Canadian Regulators Attack ‘Pay It Forward’ Scheme; Many Autosurfs, Cash-Gifting And MLM Schemes Use Similar Marketing Approach

Trading off a popular phrase, Kerry John O’Neill’s “pay-it-forward” scheme has landed him in trouble with Canadian securities regulators, wiped him out financially and implicated an associate who helped him sell the scheme.

O’Neill even named his scheme the “Pay It Forward Program” (PIF), according to the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC), which accused him of collecting $9.6 million from 943 investors by telling them they could expect returns ranging from 100 percent to 300 percent in 90 days.

“Pay it forward” is a marketing buzzword phrase. The phrase often is associated with autosurf, cash-gifting and MLM schemes that recruit affiliates. The “pay-it-forward” sales approach has emerged as a potential marker of a financial fraud.

Broke and living in public housing, O’Neill now has become the subject of an investigation by the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC). Like BCSC, ASC is seeking sanctions against O’Neill, who was banned in September 2009 from the securities business in British Columbia.

BCSC accused O’Neill of selling unregistered securities as investment contracts. Although Pay It Forward was not an autosurf, similar prosecutions have been brought against autosurf operators in the United States.

“Between November 2005 and December 2006, O’Neill solicited investors to join the PIF Program and enter into investment contracts (the PIF Securities) with him,” BCSC said. “No prospectus was ever filed for the PIF Securities and none of the exemptions under the Securities Act . . . applied to their distribution. O’Neill was not registered under the Act when he distributed the PIF Securities.”

Banned along with O’Neill by BCSC was Renee Marie Helmig, also known as Nisha Helmig.

Helmig, of North Vancouver, admitted she “used false information provided by O’Neill to make misrepresentations to investors and potential investors to convince them to invest in Pay it Forward,” according to BCSC.

O’Neill’s particular brand of “pay-it-forward” involved a scheme by which investors were told that “their funds would be used to buy and sell distressed merchandise,” BCSC said.

Here is how money invested in the scheme was distributed, according to BCSC:

  • $6.4 million to pay amounts owed to other investors.
  • $1.1 million to purchase merchandise.
  • $213,000 for “other investment opportunities.”
  • $56,000 for O’Neill’s personal expenses.

The remainder was used for “expenses related to the distressed merchandise business,” BCSC said.

“[M]ost investors did not earn any return on their investments, but rather lost some or all of their investment capital,” BCSC said. “[T]he payments O’Neill made to investors did not come from profits he made from buying and selling distressed merchandise. Instead, O’Neill paid investors with other investors’ funds.”

“O’Neill has been unemployed since the PIF Program ended” in April 2007, BCSC said. “He lives in subsidized housing and his only income is a monthly disability benefit.”

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11 Responses to “Canadian Regulators Attack ‘Pay It Forward’ Scheme; Many Autosurfs, Cash-Gifting And MLM Schemes Use Similar Marketing Approach”

  1. [Off-topic, 704-word rant by Bob Guenther targeted at this thread deleted by Admin. Post had nothing whatsoever to do with the topic of this story.]

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  2. What else is new, he never does. Just wants attention. For someone who claims to be this great person “in the know,” it is interesting he has no clue where the $2.7 Million went in AVGA. After all he knows everything. Just ask him.

    Back on topic, hopefully the U.S. will now start going after all the illegal Cash Gifting scams that are out there. What is even more appalling is those who use Christianity to pimp their illegal cash gifting scams. The perps and promoter’s all need to be taken down, and spend a long time behind bars.

    I am shocked, but pleasantly so, that the Canadians took action. They have been slow to act in the past. Hopefully this is a good sign things are changing up North. Now if they would only go after……..

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  3. Of course you took it down, and it wasnt a rant it was NEWS, and the only reason I posted it here is you wont acknowledge the email I sent you days ago giving you the same information.. You want to pontificate witrh your fingers but you dont want to be a news outlet. Tha;s the difference in CNN and Fox.. You ae just like CNN, a one way, secondary blah blah blah with little views..

    No prob dude,you can read it in the newspaper next week or go to http://www.tentonhammer.com

    As for as AVGA, had the Feds acted on the information we gave them months before AVGA launched, no one would have lost money, once again, just go look at the post’s on the ASDMBA a year ago.. In fact look at it today, I havent changed in in over 8 months, you will see info about every Ad Surf related scam..

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  4. Was it really ‘news’?
    Was it finally the explanation of what you did with other people’s money that they have been waiting for?
    Now THAT would be ‘news’.

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  5. Bob Guenther: Of course you took it down, and it wasnt a rant it was NEWS, and the only reason I posted it here is you wont acknowledge the email I sent you days ago giving you the same information.. You want to pontificate witrh your fingers but you dont want to be a news outlet. Tha;s the difference in CNN and Fox.. You ae just like CNN, a one way, secondary blah blah blah with little views.. No prob dude,you can read it in the newspaper next week or go to http://www.tentonhammer.comAs for as AVGA, had the Feds acted on the information we gave them months before AVGA launched, no one would have lost money, once again, just go look at the post’s on the ASDMBA a year ago.. In fact look at it today, I havent changed in in over 8 months, you will see info about every Ad Surf related scam..  (Quote)

    So if this “news” is so earth shattering, why haven’t you posted it on your forum? Oh wait, no-one goes there since it hasn’t been updated in almost a year. Guess you wanted it to be seen on a real blog instead of your joke of a site. Funny, thought it was updated “daily.” What a laugh. By the way, if you went to DC when you said you did, AVG had already launched. Now how would they have acted on information you provided?

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  6. Bob Guenther: and the only reason I posted it here is you wont acknowledge the email I sent you days ago giving you the same information..

    Do you even hear yourself? Why do you imply that, because I did not respond to an email you supposedly sent, it frees you to post what effectively was a news release in a thread that had nothing whatsoever to do with the topic of your news release?

    It is spam — pure and simple. Not only is it spam, it’s spam that presumes a right to spam when you don’t get your way.

    FYI, I never received an email from you. No such email came through the Contact form, and no such email arrived at the Support email address.

    So, your theory that I “wont acknowledge the email” you sent has some leaks, considering I received no correspondence from you at either venue, both of which you’ve previously used.

    It appears as though it did not even occur to you that you had the option of sending whatever you claimed to have sent me again — and actually asking politely whether I’d received it earlier.

    Not your style, I know. Your style is to rant. You’ve done it here, and you’ve done it elsewhere. What’s happening to you is that you’re running out of forum admins who will put up with your chronic abrasiveness and rudeness.

    Now, you have a message you want to publish because it serves your end, and places you’d normally turn won’t work with you because you’ve vomited all over their floors — repeatedly.

    You shared your theory above, and now I’ll share mine: You might benefit by reassessing your diplomacy skills — here and elsewhere.

    Bob Guenther: Of course you took it down, and it wasnt a rant

    What you purport not to be a rant began, “So tell me Patrick, how long does it take you to research and report a story. Almost two days ago I sent you inside information regarding a $100Million Dollar plus Fraud/Ponzi/MLMScam that has been exposed. I told you 6 months ago about . . .”

    In your full post above, however, you assert you sent it “days” ago. So, in a matter of hours, “almost two days” has tuned into “days,” implying several days. My guess is that you forgot you said “almost two days” ago earlier today.

    Here’s how your deleted post ended: “As I have always said about you and your site, you dont post news, you post your rendition of old news.. This is news….. If you wait for it to hit the newspapers, it’s old news.. Your call..”

    Bob Guenther: You want to pontificate witrh your fingers but you dont want to be a news outlet.

    You might benefit by reassessing your diplomacy skills — here and elsewhere.

    Bob Guenther: Tha;s the difference in CNN and Fox.. You ae just like CNN, a one way, secondary blah blah blah with little views..

    You might benefit by reassessing your diplomacy skills — here and elsewhere. (Perhaps especially if you hope to get CNN to publish your “inside” information.)

    Bob Guenther: No prob dude,you can read it in the newspaper next week

    You might benefit by reassessing your diplomacy skills — here and elsewhere.

    Bob Guenther: As for as AVGA, had the Feds acted on the information we gave them months before AVGA launched, no one would have lost money, once again, just go look at the post’s on the ASDMBA a year ago..

    I’ll take the Secret Service and federal prosecutors over Bob Guenther any day. What was it that you called the prosecutor in your bank-fraud case? Oh, yes: a “no talent punk” and “the little Volvo driving idiot of a Prosecutor.”

    And what did you say you were going to do to William Cowden? Oh, yes: You were going “to call on some political connections” and perhaps let them know that a cum laude graduate of Notre Dame Law School and Associate Editor and member of the Notre Dame Law Review — one who clerked for a federal appeals judge, served with distinction in the Justice Department for years and is permitted to practice law in multiple federal courts — did not return 50 emails you sent him.

    You might benefit by reassessing your diplomacy skills — here and elsewhere.

    Bob Guenther: just go look at the post’s on the ASDMBA a year ago.. In fact look at it today, I havent changed in in over 8 months, you will see info about every Ad Surf related scam..

    Actually, you haven’t updated the ASDMBA site in more than a year, even though the site says “Updated Daily” at the top of the page and purports to present “EVERY ASD AND PANDA RELATED FILING.”

    There are now 171 filings in the August 2008 case. The docket you list is frozen in time at 40, a position the case was in more than 13 months ago. This means your ASDMBA site that purports to show “EVERY” filing is 131 docket entries behind. It appears that the last PDF you posted is Document No. 39, from January 2009, which suggests you’ve chosen not to show at least 132 PDFs from the case.

    The reason I say “at least” is because the actual number you’ve chosen not to show is higher — and you’ve chosen not even to reference the December 2008 case or present a single PDF from its docket.

    That wouldn’t be news under ordinary circumstances because no website is obligated to publish all filings, but it is news for a site that purports to present “EVERY ASD AND PANDA RELATED FILING” and still has a message up that solicits money.

    If ASDMBA members were relying on the ASDMBA website for news, they’d be getting “news” that is more than a year old. They wouldn’t even know that Judge Collyer has issued a forfeiture order that applies to 99.2 percent of the seized money.

    At the same time, they wouldn’t know about the affidavit Bowdoin signed earlier this week — or even about one he signed September 15, 2009, more than five months ago:

    http://patrickpretty.com/2010/02/17/bulletin-new-affidavit-filed-by-andy-bowdoin-appears-to-be-at-odds-with-claims-he-made-in-september/

    Regardless, here you are implying that you have a wonderful nose for news — and doing so in a thread that has nothing whatsoever to do with the topic of the news you’d like me to publish.

    You might benefit by reassessing your diplomacy skills — here and elsewhere.

    And, no, I’m not publishing your “inside information” — in this thread or anywhere on the site. I may choose to publish a report on CME later or not at all. In any event, I publish information on a schedule I determine, not the schedule you’d determine for me.

    If you submit your “inside information” elsewhere, it might be a good idea not to try to mow down the publication/reporter to whom you submit it (or call him/her a “liberal” or a “pussy” or tell him/her that you embed “secret” code in your forum posts or threaten to sue him/her or declare “war” if you do not get instant gratification — or any gratification at all.)

    Patrick

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  7. Do a google on ““Pay It Forward Program” (PIF)”, this turns up:
    http://www.1888pressrelease.com/abundant-living-system-needs-to-be-revisited-pr-111435.html
    Cash gifting, Jeff Long (of NTC and now DNA) – is this the same PIF?

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  8. Tony H: Do a google on “Pay It Forward Program” (PIF)”, this turns up:
    http://www.1888pressrelease.com/abundant-living-system-needs-to-be-revisited-pr-111435.html
    Cash gifting, Jeff Long (of NTC and now DNA) – is this the same PIF?

    Hi Tony,

    I don’t believe — although I’m not sure — that it’s the same PIF program.

    That was an interesting news release, though. Thanks for sharing.

    Patrick

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  9. Patrick:

    Thank you for making my day!

    Finally some one has taken the time to put Bob Guenther in his place and you did it in such a nice way too.

    I have no patience for the blow hard. Since according to Bob he has all the inside information on all the latest scams and considers himself to be a SCAM BUSTER then why has he not gone after NARC or DNA seeing that one of them is playing in his own backyard?

    The Jeff Long mentioned by Tony is the same Jeff Long that is part of Narc and DNA.

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  10. admin: I don’t believe — although I’m not sure — that it’s the same PIF program.

    Probably right, it seems that the phrase “pay it forward” is used a lot by MLM/HYIP promoters. Faith Sloan has her own PIF program:
    http://www.teamjointventuregroup.com/forum/topics/our-jvg-pay-it-forward-pif

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  11. Ladies and Gentlemen, Convicted Felon Bob Guenther, once again ranting against his own irrelevance….

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