Herbalife $HLF Doesn’t Want You to See This Video

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Herbalife (HLF) does not want you to see or hear the evidence that the company is nothing more than a recruiting scheme. Audio and video footage was obtained of CEO Michael Johnson talking about how Herbalife is a recruiting company:

It’s the recruiting, meaning bringing new distributors into our company, which is the most vital part of our bloodstream. We bring new distributors in, we grow. It’s that simple. It’s that simple. And the company has built its whole reputation, its whole life, on recruiting.

But every time someone publishes this audio or video footage, Herbalife makes a bogus copyright claim and has it taken down. Continue reading

Divorce and Family Law: Uncovering Hidden Income In a Closely Held Business

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Written by Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, CFF

ABA Section of Family Law eNewsletter

When a divorce or a child support issue is looming, it’s amazing how a quickly a closely held business starts “losing money.” I use quotes because such a situation is so predictable. One party wants to protect her or his assets, and when there is a business involved, the motivation to hide money can be stronger than usual.

The types of businesses that can be prone to manipulation of the books include restaurants, retail stores, doctor or dentist offices, construction companies, auto dealerships, and law practices. This list isn’t exhaustive by any means, but it provides good examples of businesses at risk of financial maneuvering.

Any business that is closely held and has finances that are easily manipulated by the owner is at risk. A lawyer filing for divorce from his wife may suddenly stop taking a paycheck and then claim he has no earnings from the practice. A restaurant owner could stop reporting cash receipts from customers, thereby claiming much lower revenue for the business while secretly pocketing the cash. A carpenter may offer customers a discount if they pay with cash and don’t request a receipt, never reporting that money as income. Continue reading

Roca Labs Weight Loss with “Gastric Bypass No Surgery”

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roca-labs-lawsuitLast year, I reported on Roca Labs and their “Gastric Bypass No Surgery” regimen. I criticized the advertising and public relations tactics employed by the company. I was skeptical of the safety and effectiveness of the Roca Labs product, and thought that the company might be scamming consumers.

Roca Labs has changed some of its tactics and seems to be treating customers better. I have had a chance to review some of the testimonials and opinions on the Roca Labs product. I encourage consumers to do their research on the Roca Labs regimen, including seeking out product reviews on sites like PissedConsumer and testimonials on YouTube.

Many have spoken about their opinions on the “Gastric Bypass No Surgery” regimen, both positive and negative. While some are unhappy, others claim the regimen changed their lives or saved them from gastric bypass surgery. Satisfied users of the Roca Labs product and plan say it helped them achieve a healthy weight, losing as much as 100 pounds. Darlene is a senior who lost 81 pounds and believes that she added years to her life. Roger lost 120 pounds and says Roca Labs is worth a try.

Herbalife CEO Michael Johnson on Recruiting

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Michael Johnson, CEO of Herbalife, talks about how the company is based on recruiting. ” Today, we’re recruiting. We’re still a recruiting company, and we’ve got to never not be this [again pointing to the word “Recruiting” on the slide behind him]…”

This is the problem with multi-level marketing. The “business” is not about the product. It is about recruiting. The product is merely an inconvenience that is necessary to make it appear that these companies are not pyramid schemes. Read more at Quoth the Raven.

Update: Video is now available here.

Truth About Poverty in America

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Last week the internets informed me that the United States is terrible because we “allow children to go hungry.” This is not true by any stretch of the imagination. If parents are willing to take even a minimal amount of responsibility for their children, the children will be fed. Food stamps, free breakfast and lunch at school, food pantries, and cash benefits from government programs are more than enough to feed a family’s children.

I wanted to bring the picture of “poverty” in America into focus with some cold hard facts. What you will see is that “poverty” in America is nothing close to the poverty we see around the world. To illustrate this, I am using a fictitious Milwaukee family of 4 as an example. (In this example, we are assuming there is a mother, a father, and two school age children. If you instead assume a single parent household, the numbers work out slightly better for the family.)

Under guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, this family is “below the poverty line” if the income of the household is less than $24,250. Continue reading

Thompson Burton: Support Company of the Year from Academy of Multilevel Marketing

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lolThompson Burton, a law firm providing services to multi-level marketing companies, provides our comic relief today, along with “The Academy of Multilevel Marketing” (TAMM).

The Academy of Multi-Level Marketing is an organization created by MLM industry supporters to make up some awards to give legitimacy to those involved in the grand scam that is called multilevel marketing, direct sales, network marketing, or other clever names (generally used to disguise the fact that these companies are nothing but endless chain recruiting schemes).

The multi-level marketing industry is no stranger to ruses that make it look legitimate. The Direct Selling Association (DSA) that has held itself out as an MLM industry watchdog. In fact, it is essentially a lobbying organization whose job is to convince lawmakers to keep their scams legal. And so it follows that “TAMM” would give out silly awards to those who perpetuate multi-level marketing scams. Continue reading

Marc Randazza Free Speech Win for Dr. Steven Novella

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Marc Randazza, The Legal Satyricon

Marc Randazza of Randazza Legal Group, First Amendment Attorneys

First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza of Las Vegas has scored a particularly important win in a case involving Steven Novella, MD and Edward Tobinick, MD. Dr. Tobinick sued Dr. Novella and Yale University in Florida, not for defamation, but for claims of false advertising and trademark infringement.

First, Randazza won an anti-SLAPP motion. Despite being a California plantiff, Tobinick filed suit in Florida. He may have hoped that California’s anti-SLAPP law wouldn’t follow him there. He would have been wrong. From the order (emphasis mine): Continue reading

Expert Witness Selection: Substance Over Form

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Wisconsin Law JournalIn commercial litigation, many cases require some kind of expert. Whether it is a financial expert, an engineering expert, a fraud expert, a valuation expert, or some other type of expert witness, the process of selecting one cannot be taking lightly. The effectiveness of your expert witness could win or lose a case for you, so it is important to carefully consider what makes a good expert witness.

Qualifications and Credentials
One of the first steps in evaluating your expert is looking at the education and credentials of the person. The potential expert needs substance in this area to have a reasonable chance of standing up to any challenges by opposing counsel.

In addition to college degrees, you should look at the licenses and professional certificates held by the expert witness. What are the most important certificates in this person’s field? Does this person have them? Are the certificates held by the expert actually worthwhile? Continue reading

Analyzing Expenditures to Determine Income in Family Law Cases

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It is sometimes difficult to determine the income of individuals who will be paying child support or spousal support. This can often be the case when dealing with self-employed individuals. If the reports of income made by the spouse or parent don’t seem to make sense, it may be necessary to look at his or her lifestyle to determine income. In this situation, we look at the expenditures made by the person and calculate the level of income necessary to fund those expenditures. Tracy Coenen explains the process in this video.

How to Commit Fraud and Get Away With It

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Written by Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, CFF

Wisconsin Law Journal

If a fraud is worth committing, it’s worth committing right. A little extra effort in the commission of a fraud can go a long way toward profiting from it as long as possible. Follow these recommended steps to increase your chances of successfully pulling off a fraud at work.

Don’t Act Suspicious
Don’t be a complainer. Don’t blatantly fight the rules. Appear to go along with policies and procedures, and don’t cause trouble for your co-workers or supervisors. You don’t want to appear to be disgruntled or seem like a problem employee. Those types of employees cause suspicion. Continue reading