A class action lawsuit filed in California highlights issues that a number of people (including consumers, attorneys, journalists, and forensic accountants) have been discussing. I will let the complaint speak for itself. The highlights include:
Defendants advertise and market the Formula that it advertises as follows; “Roca Labs® (Florida, USA) invented the Gastric Bypass Alternative®, strongest non-. surgical weight loss in the world for the obese. The Formula procedure creates an immediate gastric bypass effect, leaving only 20% stomach space available for eating, practically forcing the user to eat only half and lose weight from day 1.” [www.rocalabs.com, hereinafter “the Website”]
Both statements are false. A gastric bypass is an operation that divides the stomach into multiple pouches and rearranges the small intestine connections to the stomach. Roca Labs’ Formula does not divide the stomach into parts nor does it rearrange the small intestine.
Multi-level marketing companies are quick to tout the success of their “million dollar earners.” Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Who doesn’t want to make a million dollars?
Except that phrase “million dollar earner” hides the truth:
- What they don’t clearly mention is that this is cumulative earnings over a number of years, typically between 5 and 20 years.
- They also fail to mention that this is gross income, prior to any business expenses. The business expenses in multi-level marketing can get very high, and will include product purchases (in order to stay active and/or meet requirements for certain commission levels), travel, office expenses, training costs, business insurance, supplies, prizes for customers and downlines, venue rental for events, food for events, etc. The expenses can easily equal 40% to 60% of gross income.
Financial statement fraud includes intentional, material misrepresentations. Tracy Coenen explains the concept of financial statement fraud to a group.
Johnny G. DeGirolamo, founder of The Law Offices Of John DeGirolamo, Esq., uses the tagline “In Law We Trust.” The firm’s website says:
Having spent two years at the firm, it became clear to John that he missed the criminal law that he spent his college and law school careers studying.
His affinity for criminal law during college and law school is well-documented. At the right are three mugshots of John G. DeGirolamo (click on any of them to see them full size). His arrests and/or cases include these in Hillsborough County, Florida: Continue reading
This woman says that Primerica Financial Services representatives lie and misrepresent the business opportunity to others in order to get them to join and stay an active part of the plan (even if they’re not making any money).
Hi. My name is Anne and I was a Primerica representative (full time) for about 7 months (from May ’07 to December ’07). I ended up in a multi-level marketing job in Primerica as a young adult.
I like what the company stands for and stuff (as far as helping families with their products), but it’s such a difficult position to be in. A lot of your success is based upon how many people you know. I knew the products backwards and forwards, became a decent sales person, was able to conquer most objections, but because I didn’t have a big warm market to start out with, I sucked.
When I first joined into the company, I was promised that everything was easy and I’d be making as much if not more than I was at my full time steady desk job… so I quit my regular job because at the time when the opportunity was presented to me, it was a “regular” paying job just with very flexible hours. Continue reading
Bill Ackman and Pershing Square produced an educational video about multi-level marketing companies and how and why they are pyramid schemes. Yes, I often hear:
- “Pyramid schemes are illegal!”
- “If XYZ Company was a pyramid scheme, the government would shut them down!”
Yes, pyramid schemes are illegal. No, our government generally doesn’t shut down pyramid schemes masquerading as multi-level marketing. Continue reading
Roca Labs is no stranger to ridiculous litigation. Last year, Roca Labs filed lawsuits against a multitude of companies and individuals in an attempt to silence critics. Essentially, the company sells a sketchy product called Gastric Bypass No Surgery. Roca Labs claims it is an alternative to gastric bypass surgery, but it has questionable results, and some people have even said it is dangerous. There are plenty of people alleging that Roca Labs is making false claims about its product, thus the company seems to truly earn the label of scam or fraud.
Roca Labs wants to stop customers (and others) from discussing their negative opinions of the company and the products. The company says critics have damaged is reputation, but I submit to you that Roca Labs itself damages its reputation.
Roca Labs filed suit against me in Florida, using a couple of theories that they thought were novel. Unfortunately for them, those two litigation theories have already been tried against me and were shot down by federal courts at both the district court level and the appeals court level. Back in 2010, Medifast Inc. filed a $270 million lawsuit against me (and others) in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California. I was dismissed from that case by the district court. Medifast appealed, and the appeals court upheld my dismissal from the case. Counsel for Roca Labs could learn a thing or two from that case. Continue reading
Would you recognize the clues that your client has been ripped off by one of its employees? Or would management conduct business as usual, blindly trusting their employees? Companies make the mistake of not actively searching for fraud. They tend to trust their employees and trust the procedures in place to safeguard company assets.
It may be good business to trust employees and empower them to make real contributions to the growth of the company. However, it is not wise to turn a blind eye to signs that a trusted employee may be stealing. Continue reading
High net worth divorces often have a high volume of data which must be analyzed when doing a lifestyle analysis. How can this data be managed and evaluated accurately? Tracy Coenen explains.
A few months ago, I wrote here about “Food Babe,” the persona invented by Vani Hari. She is a pretend expert on food, blogging about supposedly dangerous additives. Some call her a “food activist,” but the truth is that she is paid for bringing paranoia and hysteria to her cult-like following.
I believe Vani Hari is a complete fraud for a multitude of reasons. The most compelling include: