MoneyMakerGroup and TalkGold owners accused of wire fraud
Brothers Edward and Brian Krassenstein owned the MoneyMakerGroup and TalkGold internet forums.
Easily the two largest publicly accessible Ponzi promotion platforms on the internet, both MoneyMakerGroup and TalkGold were pulled offline last month without explanation.
Today BehindMLM can exclusively reveal that, in relation to their operation of both forums, the DOJ has accused the Krassenstein brothers of wire fraud.
The MoneyMakerGroup and TalkGold forums went offline within minutes on or around August 22nd.
On August 21st the DOJ filed an asset forfeiture case that reveals wire fraud accusations against the Krassenstein brothers.
Since at least 2003, Brian and Edward Krassenstein … have owned and operated websites devoted to the promotion of fraudulent HYIPs.
In particular, the Krassenstein-run sites “talkgold.com” and “moneymakergroup.com” are discussion forums in which HYIP operators advertise and promote their fraud schemes to potential victims.
“HYIP” stands for “high yield investment program” and is synonymous with Ponzi fraud.
The DOJ define a HYIP as
a form of investment fraud similar to a Ponzi scheme, pyramid scheme, or multi-level marketing scheme.
BehindMLM has reviewed hundreds of such illegal scams promoted on MoneyMakerGroup and TalkGold over the years.
Over the 13 years of these site’s existence, they have generated tens of thousands of complaints by victims of fraudulent HYIPs.
Based on this fact, along with other facts … there is reasonable cause to believe that the Krassensteins would have known that the HYIPs being promoted on their sites were fraudulent.
The DOJ also believe the Krassenstein brothers “partnered” with operators of the scams promoted on MoneyMakerGroup and TalkGold, which in turn makes them liable for wire fraud.
Brian and Edward Krassenstein have derived substantial revenues from their HYIP-related websites.
This revenue primarily takes the form of “advertising fees” paid by HYIP operators in exchange for promotion on the sites.
These payments from HYIP operators to the Krassensteins are the proceeds of wire fraud.
Given the duration and depth of the Krassensteins’ involvement in the world of HYIPs, there is reasonable cause to believe that the Krassensteins would have known that these funds were criminally derived.
The DOJ allege the Krassenstein brothers operate the “admin” account on both TalkGold and MoneyMakerGroup. Through the TalkGold admin account, the Krassenstein brothers are accused of making “roughly 19,000 posts”.
The DOJ allege this shows the Krassenstein brothers were “highly active in the day-to-day operation of the” forums. Not only that, but the Krassenstein brothers also operated multiple “HYIP monitor” sites.
These are sites that monitor whether a scam is still paying or not. Those that use them primarily rely on reports to gauge whether listed scams are or are about to collapse.
On one such monitoring site run by the Krassensteins, Web-Life, the Krassensteins claimed
We monitor programs based on investments that we have in programs, inside info that we receive from Web Life members, admin updates and general opinion from around all the HYIP forums.
If you believe that a program is not rated correctly or is listed as paying and in your opinion is not, please PM edward [Edward Krassenstein] on the forum and advise of the details and if necessary the rating will be promptly changed.
Through Web-Life, the Krassenstein brothers claimed they ran “the ONLY safelist for HYIP”.
The Krassensteins’ various HYIP-related websites overlapped extensively in their functionality.
For example talkgold.com and moneymakergroup.com served substantially identical functions, and goldrater.com and web-life.org served substantially identicial functions.
To the casual visitor, it would have appeared that these sites were being operated independently from one another.
The Krassensteins’ network of apparently unrelated HYIP sites promoted the appearance of a thriving HYIP “industry” with numerous independent players.
In reality, however, the apparent community of HYIP sites was the product of a concerted effort by the Krassensteins, designed to ensure a continuous supply of new HYIP fraud victims and the continued enrichment of Brian Krassenstein, Edward Krassenstein and their coconsipirators.
The DOJ claim that, based on their heavy involvement in the HYIP industry, Brian and Edward ‘would have known that virtually, if not all, HYIPs are fraud schemes and not legitimate investment vehicles.
The asset forfeiture the DOJ’s case against the Krassenstein brothers is revealed in, pertains to a Cape Coral property purchased by the Krassensteins in July, 2009.
The Krassensteins tried to sell off the property in November, however authorities seized the $524,390 sale amount.
the DOJ claim the sale proceeds were traceable to the Krassensteins’ HYIP wire fraud activities.
Because the property was purchased with wire fraud proceeds, the property, and the proceeds obtained from the sale of the property are subject to civil forfeiture.
Unfortunately as at the time of publication the DOJ’s case is not publicly available, which means I can’t directly track it. I suspect this is because it was filed and is still currently under seal.
What we do know is that Edward and Brian Krassenstein consented to forfeiture of $450,000 of the $524,390.32 the Fort Myers property sold for. That means they’re likely cooperating with authorities.
Whether that will extend to a plea deal if a criminal case is filed however remains to be seen.
Looking at the bigger picture, the shut down of the Krassensteins’ online Ponzi promotion empire is a major coup for US authorities.
As I write this no sizable competitors have risen in place of either forum, although it is arguable that MoneyMakerGroup and TalkGold were in decline prior to the shut down.
Much of HYIP promotion, at least as far as the MLM underbelly scamming BehindMLM tracks, takes place these days on social media. Private Facebook and WhatsApp groups are the weapon of choice for today’s MLM underbelly scammers.
If left unchecked, who knows, maybe Facebook could be facing its own HYIP wire fraud lawsuit at some point in the future.
Another point to consider is the wealth of knowledge cooperation from the Krassenstein brothers provides authorities.
Having been knee-deep in financial fraud’s inncer circles for years, what and who the Krassensteins know could spurn any number of related lawsuits against operators of illegal schemes.
Ditto the payment processors the Krassensteins worked with and used to receive wire fraud tainted funds. Liberty Reserve, Perfect Money, AlertPay and Payza are all referenced in the DOJ’s forfeiture complaint.
The paper-trail alone for the thousands of scams promoted on MoneyMakerGroup and TalkGold alone could keep investigators busy for years.
Realistically I believe at some point the Krassenstein brothers will probably face a long prison stint. For their part though they don’t seem to fazed at this point.
On September 27th Brian Krassenstein uploaded a video to his YouTube channel promoting an upcoming book launch for “How the People Trumped Ronald Plump”.
A number of cases related to the forfeiture seizure were filed and remain under seal. Pending their unsealing we’ll be able to provide you with a clearer picture of what the Krassenstein brothers are facing.
Update 5th October 2017 – Following publication of this article Edward Krassenstein reached out to us and confirmed the DOJ are not pursuing wire fraud charges in relation to the asset forfeiture.
Shoutout to the BehindMLM reader for the forfeiture notice tip-off.
Also as an aside, I wonder if Ted Nuyten honestly believes some of the MLM underbelly scams he promotes on BusinessForHome are legit?
Granted he’s not operating on the same scale as the Krassenstein brothers, but he still makes money off promoting scams (advertising/promotion fees) – a key component of the DOJ’s forfeiture notice.
I have a recollection of prolific rumors that the Krassenstein brothers were offered more than a million dollars for TalkGold in the 2007-2008 heyday before the action shifted to MoneyMakerGroup, then Facebook.
It kind of appears so far that they “made out” better hanging on to it.
Contractor records for the house they had built at 15128 Anchorage Way in Fort Myers lists a $98,000 contract for just the swimming pool – and that is just one of at least two homes that they owned in that area.
Ponzi promoters are feeling lost and confused. These were popular sites to trick fools.
And what about Troy Dooly? The latest from his long list which included Zeek and Global Verge is:
If you listen quietly, you can hear the sound of Ken Russo’s ass puckering up.
So that is way they went offline! Didn’t had a clue they both belong to the same person(s).
OMG, this is 5-Stars funny! Can’t stop laughing. Good one Gregg.
Well, Ken Russo is not the only one sweating bullets or having his arse pucker.
Every major Ponzi promoter is crapping their pants right about now at what all they could reveal on them, especially if it meant a good plea deal for Brian and Edward when it comes to sentencing.
They just might get probation for taking down all the promoters.
So much for the ‘we sold TG to a Pakistani trust’ or whatever the BS story was at the time…LMAO…
Hope they also go after Geoff for his part..
Edward showed up at RS and made the following comment, and I am quoting part of what he posted:
He’s been in contact with me to. Working out the finer details before I publish an update.
did you mix this up with an email from sharley scoville?
Alright I’ve updated this article to better reflect the current situation (based on new information after its initial publication).
Putting together a followup article…
If they can take down Kim.com for copyright, then these the guys deserve to go also.
The forums were a disgrace and full of hate and bait conversations that flipped people into one ridiculous program after another. Not to mention the serial referral commission pimps.
Good riddance i say.
Have you seen this self serving story they wrote for an online news service.
It details how they were victimized by the big bad evil government and they didn’t even know what they could have done that was wrong.
Through TalkGold, MoneyMakerGroup and their various HYIP monitoring sites, the Krassenstein brothers were fixtures in the scam industry for years. They knew exactly what they were doing.
Ed and Brian only play dumb now because it suits their reincarnation as social media political pundits.
I was a member on both forums. I was made a forum moderator on Talk Gold, but not in the HYIPs.
I was made a mod because of my warnings with news articles of HYIPs being busted, or weed out the scammers.
I found that some of the scammers actually made people believed that these programs are legit where they shelled out money to have their own sites. I went inactive for years from the forums because of health reasons.
This is the first time I heard the forums are gone and their house raided.