24 Aug

Failure Rates in YTB and Other MLMs

Noted MLM expert Robert FitzPatrick did a recent blog post on the YourTravelBiz.com lawsuit filed by the California Attorney General. He has a nice analysis of how and why YTB is nothing more than a pyramid. These multi-level marketing companies are almost always the same, they each just have a different “hook.” In this case, the hook is travel services, although according to the company’s own numbers, very little travel is actually sold. (That’s a clue to it being a pyramid scheme… Little “real” business done, in favor of instead selling a dream and recruiting with that dream.)

Here are some interesting statistics and analysis from Fitzpatrick: Read More

23 Aug

Expert Fraud Investigation Hits Amazon.com

My next book, Expert Fraud Investigation: A Step-by-Step Guide won’t be out until February 9, 2009, but it’s already on Amazon.com and available for pre-order.

From the product description:

A fraud investigation is aimed at examining evidence to determine if a fraud occurred, how it happened, who was involved, and how much money was lost. Investigations occur in cases ranging from embezzlement, to falsification of financial statements, to suspicious insurance claims. Expert Fraud Investigation: A Step-by-Step Guide provides all the tools to conduct a fraud investigation, detailing when and how to investigate. This guide takes the professional from the point of opening an investigation, selecting a team, gathering a data, and through the entire investigation process. Business executives, auditors, and security professionals will benefit from this book, and companies will find this a useful tool for fighting fraud within their own organizations.

 

21 Aug

More Wasting of Taxpayer Money by MPS (Surprise!)

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran this story a few days ago, and it’s just so indicative of the mismanagement of the district from a financial standpoint. No one in the private sector would get away with wasting billions of dollars and not be held accountable. Yet the district will again spend almost $1.2 billion or almost $14,000 per child. And not be held accountable.

Here’s the latest demonstration of ineptitude. Back in 2000, someone had a reasonable idea: Let’s get children back into neighborhood schools instead of busing them all over the city. We’ll save money because of reduced transportation, and we’ll have students in schools in their own neighborhoods… investing families in the neighborhoods and hopefully improving the city.

The cost of the Neighborhood Schools Initiative? $102 million. Add the interest on the debt used to pay for the program, and it will cost $175 million. Read More

21 Aug

Usana’s New REV3 Energy Drink

Back in April I told you that Usana Health Sciences (NASDAQ:USNA) would be rolling out a new “energy drink” at their annual convention:

The new product is an energy drink. Apparently, studies by Usana show that you could get a bigger kick from a cup of coffee, but they are counting on the cult mentality to sell the product. Usana-heads will believe management… If they say it gives you energy, then by golly, it gives you energy!

The details are set to be released to the sales force at the convention next week, but here they are… Read More

21 Aug

Only in Eugene Kane’s World

For those who aren’t local to Milwaukee, Eugene Kane is a columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel who writes about racism. No matter what happens, it’s always motivated by racism.

The debate about light rail has been going on for years. The bottom line is that it won’t work for Milwaukee. It’s too expensive, will have too few riders, and won’t have enough reach to make it worthwhile. But in Kane’s world… Read More

20 Aug

United First Financial Lies: You Can Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster With No Change in Spending

Probably the biggest single lie told by United First Financial “agents” is that you can pay off your mortgage faster than scheduled, with no change in your spending or lifestyle. That sounds too good to be true, because it is.

Simple math debunks this claim. Think about it. If you’re currently paying $1,500 a month on your mortgage and you’re scheduled to have it paid off in 30 years, how would you pay it off earlier? The only possible way to do that is to pay more than $1,500, right? Read More

18 Aug

When Money Talks, Mark Shurtleff Listens

How much does it cost to get Mark Shurtleff, Utah’s Attorney General, to lie for you? Apparently only $5,000. What a bargain!

Today Sam Antar has an enlightening piece on his blog, entitled “Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) CEO Patrick Byrne Pays Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff to Defame a Blogger.” It details a situation in which a $5,000 Overstock.com campaign contribution to Shurtleff was followed immediately by public lies by Shurtleff. And there’s plenty of evidence to support the claim that Shurtleff blatantly lied. Read More

17 Aug

Update on Essentials of Corporate Fraud and Book Publishing in General

Things are going swimmingly with Essentials of Corporate Fraud, but I find myself not knowing how to answer a common question. “How are book sales going?” Well, I don’t know. What is your frame of reference?

Professional books like this aren’t ever going to be New York Times best sellers, so if that’s what your definition of “great” is, then I suppose I don’t meet it. But in terms of books in my field, things are going really great. Read More

16 Aug

Overstock.com and Naked Short Selling

Pat Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com O.co

An article on the Industry Standard by managing editor Ian Lamont, “Overstock.com CEO: I’m not vindictive.”, explores a recent blog post made by Patrick Byrne on his site that attempts to expose corruption on Wall Street. Byrne is the completely inept CEO of Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK), the man who has run it into the ground and racked up almost a quarter billion dollars in losses since 2000.

Byrne has been ranting for a while that naked short selling of stocks (an illegal act, by which a stock is sold short before actually securing/borrowing shares to short) is rampant on Wall Street and that something must be done about it. He claims that naked short selling is responsible for his company’s stock price experiencing a serious downward trend since 2005. Read More