Food Babe Scam: Why Vani Hari Is a Fraud

vani-hari-food-babe-fraudA 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:

Suspended Marquette Professor Responds

A month ago I wrote about Marquette Professor John McAdams and his criticism of teaching assistant (and graduate student) Cheryl Abbate. Essentially, Abbate told a student that discussion of opposition to gay marriage equaled homophobia, and would not be allowed in her classroom. That seemed to be an unfair restriction on speech to Professor McAdams, and to me.

Last week, following the end of the fall semester, Marquette University suspended Professor McAdams with pay.  The school doesn’t want this to be called a suspension, instead saying that he is relieved of all teaching and faculty duties. I initially thought this was a move by Marquette to make it look like they were taking some action, so the Abbate supporters would be appeased. It seemed unusual that he would be suspended during winter break, as no teaching goes on at that time. However, I understand that all of Professor McAdams’s classes for the winter semester have been canceled, so this appears more serious than I originally thought.

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Jennifer McKinney (MckMama) Update… Another Foreclosure!

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Jennifer McKinney Mugshot

It has been quite a while since I have written about professional con artist Jennifer McKinney, known by some as MckMama from her blogging days. Previously, we have discussed her bankruptcy fraud (debts NOT discharged and forever payable by her thanks to her dishonesty about her income and assets), her repeated lies about paying off her debts, and her shilling for Xyngular (a multi-level marketing program which peddles crappy and possibly dangerous diet supplements).

Despite bragging repeatedly that she makes $30,000 per month with Xyngular, Jennifer Howe Sauls McKinney now has entered a FOURTH foreclosure on a home. Previously she lost three homes to foreclosure :

  1. 316 W. 2nd Street, Chaska, MN – Purchased 8/30/04 for $210,000; Notice of Foreclosure 12/2/08
  2. 6016 Beachwood Road, Mound, MN – Purchased 6/30/07 for $465,000; Notice of Foreclosure 2/5/09
  3. 14464 98th Street, Becker, MN – Purchased 8/28/09 for $485,000; Taken by bank 4/19/11

In the past, MckMama has bragged about how they stopped paying the mortgage and instead “saved” the money to buy another house. No doubt she is doing the same thing this time around.

Read moreJennifer McKinney (MckMama) Update… Another Foreclosure!

Herbalife’s Fake Business Opportunity

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):

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College Rape Crisis Hoax

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.

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Herbalife False Health Claims

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.

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

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

Read moreMarc G. Nochimson, CPA, Medifast, and Deficient Audits