16 May

Take Shape For Life and Medifast: Court Filing Explains Pyramid Scheme Allegations

This week, response briefs were due from the defendants in the case of Medifast v. Barry Minkow, Fraud Discovery Institute, Robert FitzPatrick, Tracy Coenen, and Sequence Inc. I was dismissed from Medifast’s SLAPP suit (see information on the lawsuit here), and my brief  in the Medifast appeal can be found here. The brief of Minkow and Bob FitzPatrick was also filed this week, and sheds some light on the allegations that Take Shape For Life (TSFL) and Medifast are offering a pyramid scheme to distributors (called “health coaches”).

The entire brief filed on behalf of Minkow, FDI, and FitzPatrick is found here (10MB file). Below I highlight some of the most relevant (and most interesting) portions, particularly the bits regarding the allegations that Medifast’s multi-level marketing business is a pyramid scheme or endless chain recruitment scheme. Read More

31 Jul

Barry Minkow Sentenced to Five Years’ Imprisonment on Stock Manipulation Conspiracy

United States Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida
July 21, 2011 Press Release

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announced that defendant Barry Minkow, 44, of San Diego, California, was sentenced today on one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, for his participation in a scheme to manipulate the stock price of Lennar Corporation (Lennar) through false and misleading statements about Lennar’s business operations and management. At today’s hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Patricia A. Seitz sentenced Minkow to five years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. In addition, the Court ordered Minkow to pay $583,573,600 in restitution. Read More

19 Feb

Medifast Files Lawsuit, Fraud Discovery Institute Reopens Investigation

UPDATE: On February 17, 2010, Medifast Inc. filed suit in US District Court, Southern District of California, alleging defamation, violation of California Corporations Code, and unfair business practices. On March 29, 2011, Judge Janis Sammartino dismissed all of Medifast’s claims against me in her ruling on my anti-SLAPP motion.

On Tuesday, Barry Minkow and the Fraud Discovery Institute issued a press release stating they were ending their investigation of Medifast Inc. (NYSE:MED) in order to focus on other companies.

One day later, Medifast filed a defamation suit in California against Minkow, FDI, Robert Fitzpatrick, William Lobdell, iBusiness Reporting, me, my company Sequence Inc., and an anonymous message board poster. The suit seeks general damages of $270 million, plus other damages. Read More

17 Feb

Fraud Discovery Institute Ends Investigation of Medifast Inc.

UPDATE: On February 17, 2010, Medifast Inc. filed suit in US District Court, Southern District of California, alleging defamation, violation of California Corporations Code, and unfair business practices. On March 29, 2011, Judge Janis Sammartino dismissed all of Medifast’s claims against me in her ruling on my anti-SLAPP motion.

In mid-2009, Barry Minkow and Fraud Discovery Institute began investigating Medifast Inc. (NYSE:MED), and published several reports on the company and its business model. The company was compared to Your Travel Biz (YTB), a company that was under fire from the authorities for being an alleged pyramid scheme.

There were questions about Medifast’s auditors,  but most notably, the company was criticized for the fact that its financial growth was due almost completely to the recruitment of new “coaches” into its Take Shape for Life (TSFL) division. A month ago, the most recent report on Medifast’s recruitment business was published by multi-level marketing expert Robert FitzPatrick, and Medifast’s management promptly misled shareholders by claiming these allegations were made by “convicted felon” Barry Minkow. Read More

21 May

Fraud Discovery Institute Blasts Medifast

medifraud.netUPDATE: On February 17, 2010, Medifast Inc. filed suit in US District Court, Southern District of California, alleging defamation, violation of California Corporations Code, and unfair business practices. On March 29, 2011, Judge Janis Sammartino dismissed all of Medifast’s claims against me in her ruling on my anti-SLAPP motion.

In a surprise move, the company known for its outspoken criticism of the direct selling industry, the Fraud Discovery Institute, Inc today released a report portraying direct seller Avon Corporation in a positive light (www.frauddiscovery.net).

To prove that Medifast, Inc (NYSE:MED) is a “scheme pyramid” business opportunity as evidenced by its record breaking first quarter earnings in the middle of a recession, the Fraud Discovery Institute, Inc enlisted the help of nationally recognized expert Robert Fitzpatrick, who issued an 11 point comparison between Medifast and Avon showing Medifast comes up short.
Read More

09 Jan

Lennar CEO responds to Barry Minkow and Fraud Discovery Institute

Early today, Barry Minkow and Fraud Discovery Institute released a report on Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN), highlighting what the authors believe to be ten red flags of fraud at the company. Lennar’s stock was hit hard by the news.

It didn’t take long for Lennar’s CEO Stuart Miller to speak out against the allegations. About all he was able to do, however, is try to discredit the messenger. Lennar didn’t have any substantive response to any of the allegations, they simply highlighted Barry’s well-known criminal past and referred to Nicolas Marsch (Barry’s client) as a “disgruntled litigant.” Read More

05 May

Lying in Business is Not Compartmentalized (Herbalife, NYSE:HLF)

White collar criminal Barry Minkow has been investigating multi-level marketing schemes such as Usana Health Sciences, Herbalife Ltd., and PrePaid Legal. One of the most recent revelations by Minkow and his Fraud Discovery Institute was that the president of Herbalife, Gregory Probert, did not have the MBA he and the company claimed in SEC filings.

This revelation led to Mr. Probert resigning from Herbalife last week. Are you asking yourself why this is a big deal? Heck, even a Goldman Sachs analyst said the lie was nothing to be concerned about. Read More

05 Nov

Press Release on Herbalife Investigation

The Fraud Discovery Institute (FDI) has just released a report corroborated by video and audio evidence indicating that Herbalife LTD (NYSE:HLF), a multi level marketing company based in Los Angeles, California, has been operating an underground multi level marketing business in China where they are only licensed to “direct sell” products. The investigation also demonstrates that the problem of recruitment in China extends to Herbalife distributor down lines in countries outside of China which taints company earnings.

“China, after much research, concluded in November of 2005 that multi level marketing would be banned in the country,” said Barry Minkow, founder of the Fraud Discovery Institute. “However, as one Herbalife employee in China stated during a taped, in-person meeting, ‘No company will make money if they perform business in accordance with the Chinese laws.’ No truer statement has ever been uttered,” said FDI’s Barry Minkow. Read More