Xyngular Works: Losing Weight Fast!

Xyngular is a weight loss MLM (multi-level marketing) company which advertises quick, sustainable weight loss using their products. Last year I wrote a lengthy article about the Xyngular products, and I came to the conclusion that the products are dangerous, the diet is a fad diet (which is almost guaranteed to be unsustainable), and promoters like Jennifer McKinney (MckMama) lie to their potential customers and recruits.

I wanted to provide an update on the Xyngular and Ignite products. My stance hasn’t changed. If anything, I am even more strongly against the products after seeing the things I’m posting here.

Jennifer McKinney is most well known for being the mommy blogger MckMama, as well as for being a serial scammer. Her exploits include fraud on the United States Bankruptcy Court, allegedly stealing money from her mother-in-law, continuing to leave creditors unpaid, and lying about her weight loss in order to recruit people into Xyngular.

Are All Multi-Level Marketing Companies Pyramid Schemes?

Recently Robert FitzPatrick of Pyramid Scheme Alert sent out a newsletter that included a discussion of the issue of whether all multi-level marketing companies are pyramid schemes. MLMs are frequently accused of being pyramid schemes, as we see has been the case with Mary Kay Cosmetics, BurnLounge, Herbalife, Medifast, Fortune Hi Tech Marketing, and Usana Health Sciences.

It is common for participants in multilevel marketing schemes to ask whether one MLM or another is also a pyramid scheme. Consumers are hoping that they have found the one legitimate or good multi-level marketing opportunity. The following information comes from Robert FitzPatrick’s newsletter article on the topic:

Article on NuSkin Fraud in China

Today Citron Research released a report on the fraud being committed in China by Nu Skin Enterprises. NuSkin is a multi-level marketing company based in Utah, and it trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NUS. This report is a follow-up to an August 2012 report in which Citron revealed its basis for alleging that Nu Skin was perpetrating fraud in China.

Citron first points out how dependent on China Nu Skin is.  In the second quarter of 2012, revenues from China were $57 million. In the second quarter of 2013, Nu Skin’s China revenue grew to $197 million. That’s a 245% increase. Without the China revenue, NuSkin’s year-over-year growth would be negative.

An expose was published in China on NuSkin. A translation of the page can be found here. The article accuses Nu Skin of running a pyramid scheme, using endless chain recruitment to bring new marks into the fraudulent business opportunity. Distributors are encouraged to buy inventory in quantities they will never sell, all to move up in the pyramid and qualify for commissions. (Incidentally, this is the same way that Mary Kay Cosmetics has been successful.)

Medifast Cease and Desist Order and Civil Penalty

On September 18, 2013 a cease and desist order was filed pursuant to the Security and Exchange Commission’s investigation of Medifast Inc. (Medifast’s business includes Take Shape for Life, or TSFL, which is its multi-level marketing division.) Medifast materially overstated income and understated expenses from 2006 through 2009, according to the SEC. This has resulted in the cease and desist order, and has Medifast paying a $200,000 penalty to the government.

You may recall that Medifast sued several people (including me) in 2010 for criticizing their business model and business practices.

One of the issues in the lawsuit was the criticism of Medifast’s auditors, Bagell, Josephs, Levine, and Company.The criticism of the auditors was grounded in a 2008 PCAOB report on an inspection of six of BJL’s audits, which turned up audit deficiencies in three of them. In 2010 Medifast switched auditors.

Losing Money in Herbalife

I talk frequently about how almost everyone loses money in multi-level marketing schemes. Companies like Mary Kay, Herbalife, Amway, and Avon want you to believe that money is being made from retailing the products. They say they are not pyramid schemes because they have legitimate products that can be sold for a profit.

Unfortunately, almost no one profits from MLMs, and certainly not from the sale of MLM products. Why? Because there is only a tiny market for bona fide retail sales. Very little actual retailing of products occurs. The vast majority of the “product sales” are from the MLMs to their distributors, rather than third-party consumers.

But the companies have a vested interest in getting consumers to believe their lies. If consumers didn’t believe the products were being retailed, they’d never sign up as distributors. Oh sure, some retailing goes on. But it is a very small amount, and is usually not at full retail price. Mary Kay says it’s simple: Buy a product for $1 and sell it for $2. You’ve doubled your money! But it’s nearly impossible to sell at full retail pricing, especially when tens of thousands of products are being dumped on eBay at or below wholesale pricing.

Xyngular v Innutra Lawsuit

Xyngular Corporation recently sued Innutra LLC, a company that appears to be founded by a number of former Xyngers. You may recognize Xyngular as the company for which serial scammer Jennifer McKinney shills. Both companies are multi-level marketing companies that use “nutritional supplements” as the front for their recruiting schemes.

Xyngular is upset because the people who started Innutra (James Ayres, Cindy Hansen, Glen Oliver, Cecily Karst, and Chris Hummell) allegedly used distributor lists and other proprietary information to get people to join Innutra (in violation of agreements made with Xyngular).

Does Xyngular Work? (Or Isagenix, or Herbalife, or Take Shape For Life, or Visalus, or Any Multi-Level Marketing Company)

Several months ago I wrote an article on the Xyngular weight loss program being pimped by Jennifer McKinney (aka mommy blogger MckMama).  The bottom line for me was that these programs do not work because:

  • They create short-term weight loss through a dizzying cycle of starvation, unhealthy meal replacement shakes, and questionable drug-like “supplements” that are supposed to get you high and suppress your appetite
  • The representatives make repeated health claims are strictly prohibited by the federal government. The distributors claim that the products cure anything and everything from joint pain, to autism, to diabetes, and more.
  • Xyngular (and Herbalife, Medifast, Take Shape For Life, Visalus, Isagenix, and the rest of them) have poor long-term results because they are fad diets that rely on starvation and potentially unsafe substances. The vast majority who lose weight with these programs gain it all back.

Citron Research: Usana Health Sciences Operating Illegally in China

usana-health-sciences-chinaAllegations of cheating in China are nothing new for Usana Health Sciences (NYSE: USNA).  In 2007, the Fraud Discovery Institute accused Usana of doing business illegally in China.  The country has very strict laws against multi-level marketing (MLM). It is strictly forbidden. Yet for years Usana has been getting around this rule by having distributors from mainland China do business through Hong Kong, where MLM is legal. When asked about the activity in Hong Kong versus China, the company has been deliberately vague.

In November 2012, Citron Research published a report on Usana’s activities in China. The report discussed law enforcement activity related to illegal MLM operations. Usana was criticized for not disclosing these material events (arrests and fines for distributors) in its SEC filings.

Primerica Financial Services: The Fake Job Interview

primerica-pyramid-schemePrimerica Financial Services is a multi-level marketing company that sells life insurance and investments. I’ve written about Primerica in the past, questioning whether Primerica is a pyramid scheme, and whether PFS is a scam.

The bottom line is that Primerica sells legitimate products and services (life insurance and investments), but sells them at inflated prices to generally unsophisticated consumers. So consumers are overpaying, and likely buying the wrong products. Additionally, the MLM structure sucks for the Primerica representatives. Because there is recruiting with so many levels, the distributor who sells the products receives much less money than if he or she sold similar services through a traditional insurance agency or investment company.

A typical recruiting ploy in Primerica is the job interview. Representatives of PFS troll the internet for job seekers, harvesting resumes from job sites. They contact the job seekers with an offer of an interview for an opening. They give the job seekers very little information about the “job” (it’s not a job at all… rather it is a position in the MLM pyramid), con them into showing up for an interview, and telling them if they have the right skills, they may be invited to stay for an information session.

Dave Ramsey Officially Sucks

dave-ramsey-sucksI have always been a big Dave Ramsey fan, and believed that his financial advice for consumers is first rate. But today Dave Ramsey got it wrong in a big way. On his blog, he published an article about making money in multi-level marketing.

The article failed to acknowledge the fact that over and over again, it has been proven that 99% of people involved in MLMs lose money. Front and center in the article was this lie:

Truthfully, if you have a go-getter personality, and you can follow some basic business and personal etiquette, you can make a lot of money in an MLM. The trick is to avoid all the potential pitfalls along the way.

Truthfully? No, there is no truth in what was said.

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