Archives on February, 2014

BehindMLM: Rippln sold off??

Posted by ASDUpdates on February 28, 2014No Comments

 

Rippln sold off to Insider21 investment group?

Feb.28, 2014 in Rippln 13 Comments

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I was recently asked by a BehindMLM reader to take a look at “Insider21″, an opportunity they were just introduced to by a friend.

Already in the process of going through the emails I’d flagged during the week for reply, I flicked over to the browser tab I had open for looking up new company review requests.

I punched in “insider21.com” and what came up was pretty bland:

insider21-website

The company listed three “brands”, none of which appeared to have anything to do with network marketing:

  • Texstar – a “company (that) provides numerous investment opportunities by participating directly in oil and gas exploration and mining programs”
  •  Bonamour – a “lifestyle products company” and
  • MSD Gold – “one of the most promising gold mining companies in the world”

If there was an MLM business opportunity within Insider21, I certainly wasn’t seeing it.

[Read the rest of this entry…]

BehindMLM: British police issue TelexFree warning

Posted by ASDUpdates on February 26, 2014No Comments

 

British police issue TelexFree scam warning

Feb.26, 2014 in TelexFree

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TelexFree has recently been attempting to make inroads in Europe. In addition to heavily promoting the investment scheme throughout Russia, the company’s affiliate investors have also targeted western European countries.

Anticipating Europe to be a primary source of new investor funds with which to pay out existing investors with, TelexFree are even going so far as to hold their next conference in Madrid, Spain this weekend.

Fortunately all this Ponzi pimping hasn’t gone unnoticed, with at least one police department in the UK issuing a public warning against what they refer to as a “scam”.

In their scam warning, issued this month, the States of Jersey Police department warn

The States of Jersey Police have been made aware of a potential fraud which is targeting Jersey’s Madeiran community.

Guernsey Police have issued a similar appeal.

The scheme is under a company name of TELEXFREE and would require initial investments with the promise of big returns.

The scheme originated from Brazil and is currently being investigated by the Brazilian authorities as it is believed to be fraudulent.

Jersey Police know that islanders have been approached to “invest” in the scheme, but as yet have not had any contact from victims of the scam.

If anyone in Jersey has invested money into a TELEXFREE scheme they should contact the Joint Financial Crimes Unit on Tel: 01534 612250 (during office hours) or Police headquarters on 01534 612612 (at other times).

The last paragraph of the scam alert would indicate that the police are looking to gather information on TelexFree, perhaps for investigative use later should the investment scheme gain traction locally.

On their “About Us” website page, the States of Jersey police department write

The States of Jersey Police serves a resident population of nearly 98,000 people as well as over 700,000 visitors to Jersey each year.

At face value, the challenges involved in policing Jersey may seem to equate to policing a small town in the United Kingdom. But Jersey’s status as a Crown Dependency with its own government and legislation create a distinct policing environment:

The main difference is that the States of Jersey Police must be largely self-sufficient in developing and maintaining services that are provided through a local, regional and national level police service infrastructure in the United Kingdom.

Whether or not the department will take any further action against the company and any local promoters remains to be seen.


Footnote: My thanks to BehindMLM reader Frontier for providing us with this news tip.



AP- Website of Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox offline

Posted by ASDUpdates on February 25, 2014No Comments

Associated PressBy YURIKO NAGANO and STEPHEN WRIGHT | Associated Press – 6 hrs ago

TOKYO (AP) — The website of major bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox is offline Tuesday amid reports it suffered a debilitating theft, a new setback for efforts to gain legitimacy for the virtual currency.

The URL of Tokyo-based Mt. Gox was returning a blank page. The disappearance of the site follows the resignation Sunday of Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles from the board of the Bitcoin Foundation, a group seeking legitimacy for the currency.

At the Tokyo office tower housing Mt. Gox, bitcoin trader Kolin Burgess said he had picketed the building since Feb. 14 after flying in from London, hoping to get back $320,000 he has tied up in bitcoins with Mt Gox.

“I may have lost all of my money,” said Burgess, next to placards asking if Mt. Gox is bankrupt. “It hasn’t shaken my trust in Bitcoin, but it has shaken my trust in bitcoin exchanges.”

A “crisis strategy” report shared widely online that purports to be an internal Mt. Gox document says more than 740,000 bitcoins are missing from the exchange, which froze withdrawals earlier this month. It says the theft went unnoticed for several years and turned on disguised withdrawals.

A theft of that magnitude would equate to losses of $350 million at current bitcoin prices, but in practice such a figure is highly uncertain because of Bitcoin’s extreme fluctuations in value and its lack of broad acceptance as an alternative to money.

The cloud hanging over Mt. Gox is a possibly fatal blow to Bitcoin, which was started in 2009 as a currency free from government controls. Supporters have said Bitcoin’s cryptography makes it immune to theft or counterfeiting.

On bitcoin exchanges, the currency’s value has fallen to about $470 from $550 in the past few hours.

Several bitcoin exchanges and related organizations released a joint statement that said they are working to “re-establish the trust squandered” by the failings of Mt. Gox.

The bitcoin operators said funds under their control are held securely. Mt. Gox should not be considered a reflection of the value of Bitcoin or the digital currency industry, they said.

A second man protesting outside Mt. Gox’s office in Tokyo said he was in arbitrage, which is a type of trading, but would only gave his first name, Aaron.

A security officer said no one from Mt. Gox was in the building. Tibbane, an Internet company that Karpeles is CEO of, still has its named listed on the building’s directory.

“I have no idea” where they are, said Burgess. “I’m both annoyed and worried”

Bitcoin had been inching toward broader acceptance despite wild swings in value in the past year. For most of the currency’s history, each digital coin had been worth less than $10.

New bitcoins are “mined” or generated by computers. They get harder to generate all the time, which means the inflow of fresh bitcoins keeps falling.

There are about 12.4 million bitcoins in circulation today, according to Blockchain, a public registry of bitcoin transactions. The maximum number of bitcoins that can be generated is 21 million and by 2032, 99 percent of those will have been created.

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BehindMLM: Global Unity: Kingdom777 rebooted (again)

Posted by ASDUpdates on February 25, 2014No Comments

Global Unity: Kingdom777 Ponzi rebooted (again)

Feb.25, 2014 in WCM777

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It’s getting rather difficult to keep up with the continuous changes Phillip Ming Xu keeps making to his global Ponzi empire. After regulators around the world began to target Xu and his WCM777 Ponzi scheme late last year, he changed its name to Kingdom777 and hid behind the skirt of newly appointed CEO, James Tenorio.

What became of Tenorio remains unclear. He published one update on the Kingdom777 website in January, after which rumors claiming he’d abandoned the post began to surface. I was never able to confirm this information, however it seems Tenorio has since gone into hiding as there has been no communication from him since.

That left Ming Xu back in charge, and with Kingdom777 barely over a month old, it appears he’s gone and changed the name of his scheme yet again.

Suspicions were raised when Kingdom777 and its associated sites went offline roughly twenty-four hours ago. Dutra’s The Paper observed that

As of early this morning the websites for Kingdom777 are down.  This includes kingdom777.com, kingdomtrade.org and kingdom777.hk. Social media is stating the outage will be for 48 hours and they are making upgrades and changes to the site.

It is unknown how unity.pe plays into this yet, however the domain is listed as repossessed by godaddy.com, the preferred domain seller of Kingdom777 owner Xu Ming.

Further initial investigations into this outage show that many of the sites are moving services to new providers and net blocks.

Worldcapitalmarket.com has relocated onto Google Cloud Services, 1and300.com has moved to a net block assigned to seizuretimegaming, Kingdom777.com has moved to Yahoo hosting, kingdomtrade.org remains at liquidweb, where many of the sites related to this scam have been since the start of the scheme.

A few hours ago emails began to trickle in with information on one of Kingdom777′s top Ponzi pimps trying to covertly shift over his downline to a “new” scheme, named “Global Unity”.

Renato Rodriguez, one of the top leaders in wcm777 might be switching all of people to “his” new company. He said “no information must be shared”.

The Global Unity website domain, “global-unity.net” was only registered just yesterday on February 24th, with much of the site still in development:

global-unity-website-not-ready-feb-2014

Continue Reading →

Credit Suisse and the SEC

Posted by ASDUpdates on February 21, 2014No Comments

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Credit Suisse Agrees to Pay $196 Million and Admits Wrongdoing in Providing Unregistered Services to U.S. Clients

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2014-39
Washington D.C., Feb. 21, 2014 —The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against Zurich-based Credit Suisse Group AG for violating the federal securities laws by providing cross-border brokerage and investment advisory services to U.S. clients without first registering with the SEC. Credit Suisse agreed to pay $196 million and admit wrongdoing to settle the SEC’s charges.

According to the SEC’s order instituting settled administrative proceedings, Credit Suisse provided cross-border securities services to thousands of U.S. clients and collected fees totaling approximately $82 million without adhering to the registration provisions of the federal securities laws.  Credit Suisse relationship managers traveled to the U.S. to solicit clients, provide investment advice, and induce securities transactions.  These relationship managers were not registered to provide brokerage or advisory services, nor were they affiliated with a registered entity.  The relationship managers also communicated with clients in the U.S. through overseas e-mails and phone calls.

“The broker-dealer and investment adviser registration provisions are core protections for investors,” said Andrew J. Ceresney, director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.  “As Credit Suisse admitted as part of the settlement, its employees for many years failed to comply with these requirements, and the firm took far too long to achieve compliance.”

According to the SEC’s order, Credit Suisse began conducting cross-border advisory and brokerage services for U.S. clients as early as 2002, amassing as many as 8,500 U.S. client accounts that contained an average total of $5.6 billion in securities assets.  The relationship managers made approximately 107 trips to the U.S. during a seven-year period and provided broker-dealer and advisory services to hundreds of clients they visited.  Credit Suisse was aware of the registration requirements of the federal securities laws and undertook initiatives designed to prevent such violations.  These initiatives largely failed, however, because they were not effectively implemented or monitored.

“As a multinational firm with a significant U.S. presence, Credit Suisse was well aware of the steps that a firm needs to take to legally conduct advisory or brokerage business with U.S. clients,” said Scott W. Friestad, an associate director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.  “Credit Suisse failed to effectively implement internal controls designed to keep its employees from crossing the line and being non-compliant with the federal securities laws.”

According to the SEC’s order, it was not until after a much-publicized civil and criminal investigation into similar conduct by Swiss-based UBS that Credit Suisse began to take steps in October 2008 to exit the business of providing cross-border advisory and brokerage services to U.S. clients.  Although the number of U.S. client accounts decreased beginning in 2009 and the majority were closed or transferred by 2010, it took Credit Suisse until mid-2013 to completely exit the cross-border business as the firm continued to collect broker-dealer and investment adviser fees on some accounts.

The SEC’s order finds that Credit Suisse willfully violated Section 15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Section 203(a) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.  Credit Suisse admitted the facts in the SEC’s order, acknowledged that its conduct violated the federal securities laws, accepted a censure and a cease-and-desist order, and agreed to retain an independent consultant.  Credit Suisse agreed to pay $82,170,990 in disgorgement, $64,340,024 in prejudgment interest, and a $50 million penalty.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by senior attorneys David S. Karp and Matthew R. Estabrook under the supervision of assistant director Laura B. Josephs and associate director Scott W. Friestad.  The SEC appreciates the assistance of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.

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Ponzitracker: Rothstein Ex-associate Changes Plea

Posted by ASDUpdates on February 20, 2014No Comments

 

Rothstein Ex-Associate Changes Plea, Will Plead Guilty

Jordan D. Maglich Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 9:32PM

Just one week after another former colleague of convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein was convicted of fraud charges, another colleague filed court papers indicating he planned to enter a guilty plea to similar charges.  Douglas L. Bates, 54, had been scheduled to stand trial next week based on his role in Rothstein’s $1.4 billion scheme.

Bates was indicted along with former Rothstein associate Christina Kitterman back in August 2013.  The two were former attorneys at Rothstein’s Ft Lauderdale law firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler (“RRA”), which at one point had over seventy attorneys and was a prominent South Florida law firm.  Both were accused of providing assistance to Rothstein as he purported to offer hefty returns to investors by brokering secret lawsuit settlements.  While Kitterman was accused of impersonating a Florida Bar official in a meeting with investors, authorities accused Bates of assisting Rothstein in inflating legal bills and signing a false letter.

Both Kitterman and Bates maintained their innocence, and Kitterman was the first to stand trial.  In a controversial decision, Kitterman elected to call Scott Rothstein himself to the witness stand and also decided to testify in her own defense.  Both moves were widely questioned, with Rothstein providing testimony that incriminated Kitterman while the veracity of Kitterman’s testimony was later questioned by the presiding judge who warned that a perjury charge was possible.

It is likely Bates’ attorneys were regarding Kitterman’s trial as a test case to gauge how Bates might later fare at his trial.  U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks has scheduled a change-of-plea hearing for 10 a.m. Thursday, and prosecutors have filed a superseding indictment charging Bates with a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of five years, and it remains to be seen whether the plea agreement will contain a lower recommendation.

From BehindMLM: TelexFree has a new Compensation Plan?

Posted by ASDUpdates on February 19, 2014No Comments

Editor’s Note: Usually, when an “opportunity” changes their compensation plan, it is in an effort to sanitize things at least in their own minds. It rarely results in a withdrawal of governmental regulators from their front door and/or removing that “opportunity” from negative light.


TelexFree to release new compensation plan?

Feb.19, 2014 in TelexFree 3 Comments

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Providing yet more evidence that TelexFree’s AdCentral investment scheme is nothing more than a $20 a week ROI Ponzi scheme, the company appears to be gearing up to release a new compensation plan. [Read the rest of this entry…]

From BehindMLM: A Tata-Branded Ponzi Scheme?

Posted by ASDUpdates on February 18, 2014No Comments

Indian Conglomerate Tata Warns Of Tata-Branded Ponzi Scheme 

Jordan D. Maglich Monday, February 17, 2014 at 8:42PM

A massive Indian conglomerate that operates over 100 separate companies worldwide has issued a public warning to consumers that a British Virgin Islands company has been wrongfully using the “Tata” company name and soliciting investors for an alleged Ponzi scheme promising monthly returns of up to 100%.  Tata Group, which operates in over 80 countries and is perhaps best known for its Tata Motors automobile company, warned investors that a British Virgin Islands entity, Tata Agro Holding Ltd., had been touting its affiliation with the Indian conglomerate as it solicited investors.  Tata Group issued a strongly-worded denial disavowing any connection between it and Tata Agro, and indicated that it had taken unspecified action to prevent any further confusion.

According to Tata Group, the BVI entity had been soliciting investors on several platforms, including an online website at tataagro.com.  While the website is currently down, a cached version of the website is available here.  The company is alleged to solicited investments ranging from $5 to up to $10,000, promising daily returns ranging from 1.9% to 3.1% that increased commensurate with the size of the investment.  Tata Agro advertised itself as an agricultural investment company that claimed to be in the business of “assets (sic) management through wheat and corn futures trading on stock exchanges.”  The company claimed it was a subsidiary of Tata Group, and represented that it had been engaged in the agricultural investment business since 2001.

Investors were also encouraged to participate in the company’s “referral program,” which promised commissions for first, second, and third-level referrals attributable to the investor.  To convince investors of the legitimacy of the scheme, Tata Agro advertised that Amit N Dalal, who currently serves as the executive director of Tata Investment Corporation Ltd., was the President and CEO of Tata Agro.

At this time, further information is not available concerning the potential number of investors or value of investments in Tata Agro or any criminal or regulatory action taken against the company.

From PatrickPretty.com

Posted by ASDUpdates on February 17, 2014No Comments

Here’s a very interesting article over at the PatrickPretty.com website; I suggest you read it….. Click the link below:

Why California’s WCM777 Action May Spell Trouble For HYIP Promoters On You Tube

Another Ponzi Payment Processor Down, More To Go !

Posted by ASDUpdates on February 16, 2014No Comments

In an article on BehindMLM.com, we have another of what I call a “Ponzi Implementing Money Processor” (PIMP) fleeing the scene in the US, much like Liberty Reserve and Payza. I am glad to see these Ponzi scam “enablers” dropping by the wayside, but it’s just not enough in my book.  More regulations need to be in place with more direct monitoring of these PIMPs, and lots of  jail time for those who willingly break the law for the sake of lining their pockets.

Now, on to the story from BehindMLM:


 EgoPay shutting down US operations

Feb.15, 2014 in payment processors

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In less than a year three major darlings of the Ponzi payment processor niche have ceased operating in the US or been shutdown entirely.

Co-incidence or evidence that US regulators are increasing efforts to go after payment processors who are lax with fraud prevention, whether willingly or not?

For those who came in late, last May Libery Reserve was shutdown after a joint investigation between Costa Rican, US and Spanish authorities spanning 17 countries. Six months later  Vladmir Kats, co-founder of Liberty Reserve, plead guilty to ‘money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business’.

Then, in that same month Payza abruptly ceased processing withdrawals and deposits from US based clients. It was initially reported that the Department of Homeland Security had seized Payza’s funds as part of an ongoing investigation, but to date nobody seems absolutely certain of what went down.

What is certain though is that since November 2013, Payza’s US clients’ access to their money has been suspended. The fate of these funds and whether or not Payza will be subject to further regulatory action in the US remains unclear.

Now, EgoPay have just announced they are “closing” all accounts currently held by US clients.

[Read the rest of this entry…]