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Moneylife » Life » Public Interest » Forbes magazine's strange activism on behalf of the shady MLM QNet

Forbes magazine's strange activism on behalf of the shady MLM QNet

Moneylife Digital Team | 20/12/2012 06:07 AM | 

A blog published by the international magazine Forbes on the founder of QNet, a notorious multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme, has been touted by agents of the company as a blue-chip endorsement. Now the same writer goes a step further to defend them by attacking Moneylife’s stance on the dodgy scheme. Not surprisingly, QNet, which refused to answer direct questions posed by Moneylife, appears to have provided detailed answers to this writer

Donald Frazier, a writer at Forbes, has done it again. This time, he endorses QNet, a typical MLM scheme, which has been luring hundreds of thousands Indians the same way Speak Asia did, while attacking Moneylife. The endorsement contains answers to specific queries raised by us. What is astonishing is that Frazier claims not to have met any detractors of QNet. Here is the latest on Forbes’ endorsement of a dubious operation that our Ministry of Corporate Affairs and its Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) are claiming to investigate.

The blog by Frazier on the website of Forbes Asia has repeatedly found mention in the comments section of Moneylife’s many articles on QNet as a credible endorsement of the scheme and its Malaysian-born promoter, Vijay Eswaran. The comments, ostensibly from independent representatives (IRs) of QNet, seek to allay the fears of potential victims of the scheme. When Moneylife tweeted the India editor of Forbes magazine to find out if it really was endorsing QNet, our articles were apparently brought to Frazier’s attention.

Since then, Frazier has tried to draw Moneylife into a dialogue and attempted to get us to supply him with a list of QNet detractors—something no self-respecting journalist ought to do. Now he has published a bigger endorsement of QNet, which, strangely enough, has Moneylife and its managing editor as its centrepiece. Does this mean that Moneylife’s investigation into the Singapore-registered QNet’s obviously shady business is hitting home? Read on for details.

Frazier’s latest blog starts with the strange premise that he invited Sucheta Dalal, managing editor of Moneylife and founder-trustee of Moneylife Foundation, to use his blog as a “neutral site” for providing information on QNet. This is strange because Moneylife is an e-paper, in competition with Forbes, and we have posted several articles about QNet, which detail our standpoint. Frazier, however, seems confused about the difference between media entities and a shady corporate entity that would need his blog—either as a friendly or hostile site—to post views.

Mr Frazier also claimed that “She (Ms Dalal) also opted to not identify self-professed ‘victims’ of QNet who, she says, came out in one of her for-pay seminars in Mumbai a few weeks ago." This is interesting because Moneylife Foundation’s seminar was attended by two senior officers from the government’s SFIO who not only heard the victims but also participated in the discussion. There was an audience of over 50 persons that day.

He then goes on to pick up some direct and specific questions that Moneylife had posed to Zaheer Merchant, QNet’s director for corporate communications. Mr Merchant has yet to respond to us directly, but apparently made time to give Frazier a point-by-point reply.   Ironically, the answers only prove our point that QNet’s reaction to our writings—way back in 2009—were to immediately offer an all-expenses paid trip to Hong Kong to Ms Dalal to “check out their operations”. It is not clear why an MLM selling holiday packages, watches and trinkets globally needs to fly journalists to Hong Kong. Mr Merchant says that many journalists accepted QNet’s invitation—it would be interesting to get a list of names, because analysing their writings on QNet, before and after visiting Hong Kong, would establish the impact of the trip.

The emails between Mr Frazier and Ms Dalal that are self explanatory...

On 3 December 2012, Mr Frazier wrote...

Dear Ms. Dalal -
 
Greetings, and I hope you are well.
 
You've apparently been much more successful than I have in finding detractors of QNet.  Last week I sent you a message with a greater idea: what if you were to summarize all of the allegations of unsavory and illegal behavior by the company?  I would run it in my column in Forbes, and demand that QNet answers them publicly.
 
I should post a column on reactions to the story anyway.  I can get answers to all of your questions, helping your readers and mine.
 
Here's the link:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/donaldfrazier/2012/10/24/selling-a-better-life/ (Originally in Forbes Asia's print edition for November.)
 
I hope to do this is a few days; please reply so that I know you received this,


On the same day, Ms Dalal replied, saying...

Dear Mr Frazier

Greetings and many thanks for your email. I guess you have written to me because everybody lured by QNet is quoting the "positive" coverage that QNet received from Forbes.
 
I am not sure you know, but we run a magazine (smaller than Forbes, certainly, but we are in the publication business). Our website www.moneylife.in has a big reach and our e-magazine goes out to over 75,000 people every day.  

I am not sure why WE should summarise anything for YOU to publish in your BLOG. Completely flummoxed by the suggestion. Wouldn't it be far better if you were to visit our website, search for QNet and find everything we have to say on the matter for yourself?

If you are truly saying that you have not found anyone with anything negative to say about QNet, I can only say that you have not looked hard enough. We had several people at our seminar in Mumbai who would have happily provided details. Maybe a visit to the Serious Frauds Investigation Office in Mumbai or the police in Hyderabad will also help you get information.

I trust this is useful.


On 4 December 2012 Mr Frazier replied...

Hi Ms Dalal, and many thanks for your prompt, substantive note.
 
Yes, I was quite surprised to find my story commonly described as an ‘endorsement,’ as if coverage of any company confers a quasi-official ‘seal of approval’ on its activities.  Mainly, given our focus on individual entrepreneurs at Forbes, it’s a story about the ascent of QNet’s founder who, you gotta admit, has indeed become rich and famous this way.
 
I’ve just discovered Moneylife.  Your creation?  I think its mixture of news coverage, commentary, blogging, tweeting and events could very well point the way for the future of journalism—at least in India, where the Jain brothers et al seem to be far in advance of the West in breaking down old conventions.  I love its energetic tone of righteous indignation!
 
To answer your question, I thought you might prefer to assemble these various charges because that would give you a more cohesive, harder-hitting document. (Must confess: I also thought you might have fun with the confronting Qnet directly in my space.)
 
But no worries:  I’ll take your advice, by gathering the disparaging references from Moneylife, your blog, your twitter feed etc, and running them in one document, and asking QNet to reply.  I’ll be sure to attribute them to you. But some of these are more like allusions.  For example, consider a twitter reply of 19 November, by a Ritesh Anand?@Rites40: @suchetadalal “Mam I am a direct victim of QuestNet/Goldquest, really want to kill those bastards, All these MLM are pure fraud.” Great copy, but it doesn’t give us as lot of information to go on.
 
(BTW I’m not a blogger—all of my stories for Forbes and Forbes Asia are for the paid print operation and subject to the same fact-checking, editing and so on. Forbes corporate uses the blogging platform to post everything they publish—no wonder you got the wrong impression.)
 
I’d be delighted to feature the people from your seminar in Mumbai.  Bring them on!
 
I’ll do this over the next few days; please feel free to forward anything you’d like me to add to the mix.
 
Cheers – and thanks again for inspiring what will be a spirited dialogue.



On the same day, Ms Dalal replied, saying...

Greetings Mr Frazier...
 
Moneylife—our website also collates authentic information and cross checks it with the police, serious frauds office and government ministries.

Just for your information, we will not collate uninformed comments on Twitter or Facebook and use them in our reports or stories. Also, just by way of background, Debashis Basu (editor & founder of Moneylife) and I have over 27 years of journalistic experience, mainly in India's mainline press. So it’s not a little fun blog—and the “righteous indignation” you speak of is borne out of close observation of the Indian business scenario.

So no, we won’t “bring it on" .. We think each of us ought to do our own research and our own writing. Many thanks for your offer.


There are other things that the Forbes columnist apparently failed to notice when he was trawling the internet for Twitter feeds and comments. QNet and its IRs or sales agents specialise in creating duplicate domain names to manipulate search engines like Google. Moneylife had a firsthand experience of this. Maybe Mr Frazier should check this link: http://forbesmagazineqnet.1672098.free-press-release.com/.

Another result that appears on Google bears the title "Forbes Asia - Official QNet Blog – Qnet” (yes, the QNet people have used Forbes Asia as their page title!) The entry on this blog page says, "Vijay Eswaran in Forbes Philanthropy Heroes List!" Do we, or Mr Frazier, need more proof that shows how his article in Forbes is being misused by QNet to endorse its ‘business’?

QNet has done this to Moneylife as well. Check out moneylife.qnetlife.in and moneylife.qnetlife.net, which is clearly the handiwork of the QNet team and designed to mislead. Finally, here is a first-person account from a well-known television journalist, Ashu Dutt, on how he and his family became a victim of QNet. He sent this to Mr Frazier with a copy to us…

Donald:

I got your reference from Sucheta Dalal. As a backgrounder I was the Chief Consulting Editor of Bloomberg TV and ET Now, Editor and Senior Anchor at CNBC-TV18 and Senior Anchor at NDTV/Star News. I am also a bestselling author of over a dozen books. So I hope this provides you with credibility in terms of a "detractor".

QI/QNet/QuestNet/GoldQuest/Faith Network is not just a fraud, but they lure women to break away from their families and then go after the family money. My own wife fell into this trap. I have 3 little children and she has put their future in jeopardy. They first lured her into their web using hypnotists (their Mumbai kingpin, Manjunath Hegde, is a hypnotist and they proudly declare him to be a "master of the mind". The network in Mumbai is run through another cult-like organization called "Faith Network".

Once this was done, they got her to put money from our house and relatives. Then they told her to kidnap our children and run away to Thailand (my kids are US and Thai citizens). Fortunately, Indian immigration stopped her from going to Thailand.

This is my story. I can tell you that there are hundreds of Indian families that have been ruined by these people. In Mumbai, they use hypnotism and cult-like practices (wearing white clothes with blue pendants).

Once they trap the women, they go after their wealth. My wife has now gone on to take over our assets by changing directors and doing all kinds of illegal corporate stuff guided by QI kingpins.

This is my personal experience and I come from your fraternity. I must say I was very dismayed to see a magazine of your standing put out an article about people who use hypnosis and destroy families.

QNet openly uses your article to mislead people. While it may just be an article for you, hundreds of homes have been destroyed. People are being sold Ponzi schemes in a country where the level of financial literacy and understanding of legal rights is very poor.

Hope you will do something to correct this distorted picture

Regards
Ashu Dutt

 


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gurupreet

gurupreet 3 weeks ago

QNet accused submitted fake papers to procure anticipatory bail: Police

MUMBAI: Around half a dozen accused in the Rs 425 crore QNet cheating case submitted fake documents before the court for procuring anticipatory bail, Pradip Gharat, special public prosecutor told the court. Later, a police officer filed an affidavit before the court that the statement and the signatures of him were actually bogus and that he was never involved in the investigation of this case at the initial stage.

Read the full story here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/...

QNet: Ferriera, six others misled court by submitting 'fake' document, says EOW

Have QNet team leaders misled the Mumbai Sessions Court by submitting a fake document along with their bail application? The Economic Offences Wing has made this sensational disclosure. The police official, whose signature is on
the document has also denied having prepared or signed it

Read the whole story here: http://www.moneylife.in/article/qnet-fer...


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jitu moni

jitu moni 1 month ago

http://www.wfmynews2.com/story/news/loca...

First Payouts Approved For Zeek Reward Victims
HIGH POINT, N.C.-- A federal judge has approved the first payouts for victims of the Zeek Rewards pyramid scheme. The High Point Enterprise reported that the attorney supervising efforts to return members to the victims said a judge on Thursday approved the payments.

Kenneth Bell said the first payments should be handed out late next month. Bell indicated earlier this year that the first payments could be for about 40 percent of what victims lost in the scheme. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shut down and seized the assets of Zeek Rewards in August 2012.

Bell estimates that from January 2011 until August 2012, more than 700,000 people lost more than $700 million. Zeek Rewards had said it was a multi-level marketing business operating in Lexington.

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jitu moni

jitu moni 1 month ago

100 pull out of Chinese millionaire's MLM scheme in Malaysia

Major Chinese dailies reported that more than 100 people had cancelled their membership in the controversial multi-level marketing scheme YSLM, established by self-proclaimed Chinese millionaire Zhang Jian.

They were required to sign a letter which stated that their reason for quitting was due to the impact from a Facebook page calling on netizens to combat pyramid schemes, and that they were grateful to Zhang Jian for allowing them to terminate their membership unconditionally.

On Wednesday, the company announced that members who had failed to introduce new members to the company were entitled to a full refund of RM300 (S$115) if they quit the scheme.

Zhang made headlines recently when giant billboards of him appeared in Penang proclaiming him as the "future richest man in the world".

http://news.asiaone.com/news/malaysia/10...

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jitu moni

jitu moni 1 month ago

'World's richest man' offers refunds to MLM investors

KUALA LUMPUR: Members of a controversial multi-level marketing business started by self-proclaimed Chinese millionaire Zhang Jian are entitled to a refund if they quit the scheme, said senior distributor Jessy Lai.

“They have until Aug 14 to cancel the membership,” she said.

“Just bring your identity card, let us take your picture and a video clip stating the reasons you wish to quit, and we will give you the refund on the spot,” Lai told a press conference yesterday.

However, she said the refund would only be given to those who had not introduced any new member to the group.

Zhang made the news recently when billboards of him appeared in Penang, proclaiming himself as the “future richest man in the world”.

Subsequently, reports emerged accusing his company, known as YSLM, of being linked to a get-rich-quick scam.

YSLM has refuted all the allegations, stressing that it was a legal business.

Yesterday, Lai also refuted media reports that at least 100 people had turned up at the company’s office here to cancel their membership since news about the refund offer was circulated on the Internet before the official announcement.

“We have not received any applications as of now,” she said.

She stressed that the refund process could only be done at the office.

On the whereabouts of YSLM founder, Lai said he had been travelling in and out of the country, exploring overseas markets.

Asked whether Zhang would show up to explain his business, Lai said he would appear for official matters and not just to answer accusations against him.

She also explained why the refund would not be offered to those who had introduced other people to the scheme.

Those who had brought in two members would have received a commission of RM300 – equivalent to the membership fee.

Thus, no money would be returned to them, she said.

http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/20...

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jitu moni

jitu moni 1 month ago

Illegality in MLMs and recommendations for law enforcement
An open letter from MLM expert Robert L FitzPatrick of Pyramid Scheme Alert to the US FTC exposes illegality of multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes and how law enforcement agencies can curb it. The same applies for India where thousands of pyramid or network marketing schemes are duping gullible savers everyday and also lobbying for legitimacy

In an 'open letter' to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), pyramid scheme expert Robert L FitzPatrick, co-author of the book, 'False Profits', president of Pyramid Scheme Alert and co-founder of the International Coalition of Consumer Advocates, has provided a set of recommendations to the FTC on how to identify illegal multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes and to enforce consumer protection laws on pyramids disguised as 'direct selling'. The paper was sent following a conference call with officials of the FTC Consumer Protection Bureau in which an invitation for suggestions and recommendations was made by FTC officials.

The FTC recently prosecuted one of the larger MLMs, Fortune High Tech Marketing, but only after it had scammed more than 300,000 households and operated openly for nearly 12 years. Currently, the FTC is investigating one of the largest of all MLMs, Herbalife that has operated for more than 30 years.

Bright Lines of Illegality:

The paper submitted by FitzPatrick, entitled, Identifying 'Bright Lines' for Determining Illegality of Any Multi-Level Marketing Company under Section 5 of the FTC Act, lists telltale signs of illegality (unfair and deceptive trade practices):

1. Endless Chain Structure - The sales management chain has no sector of sales people that is focused directly and only on end-users. The sales chain expansion is without limit and without geographic restriction. All new participants, upon payment, are awarded the right and offered financial incentives to recruit more salespeople and extend the chain to multiple levels, usually six to infinity. This reward plan and structure indicate the use of the inherently deceptive“endless chain”, infinity factor” and “unlimited” income claim to induce purchases and fees.

2. Pay-to-Play – Despite providing no territorial protection or even historical saturation data provided to new salespeople, sales/ purchase quotas are imposed with specific dollar volumes of product purchases (either by the distributor personally or his/her recruitment chain). In some cases, there are structural recruiting requirements also imposed in order to maintain a position in the endless chain payment plan. These volume and recruiting quotas are signs of “pay-to-play” factors that operate in tandem with an endless chain structure and recruiting-based rewards to drive purchases and fee payments.

3. Money Transfer - The MLM employs a reward formula that overwhelmingly rewards chain extension activity that is recruiting-based over personal retail sales activity that is market-based. Evidence includes formulas that allocate higher aggregate rewards, per transaction, to those at the upper end of the chain, over those at the base and allocate total commission payout to recruiters in excess of total verified retail profits. Special bonuses and rates on total “group” volume are based on position on the endless chain. They money transfer formulas directly result in an extreme concentration of payments – 50% to 80% – of total payouts to those at the extreme upper end of the recruiting chain. As an example, the report referenced hard data on Nu Skin’s payment of 82% of all its commissions to the top 1.29% of its “active” sales force, which is 0.5% of the entire sales network.

4. Recruitment-Driven - The actual activity of the business is characterised by relentless recruiting, churning and transferring funds from later participants to earlier ones.

5. Little Evidence of Market-based Retail Selling - Little evidence, gained from an examination of marketing materials, website, and reports from participants or researchers, of market-based retail sales, per salesperson, and little evidence of retail profit gains among the sales force.

6. No Income Opportunity for Nearly All Participants - Large-scale losses are evident in the sales force, even among those in the upper one-third of sales chain.

Law Enforcement Guidelines
For law enforcement, the report offered specific reforms that would put any MLM on the legal side.

1. Limit the number of levels that any individual salesperson can personally recruit and gain override commissions to one or several. In combination with other reforms, this measure would eliminate the infinity factor.

2. Require that commissions be awarded only on consummated retail sales, that is to persons who are not signers of the company’s sales contract and are not eligible for recruiting-based rewards.

3. Allow no commissions to be paid on any purchases made by other salespeople or on the salesperson’s own account. This reform eliminates a major incentive for recruiting and for making personal purchases. It would also clearly indicate that all purchases made by the sales force are market-based.

4. Eliminate all purchase/ sales volume or recruiting requirements in order to maintain sales and recruiting authorization. With no geographic limitations or protections placed on MLM salespeople, and no information available on market saturation factors, volume and recruiting requirements serve no other purpose than as recruiting inducements.

5. Establish limited territories for distributors who want to develop sales teams with authorisation based upon management selection. The current practice of open-ended, even global territories and escalation on the sales chain being based purely on volume/ recruiting performance is a telltale indicator of the “endless chain” inducement and the lack of a real-world market basis for sales.

Principles of FTC Law Enforcement and Consumer Protection from Illegal MLMs

1. The establishment of an understandable and consistent “bright line” requires that the FTC take a clearly stated legal stand against the groundless and nonsensical claim of MLM promoters that purchasing products by the participants in multi-level marketing exempts the enterprise from an illegal pyramid definition. The bogus identity of “direct selling” by pyramid selling schemes and the claim of exemption from a pyramid scheme definition based on product purchases have confused and misled millions of consumers (“If the MLM sells a product, it’s can’t be a pyramid!”).

MLM lobbyists have claimed that pyramid scheme definitions must exempt enterprises in which rewards are gained through product sales “to participants.” They have lobbied for this “product exemption” in state laws and tried to get a federal law passed in 2003. In fact, in case after case of MLMs prosecuted by the FTC, the selling products was the disguise of choice, and “direct selling” turned out to be a false identity.

2. FTC must establish and publish a set of recognizable actors indicative of the use of the endless chain as a marketing device, once the endless structure is identified as part of that MLM’s business model.

The evidence of the use of endless chain marketing to induce purchases and fee payments is found in the MLM’s pay formula and in the statement of policies and procedures, both of which are generally published.

Additional evidence can be found in income disclosure documents, website, webinars and in SEC filings.

Evidence of the use of the endless chain is manifested in verifiable loss and churn rates and absence of profitable retail selling. Referencing these classic elements of a pyramid disguised as a sales company can be done in a matter of hours or days. Pyramid fraud is frequently in plain sight.

Mandate for Action Now

By offering bright lines and recommendations for law enforcement, the “Open Letter” supports the message of urgency that the International Coalition of Consumer Advocates delivered to the FTC in October, 2013 with it White Paper and petitions.

Currently, the FTC lacks a consistent or understandable standard for determining illegality of any MLM, rendering effective FTC prosecution and law enforcement in MLM sector essentially impossible and, indeed, virtually non-existent.

By any standard, this position for a law enforcement agency is intolerable. It leaves millions of people in America and around the world without any means of distinguishing legitimate direct selling opportunities from pyramid swindles. In recent years, these schemes have begun targeting the most vulnerable sectors of the public, students and immigrants. The FTC’s untenable position has also generated a dangerous uncertainty in the securities markets, putting pension funds at risk that are invested in MLM enterprises that are being openly challenged for operating illegally.

The scenario in India

Coming back to home, Moneylife has been continuously writing about the inaction by government and regulators regarding MLM companies, money circulation schemes, pyramid-marketing schemes and other similar companies that swindle the unwary public by offering them misleading inducements and depriving them of their hard-earned savings.

In April 2013, after the collapse of Saradha group, the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) in a face saving measure has decided to hand over probe of such chit-fund, MLM, Ponzi and pyramid scheme operators to a Special Task Force under the Serious Fraud Investigations Office (SFIO). The ministry said the probe has been ordered in view of a larger public interest involved in the issues, although the state governments are the appropriate authorities for regulation of such chit fund companies and schemes under the Chit Fund Act, 1982.

Here are some of the important stories written and representations made by Moneylife over the years…

Moneylife Foundation’s representation to PM, FM and RBI on MLM schemes

In May 2011, following the exposé by Moneylife on Speak Asia Online Pte Ltd and its MLM scheme, Moneylife Foundation sent a representation to prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh, (the then) finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, finance secretary Sushama Nath and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor D Subbarao urging them to ban all MLM companies and their schemes in the country, or to bring all MLM companies under the regulation of either the RBI or the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), to stop them ensnaring gullible people.

West Bengal’s ‘chit fund’ mess and inaction of MCA

The massive money, which is raised surely shows somewhere on the balance sheet of the company, filed regularly with the MCA. The primary recipient of the information about these companies is the MCA, and surprisingly the MCA is the least proactive in the entire process of bringing these perpetrators to regulatory focus, sooner before tonnes of money vanish.

Chain Game

Dubious pyramid schemes or money-circulation schemes are looting Indians across economic strata, finds Sucheta Dalal. This will continue since Central and state governments seem unconcerned.

Pyramid schemes: Daylight robbery

Pyramid marketing companies are looting the public easily, while the government watches. Many countries have banned them outright.

Ponzi Scheme: Is RBI Passing the Buck?

A strange deposit scheme that is proliferating in the states of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Maharashtra has already collected almost Rs1,000 crore and is expanding virtually unchecked. The scam has elements of money-laundering and possibly the use of fake and forged currency as well; however, the banking regulator would like to pass off the investigation to the respective state governments for investigation under the antiquated Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act.

Coin Game

An international network marketing scheme hawking expensive limited edition coins is attracting a huge following. Sucheta Dalal examines this strange quest.

Ponzi schemes: Free for all

Moneylife readers know how MLM schemes ensnare lakhs of people by promising extraordinary returns. We learn from the ministry of consumer affairs that the government is now waking up to the need for better regulation of MLMs and ponzis. At the same time, the powerful Direct Selling Association of the US is lobbying hard for an amendment.

‘Beware of deception by pyramid schemes, MLMs trying to lure people with promise of high returns’

Pyramids are pure fraud. Their business is unsustainable-they promise payment for goods or services of dubious value. The hallmark of these schemes is the promise of sky-high returns in a short period of time, for doing nothing other than simply handing over your money to them, and getting others to do the same.

Ponzi schemes: The fraudulent art of chain game

Even as India bans pyramid schemes under a statute called the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978, the country continues to be a happy hunting ground for pyramids because our legislation is deliberately unworkable.

Dubious Ponzi & MLM Schemes

Investors losing money, or falling for dubious Ponzi schemes, is not a recent phenomenon; this has been happening for decades and it is not restricted only to India. Why is it that people repeatedly fall prey to such schemes in spite of being aware of the frauds perpetrated by conmen under different guises?

Set up inter-departmental group to curb MLMs

EAS Sarma, former power and finance secretary, said the ministry of finance, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), and the investigating agencies should collectively tackle this problem without any delay, as every day of procrastination will only result in thousands of hapless families cheated by the promoters of these schemes.

How MLMs wave an annulled letter to claim legitimacy of their operations and con people

Spokespersons and dealers of multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes or network marketing schemes respond to questions about their legitimacy by brandishing a 2003 letter issued by the then secretary, ministry of corporate affairs (MCA). What they omit to mention is that the letter was subsequently annulled following complaints about its misuse. This means, the letter used by these scamsters is no more valid.

Pyramid and MLM schemes are scourge on people

While there are existing laws such as Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978 (PCMCS Act) and others under which concerned agencies could prosecute the culprits, there is no effective mechanism in place to ensure a coordinated approach to identify the fraudulent operators in advance and book them well before they destroy the livelihoods of thousands of households and launder the ill-gotten funds to unknown destinations.

MLMs now want to ‘invest’ money in India, really?

A set of powerful MLMs, which are part of an exclusive closed club, called the Indian Direct Selling Association or IDSA (on the lines of the Direct Selling Association of the US) has been lobbying hard to make a distinction between their operations and those of others, who they call, fly-by-night operators such as SpeakAsia and Ad Magnet.

QNet, the MLM company, has no answers to Moneylife’s simple questions

QNet, the controversial Hong Kong-based multi-level marketing (MLM) operator with multiple names (GoldQuest, QuestNet, QNet, QI Ltd and QI group are the better known names) refused to answer simple questions like how much money their independent representative (IR) earns on an average every month and why their products are priced so highly. Instead, it sent us a threatening and defamatory mail that raises more questions as to their real motive.

2011: A year dedicated to MLM and Ponzi scheme frauds

If 2010 was the year of great Indian scams, 2011 was rather of ponzi and multi-level marketing (MLM) frauds. SpeakAsia managed to top the chart, but soon many others joined the bandwagon, duping gullible investors for several thousand crores.

How to avoid 'get-rich-quick' schemes and scams

Nothing comes free in this world, especially money. The universal truth is you need to earn your money by hard labour all the time and there are no shortcuts to double it in the shortest span of time. Therefore, even if your near and dear ones tell you he/she will double, triple, quadruple your money within a few days/months, politely reply to them that it is not possible and what they are advocating is a pure 'get-rich-quick' type of scam.

Herbalife is a pyramid scheme worth zero dollars: Bill Ackman

Herbalife, a global MLM scheme also prevalent in India, is believed to be worthless according to hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who made a detailed presentation on why consumers should avoid buying the company’s products and stay away from the MLM.

http://www.moneylife.in/article/illegali...

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