rise Academy’s Products

Real Rise Academy sell a membership subscription for $197 a month.

Real Rise Academy membership provides access to

  • in-depth courses
  • live trading and…
  • more in-depth courses

Unlock the power of learning step-by-step from real successful expert traders. Imagine having someone who is in the top 1% of traders walk you through your trades to make sure you’re making the right moves.

That’s why we partnered with some incredi-bly successful people that are ready to help you level up and get REAL results!

Real Rise Academy claims it teaches a “unique trading style”. No further specific information is provided.

Real Rise Academy’s Compensation Plan

Real Rise Academy’s compensation plan pays on the sale of membership subscriptions.

There’s no distinction between sales to retail customers and recruited affiliates.

Real Rise Academy Affiliate Ranks

There are fourteen affiliate ranks within Real Rise Academy’s compensation plan.

Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:

  • VP150 – generate a downline of 3 members, capped 2/1 across your unilevel team, and at least 591 GV a month
  • VP500 – generate a downline of 10 members, capped 6/3/1 across your unilevel team and at least 1970 GV a month
  • VP1000 – generate a downline of 25 members, capped 15/8/3 across your unilevel team and at least 4925 GV a month
  • VP2000 – generate a downline of 70 members, capped 42/21/7 across your unilevel team and at least 13,800 GV a month
  • VP5000 – generate a downline of 210 members, capped 126/63/21 across your unilevel team and at least 41,400 GV a month
  • Exec10 – generate a downline of 450 members, capped 270/135/45 across your unilevel team and at least 88,600 GV a month
  • Exec25 – generate a downline of 1200 members, capped 1200/630/210 across your unilevel team and at least 236,000 GV a month
  • Exec50 – generate a downline of 2100 members, capped 2700/1300/450 across your unilevel team and at least 413,000 GV a month
  • Exec100 – generate a downline of 4500 members, capped 2700/1300/450 across your unilevel team and at least 886,000 GV a month
  • Exec250 – generate a downline of 12,500 members, capped 7500/3700/1200 across your unilevel team and at least 2,400,000 GV a month
  • Founder500 – generate a downline of 25,000 members, capped 15,000/7500/2500 across your unilevel team and at least 4,900,000 GV a month
  • Founder750 – generate a downline of 37,500 members, capped 22,500/11,200/3700 across your unilevel team and at least 7,400,000 GV a month
  • Found 1MM – generate a downline of 50,000 members, capped 30,000/15,000/15,000 across your unilevel team and at least 9,800,000 GV a month

A unilevel compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of a unilevel team, with every personally recruited affiliate placed directly under them (level 1):

If any level 1 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 2 of the original affiliate’s unilevel team.

If any level 2 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 3 and so on and so forth down a theoretical infinite number of levels.

Placement specification is due to a 60%/30%/10% max per leg rule. I.e. up to 60% of your members can come from any one unilevel team leg, 30% from another and 10% from a third.

Members are required to be “qualified” to count towards rank qualification. This isn’t clarified but is assumed to require members to have an active Real Rise Academy subscription.

The term “member” itself also isn’t defined. I’m assuming it counts both retail customers and recruited affiliates.

GV stands for “Group Volume”. Group Volume is sales volume generated via the sale of Real Rise Academy subscriptions to retail customers and affiliates.

Retail and Recruitment Commissions

Real Rise Academy pays a $50 commission per retail customer referral or affiliate recruited.

A residual commission is also paid out to the first upline VP-500 and VP-1000:

  • first upline VP-500 receives $25
  • first upline VP-1000 receives $10

Residual Commissions

Real Rise Academy pays residual commissions based on rank:

  1. VP150s earn $150 a month
  2. VP500s earn $500 a month
  3. VP1000s earn $1000 a month
  4. VP2000s earn $2000 a month
  5. VP5000s earn $5000 a month
  6. Exec10s earn $10,000 a month
  7. Exec25s earn $25,000 a month
  8. Exec50s earn $50,000 a month
  9. Exec100s earn $100,000 a month
  10. Exec250s earn $250,000 a month
  11. Founder500s earn $500,000 a month
  12. Founder750s earn $750,000 a month
  13. FounderMMs earn $1,000,000 a month

Rank Achievement Bonus

Real Rise Academy rewards affiliates for qualifying at VP-1000 to Exec10 with the following one-time Rank Achievement Bonuses:

  • qualify at VP1000 and receive $1000
  • qualify at VP2000 and receive $2000
  • qualify at VP5000 and receive $5000
  • qualify at VP10000 and receive $10,000, paid out of over two months

Note that VP10000 rank qualification criteria is not provided. 

I’m not sure if this is an error on Real Rise Academy’s part.

Monthly Gap Bonus

Exec10 to Exec250 ranked affiliates qualify for the Monthly Gap Bonus.

The Monthly Gap Bonus pays on additional GV, above the current rank minimum monthly requirement.

E.g. Exec25 requires 236,000 GV a month. Exec50 requires 413,000 GV a month.

Any GV between 236,001 and 412,999 is used to calculate an Exec25’s Monthly Gap Bonus.

If the Exec25 affiliate made 280,000 GV that month, they’d receive a percentage on the additional 44,000 GV they qualified with (280,000 – 236,000).

  • Exec10s and Exec25s receive a 4% Monthly Gap Bonus rate
  • Exec50s receive a 3% Monthly Gap Bonus rate
  • Exec100s receive a 2% Monthly Gap Bonus rate
  • Exec250s receive a 1.5% Monthly Gap Bonus rate

Joining Real Rise Academy

Real Rise Academy affiliate membership costs $296 and then $216 a month.

There is a “I agree to Customer Package” toggle when signing up as a Real Rise Academy affiliate. This suggests it might be possible to sign up without the $197 membership fee.

If that’s the case then I suspect the sale of a membership is required to be counted “qualified” for commissions.

This is not clarified on Real Rise Academy’s website or in their marketing presentations.

Real Rise Academy Conclusion

Real Rise Academy’s legitimacy rests on the ratio of retail customers it has, against how many memberships are held by affiliates.

Real Rise Academy offers retail customers free membership if they recruit and maintain two active retail customers themselves.

For affiliates though there’s no incentive to focus on retail. Free membership is available on the sale of five memberships, irrespective of whether those are made to retail customers or affiliates.

From a retail customer perspective, I go onto Real Rise Academy’s website and get a vague forex training pitch.

“Unique trading style”, top 1% of traders, 8-figure earners… nothing specific. And that’s not good enough.

This is for the individuals that are serious about building a more meaningful life and investing in their financial education.

You will be equipped with the knowledge, guidance, and develop the skillsets to be in control of your financial success.

Real Rise Academy failing to provide any evidence of its claims is a potential violation of the FTC Act (disclosures and deceptive marketing).

But back to being a retail customer. We know they themselves aren’t providing any of the marketed services because they admit it on their website.

That’s why we partnered with some incredi-bly successful people that are ready to help you level up and get REAL results!

Raphael Vargas claims he started forex with a manager. Maybe he learned a thing or too along the way?

Wanting to suss things out, you look up Vargas and find this:

But Oz, that’s just one post. Yeah it is. If you want to get sucker punched with pages and pages of douchebaggery, go look up Vargas yourself.

One can still be a poncy douchebag and trade forex though. I did try to verify whether Vargas has a forex past and couldn’t.

Whoever is providing the forex service Real Rise Academy is attached to isn’t disclosed. And again, not providing consumers with basic information is a violation of the FTC Act.

Even more so if you’re throwing purported riches in their face to sell your opportunity.

This brings me to a particularly interesting angel investor post from presumably sometime in 2021;

On Instagram he cites himself as “god’s fav billionaire (otw)”. Elsewhere’s he’s cited as an “8 figures entrepreneur”:

That’s eight figures, as in tens of millions of dollars.

In an October 2021 Real Rise Academy webinar, Vargas explicitly stated he’s

actually multi 8 figure, it’s weird to say this… I’m a thirty-year old entrepreneur. I’ve been an entrepreneur now for ten years. I’ve made tens of millions of dollars in my career.

So why then was Real Rise Academy begging investors for $3 million?

If we buy into Vargas “I gave $300,000 to my fund manager and four months later had $1.2 million” story, if he gave the fund manager that $1.4 million, in another 4 months he’d have over $3 million.

Something isn’t adding up here.

As a potential retail customer, if for some reason you think forex training from persons unknown is going to make you rich, ask for evidence.

Again in violation of the FTC Act, Real Rise Academy fails to provide any evidence or statistics pertaining to its subscribers.

At a minimum, Real Rise Academy should be able to provide audited results of traders generating the wealth it represents is possible.

I’m sure there’s plenty of people who’ve made money promoting Real Rise Academy – but we’re specifically talking about the forex side of the business.

I’m confident these people don’t exist, because Real Rise Academy is modeled on IM Mastery Academy.

Scroll up and have a look at that “begging for money from investors” screenshot again;

Our biggest Competitor has over 400,000 Active members because of their Network Marketing Backround [sic]. And Doing roughly $80MM a Month in reoccurring revenue.

We will have over 100k active members by the end of 2022.

At some point Vargas has seen IM Mastery Academy, and gone “I want that”. That’s all Real Rise Academy is.

Vargas only discloses who’s behind Real Rise Academy’s “forex education” on live calls:


Update 14th June 2022 – Donna Marie has been in touch to advise she severed ties with Vargas and Real Rise Academy in 2021.

Despite this, and a subsequent cease and desist, Vargas and Real Rise Academy continue to use Donna’s name and likeness in their marketing materials.

For reference, the above Real Rise Academy executive marketing slide is in Real Rise Academy’s official marketing presentation. It was accessed as part of my research into this review in June 2022, eight months after Donna cut ties. /end update


Archie Rice is credited as Real Rise Academy’s “head forex trader”.

Rice is a former IM Master Academy promoter.

In a February 2020 interview, Rice claims he got into forex trading in 2018. Shortly after he signed up as an IML distributor.

I first signed up at the uh … house events or whatever? You know?

Me and my homeboys went there. We’re doing penny stocks at first, when I came across trading. So we tried IML, and I would say I was definitely convinced that they were … the people that were going to be the saviours of financial freedom.

What I did come to find out about two weeks, it was very very short … that there wasn’t much in the quote unquote academy.

I think they talked more about forex rather than how to make money in forex.

Cancelled my subscription, it was over after that.

That interview was for Blue Capital Academy, some other forex opp that doesn’t exist anymore.

Rice goes on to claim he learned forex from “private classes”. At the time of the Blue Capital Academy interview, Rice was running GoLongFX Academy.

GoLongFX Academy was a forex training subscription company. It too doesn’t exist anymore.

On forex training MLM opportunities like IM Mastery Academy and Real Rise Academy, Rice had this to say;

[10:50] I’ve got some DMs from (IM’s) higher up Chairmans … bringing in nice residual income.

Now that they’ve built the residual, now they actually want to learn trading.

I said that to kinda just say that you can’t do both at one time. You gotta pick and choose one and one, and then go back to the other.

Real Rise Academy being modelled on IM Mastery Academy brings with it the same problems it has, namely that it’s a pyramid scheme with little to no retail activity taking place.

And not a single documented or audited case of anyone making significant wealth through IM Mastery Academy’s forex training.

Real Rise Academy likely operating as a pyramid scheme brings me to Raphael Vargas’ latest Instagram post;

That’s Peter Jensen, who certainly didn’t “leave retirement”to join Real Rise Academy.

Jensen made a name for himself in MLM as a top promoter of the YTB pyramid scheme.

In 2008 the company was sued by California Attorney General Jerry Brown.

An out-of-court settlement required changes to the company’s business model, and generated a decrease in membership attributed to bad publicity.

Jensen left YTB in 2009 and went on to launch AMA Nation in mid 2010.

A year later in 2011, AMA stole their affiliate’s customers and shut down their MLM operations.

A year in 2012, Jensen pled guilty to tax evasion. In 2013 he was fined $2.1 million and sentenced to 31 months in prison.

Jensen didn’t serve the entire sentence. He was released early and, in mid 2014, launched RE247365.

RE247365 was a real-estate themed membership pyramid scheme (go figure).

By the end of 2014 RE247365 had collapsed. Rather than just admit he was running a pyramid scheme, Jensen came up with sob story alleging frozen funds and fraud.

Jensen’s next MLM gig was Master Distributor for Direct Cellars in 2016. That lasted until Direct Cellar’s collapse in 2019.

As Direct Cellars was collapsing, Jensen signed on as a “spokesperson/consultant” for isXperia in late 2018.

Jensen’s LinkedIn has him in that role until November 2021, after which we have Real Rise Academy.

Both Direct Cellars and isXperia have monthly membership business models. There’s a definite theme to the type of MLM opportunities Jensen gets involved in.

The last thing I want touch on is Real Rise Academy’s refund policy:

Real Rise Academy products and services are educational products that include digital and online interactive training content for analyzing, learning & discussing general and generic information related to investments and strategies.

We Guarantee Your Satisfaction. The best just got better! Though it’s very rare but if for any reason you are not satisfied with your purchase we want to know about it. We stand behind our products 100%.

We guarantee the quality on everything we sell. If you think something doesn’t match up to our description of it, return the unused portion for a 100% refund or exchange, the original shipping & handling charges are non-refundable.

The offer is void if product is more than 50% used.

As far as I know, Real Rise Academy don’t sell any physical products – meaning this is a copy+paste job from somewhere.

The long and the short of it?

If someone approaches you about Real Rise Academy and can’t provide you evidence of consistent cash-flow through forex trading, you’re being pitched on a pyramid scheme.


Update 22nd September 2022 – Peter Jensen appears to have already moved on to ResClub.