Herbalife’s Fake Business Opportunity

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MLM bussines structure.In a video released this week, Pershing Square (the hedge fund that exposed the Herbalife fraud) contrasts Herbalife’s public statements about the “business opportunity” with the statements made behind closed doors.

Herbalife claims to offer “the best business opportunity on the face of the earth.” But the reality is that it is an opportunity in which you are almost guaranteed to fail, with 96% of distributors making less than half of what is earned by employees making minimum wage (per the video). Despite Herbalife executives and high level distributors publicly repeating how lots of money can be made, the numbers really look like this (according to the video): Continue reading

College Rape Crisis Hoax

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We’ve all heard about this “college rape crisis” that has been manufactured and plastered all over the internet and media. The story line is that there is an incredibly high instance of rape on college campuses. The [false] story is promoted like this, and this, and this, and this. It’s all a hoax, and the situation becomes even more egregious when so-called journalists make statements like “virtually everyone agrees.” No, virtually everyone does NOT agree.

Occasionally, a brave soul will speak up and inform everyone that the “college rape crisis” story is a myth. The hoax has been perpetuated through fake statistics and fake narratives, like the story Jackie told to Rolling Stone about the rape that never happened. This whole college rape crisis hoax is insulting and belittling to real victims of rape.

So where is the proof that this crisis has been manufactured? Look no further than the Bureau of Justice Statistics and a study entitled Rape and Sexual Assault Among College-age Females, 1995-2013. A summary of the study is found here. Continue reading

Herbalife False Health Claims

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Multi-level marketing companies that advertise shakes and potions designed to help you lose weight and get healthier are generally all guilty of the same offense: Distributors making false health claims.  The products are generally terrible for losing weight and maintaining the weight loss. And the health benefits are nothing more than one could get from eating well and taking a simple multivitamin.

Nonetheless, people involved in MLMs routinely claim these potions cure things like ADHD, arthritis, high cholesterol, lupus, asthma, migraines, cancer, fibromyalgia, and more. The most disturbing part of this is when the distributors encourage people to stop taking medications that are critical to their health. This advice is simply dangerous.

Today Bill Ackman released a video demonstrating that Herbalife distributors are violating U.S. law by making false and deceptive claims about the Herbalife products. How do they get away with this? The company likely would contend that there is nothing illegal about distributors giving personal testimonials about the results they received from the products.  Good luck with that defense. Continue reading

What Types of Cases are Done By Forensic Accountants?

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Forensic accounting is sometimes called investigative accounting. There is a fairly wide variety of cases that can be done by a forensic accountant, with all of them having something to do with fraud or litigation. Tracy Coenen talks about some of the most common types of cases in which a forensic accountant will be called in.

Marc G. Nochimson, CPA, Medifast, and Deficient Audits

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Alternative Title: Marc Nochimson, CPA makes the case FOR publicly identifying audit partners. (You really need to know if a goof like this was the engagement partner!)

In 2013, Marc G. Nochimson, CPA entered into a settlement agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission based on his improper professional conduct as the engagement partner for the Medifast Inc. audits from 2006 to 2008. You may recall that in 2010, Medifast sued me (and several others) for negative opinions we expressed about Medifast.

Among the negative opinions: Medifast’s increasing revenue is the result of an endless chain recruiting scheme.  Medifast doesn’t disclose certain figures that would allow consumers and investors to fully evaluate the company and its business. Sam Antar criticized Medifast for its revenue accounting. Others criticized the company’s revenue and business model. Indeed, Medifast did overstate it income, resulting in a civil penalty and a cease and desist order from the SEC.

As time goes on, it appears more likely that our criticisms of Medifast were spot on. It also appears that the professionals affiliated with Medifast did not meet professional standards Continue reading

Companies That Sue Critics Have Something to Hide

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I am a firm believer that companies that sue critics (whether the critics are journalists, customers, forensic accountants, or otherwise) have something to hide.

This was the case with Medifast Inc., a multi-level marketing company that sued me (and others) for $270 million nearly five years ago. (They suffered a resounding loss against me, lost again on appeal, and now must pay my substantial attorneys fees… which of course they are claiming are inflated…. disregarding the fact that huge fees are a result of the need to defend against their shady litigation tactics.) Medifast didn’t like the fact that I expressed my opinion of its business model and business practices.

Other companies have tried such tactics: Continue reading

Cheryl Abbate Wants Marquette to Censor?

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Marquette University teaching assistant Cheryl Abbate doesn’t like the fact that Professor John McAdams criticized her for not allowing students to discuss gay rights. His article got noticed by Inside Higher Ed, so instead of defending her possibly indefensible actions, Cheryl Abbate cried to the publication:

Abbate, however, said she hoped Marquette would “use this event as an opportunity to create and actively enforce a policy on cyberbullying and harassment.” She added: “It is astounding to me that the university has not created some sort of policy that would prohibit this behavior which undoubtedly leads to a toxic environment for both students and faculty. I would hope that Marquette would do everything in its power to cultivate a climate where Marquette employees, especially students, are not publicly demeaned by tenured faculty.”

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Roca Labs Must Be Mocked

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The Roca Labs saga continues… with more unsuccessful attempts to silence anyone who talks or writes about the company’s scammy product and despicable methods of squelching criticism. The company is upset that consumers, Marc Randazza, other attorneys, and media outlets are mocking the company. But indeed, as I will demonstrate here, Roca Labs must be mocked.

Roca Labs has sued Marc Randazza  for defamation.  Marc is opposing counsel in the cases involving PissedConsumer.com and Consumer Opinion Corp. The complaint, filed by attorney Johnny G. Degirolamo, takes issue with Randazza for allegedly:

“…intentionally and maliciously publishing many false and defamatory statements in his pleadings, with the intent to share them to his contacts in the media, and indeed by directly speaking to the media about Roca with the intent to have them publish false, misleading and defamatory articles about Roca, and by harassing and making derogatory statements about Roca via his personal social media sites including his Twitter account.”

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