INTERPOL Chief Says His Identity Was Stolen In Fraud Bid On Facebook; Meanwhile, MPB Today Members Post Check-Waving Videos On Social-Media Sites And WebsiteTester.biz Gathers 400,000 Names And Email Addresses

Earlier this week the PP Blog reported that members of MPB Today were using YouTube and other sites to post images of checks drawn on a distressed Florida bank. The checks, which were supplied as purported “proof” of MPB Today’s legitimacy, may expose both the posters and the bank to security breaches and identity theft.

The bank, Gulf Coast Community Bank of Pensacola, has been operating under an FDIC consent agreement since January. It did not respond to a request for comment from the PP Blog. It is possible that the bank was unaware that its name was being used as a form of purported “proof” that one of its customers — MPB Today, which operates an MLM advertised on Ponzi forums such as ASA Monitor — was above-board.

Like MPB Today, the alleged Legisi Ponzi scheme was pushed on Ponzi forums such as MoneyMakerGroup. This bizarre section of the Legisi Terms of Service purports that members must avow they are not an "informant, nor associated with any informant" of the IRS, FBI, CIA and the SEC, among others. The others included "Her Majesty's Police," the Intelligence Services of Great Britain, the Serious Fraud Office and Interpol.

In the alleged AdSurfDaily (ASD) Ponzi scheme in 2008, members cited ASD’s relationship with Bank of America as purported “proof” of legitimacy. Federal agents later seized more than $65.8 million from 10 bank accounts controlled by ASD President Andy Bowdoin amid allegations of wire fraud and money-laundering.

ASD also was promoted on the Ponzi boards. Robert Hodgins, who operated a company ASD members said supplied debit cards to the firm, now is wanted by INTERPOL in a case that alleges he assisted in the laundering of money for Colombian narcotics traffickers. The money was accessed with debit cards through ATMs in Medellin, according to court records.

A mysterious business opportunity known as WebsiteTester.biz also is being hawked at ASAMonitor and other Ponzi boards. WebsiteTester claims it has collected the names and email addresses more than 400,000 prospects across the world. WebsiteTester claims its legitimacy can be established by watching a YouTube video that shows no faces and by reading a news release published by an anonymous author.

In July, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued an alert about fraud schemes that use forums and social-media sites such as YouTube and Facebook to spread virally.

Among the other “programs” pushed on the Ponzi boards was Legisi, an alleged Ponzi scheme that gathered more than $70 million. Legisi members were specifically prompted to “avow” they were not “an informant” for law enforcement, including INTERPOL, the FBI and the SEC, among other agencies.

Despite repeated public warnings by authorities to exercise caution on the Internet, fraud schemes continue to proliferate globally. INTERPOL now says one of its own was targeted in an identity-theft bid on Facebook — and it was the boss himself.

“Just recently INTERPOL’s Information Security Incident Response Team discovered two Facebook profiles attempting to assume my identity,” said Ronald K. Noble, INTERPOL’s Secretary General.

“One of the impersonators was using this profile to obtain information on fugitives targeted
during our recent Operation Infra Red,” Noble said. “This Operation was bringing investigators from 29 member countries at the INTERPOL General Secretariat to exchange information on international fugitives and lead to more than 130 arrests in 32 countries.”

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9 Responses to “INTERPOL Chief Says His Identity Was Stolen In Fraud Bid On Facebook; Meanwhile, MPB Today Members Post Check-Waving Videos On Social-Media Sites And WebsiteTester.biz Gathers 400,000 Names And Email Addresses”

  1. Quick note:

    Have now seen a testimonial purportedly from “Mike DeBias” on a promo page for MPB Today. The city in the testimonial is “Las Vegas, Nevada.”

    The name of the purported operator of Websitetester.Biz is Michael A. DeBias. Websitetester’s purported parent firm, Alpha Market Research, uses a Las Vegas address that appears to be a virtual office. WebsiteTester purports to have gathered 400,000 names and email addresses in recent months.

    In the MPB testimonial, which appeared to be a testimonial for the sponsor of “Mike DeBias” more than it was a testimonial for the company itself, “Mike DeBias” said he sought “Divine Guidance” when seeking a sponsor and that “the Force” led him to his sponsor.

    The sponsor’s site waves four checks drawn on Gulf Coast Community Bank and four Walmart gift cards.

    If “Mike DeBias” and “Michael A. DeBias” are one in the same, it may mean that a company that purports to have collected 400,000 names and email addresses even though prospects weren’t even sure about what, precisely, they were joining, is being operated by a member of MPB Today.

    Patrick

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  2. Why is it the more we reada about the marketing tactics of the people in MPBToday on this blog, the more I feel the need to go take a shower?

    Talk about preying on desperation, this is the lowest of the low right up there with the cash gifting schemes. I hope the FTC moves quickly and shuts MPBToday down, and they go after the promoter’s of this illegal pyramid scheme.

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  3. Quick note:

    Have now seen a video that strongly suggests MPB Today at one time was paying members with prepaid Visa cards in the amount of $300. The card in the video was a Walmart Money card with the Visa logo, and the envelope also contained a $200 Walmart gift card.

    One way to look at this is that MPB Today was making its MLM payroll by issuing Visa debit cards purchased at Walmart. I’m wondering if this was a stopgap of some sort because later videos showed bank checks in the amount of $300.

    This video also makes me wonder when MPB Today/Southeastern Delivery opened their accounts at Gulf Coast Community Bank. Some of the videos show checks drawn on MPB Today’s name. Others show Southeastern Delivery’s name.

    Of course, some affiliates have suggested the Walmart gift cards can be converted to Visa debit cards at Walmart.

    So, it appears as though affiliates have been paid three different ways:

    1.) Visa debit cards.
    2.) Checks from Southeastern.
    3.) Checks from MPB Today.

    The gift cards in the videos all seem to be for $200.

    This is the second video I’ve seen that displayed a Visa debit card. The video appears to have been shot on Wednesday, June 23, 2010.

    Patrick

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  4. Quick note:

    MPB Today Inc. — one of the names that appear on affiliate checks — appears to have been formed from an entity that has operated by or is associated with three different names since March 30, 2007.

    SanoRiche Inc. was formed on March 30, 2007. On July 18, 2008, the company changed its name to Le330 Inc. On July 22, 2010, Le330 Inc. formed the fictitious entity known as MPB Today Inc.

    Southeastern Delivery also operated by another name: William Lindsay Properties LLC:

    So, there appears to have been five different names associated with these firms since Dec. 29, 2006, when William Lindsay Properties was formed.

    It appears as though William Lindsay Properties also has been spelled “William Lindsey Properties” — with the difference being the “e” in the “sey” part, as opposed to the “a” in the “say” part.

    It appears as though the firm originally was listed with the “e” spelling — i.e, “Lindsey.”

    And then, in January 2010, the “a” spelling appears in records — i.e., “Lindsay.”

    Various filings in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 appear to use the “Lindsey” spelling. The name change to Southeastern in January 2010 used the “Lindsay” spelling.

    Patrick

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  5. Quick note:

    I am going to engage in some speculation here — and readers should be advised that some of what follows is exactly that: speculation.

    I think it is POSSIBLE that MPB Today made a large purchase of Walmart Money Cards and/or other merchandise and returned them for credit. If true, this could explain why some members received Walmart “In Store Credit” cards as opposed to Walmart gift cards.

    A video shows an MPB member opening a Priority Mail envelope that cost MPB Today $5.60 to mail. Inside that envelope was another envelope. It also appeared to have had postage applied, and it contained a $300 Walmart prepaid Visa card and a $200 gift card. The prepaid Visa, known as the MoneyCard, costs $3.

    So, that’s an expensive way to pay affiliates. It perhaps costs MPB Today at least $8.60 just to get the contents to the affiliate’s door. Also inside the second envelope was a green sheet of paper that referenced an Activation Code for the Visa card.

    The process MPB Today and affiliates used to activate the cards is unclear. Walmart, though, says on its website that it asks for a name, address, phone number(s), Social Security number and perhaps other identifying info:

    https://www.walmartmoneycard.com/walmart/getacardnow

    The narrator in the video said the card came in the mail loaded with $300. He appeared to be confused about what he had just received while recording his envelope-opening ceremony.

    It’s easy to imagine that some affiliates would be less than thrilled to get paid with prepaid Visa cards from Walmart. It requires work for them to activate the card. There are fees with the card that could erode their purchasing power.

    Walmart also expressly notes its anti-money-laundering efforts:

    “Important Information About Procedures for Activating a Walmart MoneyCard: To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money-laundering activities, federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. What this means for you: When you activate your Temporary Card, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver’s license or other identifying documents,” Walmart states on its website.

    So, it’s not like getting a prepaid card from Joe,the-friendly-neighborhood-money-Laundering-via-debit-card vendor.

    In that sense, the Walmart card would not be an attractive option for MLM hucksters who seek backdoor ways to hide money from taxation or seek backdoor ways to clean up dirty money. In other schemes, holes in the payment systems have been exploited by members and the companies themselves to hide money or avoid taxation.

    That a company says it issues 1099s is not proof that a program is legitimate. It is my belief that many MPB Today affiliates will assume the “gift cards” they receive do not constitute income or will look at the $200 as a “grocery” expense, not revenue. I do not believe they are buying groceries; I believe they are making an investment in a pyramid scheme.

    The video referenced above appears to have been recorded June 23. There are other videos dated later that show checks from Southeastern Delivery or MPB Today.

    Paying affiliates who do not have checking accounts with prepaid debit cards makes a certain amount of sense in theory — but also gives rise to money-laundering and tax concerns. People who are having serious financial problems can fall out of the banking system — and MPB Today has been targeted at Food Stamp recipients, foreclosure subjects and the unemployed.

    A check is no good (or has limited utility) to a person who can’t deposit it or cash it. And if they go to a check-cashing service, the fees will erode their “earnings.” So, unlike affiliates who have a banking relationship, they can’t get the full value of the money they “earn” from the program.

    Meanwhile, the debit-card form of payment also may erode their earnings. Many people who have checking accounts keep 100 cents on the dollar when they make a deposit or cash their checks. People in the clutches of poverty may not because they’d have to rely on the debit card or a check-cashing service.

    It’s interesting that some of the sales pitches for MPB Today are trading on class envy. The “grocery” service is positioned as a way for the poor to escape the clutches of poverty — but the poor, of course, get weighted down with erosive fees just to get access to a percentage of the money they’ve “earned.”

    And if they can’t recruit two affiliates who can recruit two more, then they’re even deeper in the hole. A $200 “grocery” order could result in a $100 shipping charge, so they’re spending $300 to get the purchasing power of $200.

    If they’re “lucky” enough to get two who can get two, then they get hammered by fees on pay day. In certain areas of the United States stung by poverty, foreclosures and high unemployment, MPB Today might be considered a sort windfall for the check-cashing companies.

    I think it is POSSIBLE that Walmart started to notice some red flags or that MPB Today returned debit cards or something else of value for credit — and then started to redistribute the “In Store Credit” cards to certain members.

    At the same time, I think it is POSSIBLE that MPB Today itself planted the seed early on that it had some sort of unique/special/contractual affiliation with Walmart. I am aware that the website once said MPB was only a “customer” of Walmart and that affiliates have to acknowledge that with a check box.

    Even if those safeguards were in place from Day One, some affiliates clearly haven’t followed them. This very likely means that MPB Today has come into possession of money based on misrepresentations — either its own, or the misrepresentations of affiliates.

    Throw in the pitches on the Ponzi boards and the damage those promoters/subscribers can do by directing dirty money from HYIPs, autosurfs, 2x2s and other insidious ventures to an “opportunity,” well, MPB Today may have a big problem.

    The check-waving videos are equally insidious, even if the affiliates aren’t wise to the ways of the MLM hucksters and have no ill intent.

    The thing for MPB Today affiliates to look for now, I believe, is any change in the status quo — and I do mean ANY change: a new bank, a new or “improved” compensation plan, new “bonuses,” new sources of gift cards, new stores, a delay in payments caused by purported “technical” problems, etc.

    It is a hallmark of scams to change things on the fly or try to become compliant retroactively.

    Participants in a “grocery” program that purportedly sells “food” vouchers are buying electronics and other merchandise. That is a huge RED FLAG — one of many.

    Patrick

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  6. Patrick: The reason why they have an adressed stamped envelope inside the FedEx or UPS letter envelope, is because if their letter envelope becomes damaged, FedEx or UPS will take the enclosed envelope and mail it to the intended party. They cannot open that envelope to check its contents, but if the card and check were loose inside the FedEX or UPS letter envelope, they have a right to view the contents. The cash gifters do this as it is illegal to ship cash in a FedEX or UPS letter envelope or package. Another reason to make you go hmmmm is this legal?

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  7. Lynn wrote: “The reason why they have an adressed stamped envelope inside the FedEx or UPS letter envelope . . .”

    Lynn,

    The video I’m referring to here showed a Priority Mail envelope from the U.S. Postal Service. Inside that envelope was another Priority Mail envelope (smaller). It, too, was addressed. It also appeared to have been stamped for U.S. postage.

    Just wanted to make that clear.

    The inner envelope had a picture (lower left corner) of a woman holding a bag of groceries. This envelope contained the debit card and the gift card.

    The narrator at first called the debit card a “gift card.” After a while, he realized he’d been sent a debit card, plus a gift card.

    Regards,

    Patrick

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  8. Patrick: Thanks for the clarification, but to be honest I think they thought since they had to do this for FedEx and UPS, they also thought they had to do it for the USPS. These people are not the brightest bulbs in the lamp. From the appearances in the video, they are ludky to be able to walk and talk at the same time. Forget about chewing gum too.

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  9. Hi Lynn,

    As I noted in a previous column, MPB may have great curb appeal to the cash-gifters. Upon viewing the video in which an envelope was inserted in another envelope that contained a “gift card,” I’m more persuaded of that than ever.

    To the gifters, MPB, a program that marries a purported “grocery” business to a 2×2 matrix cycler that pumps out “gift cards,” may be a marriage made in heaven.

    Regards,

    Patrick

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