EDITORIAL: Sundays Aren’t What They Used To Be: Is The MPB Today Matrix Stalling? Was A ‘Rebate’ Plan Advanced On Ponzi Forum A Bid To Reinvigorate It? (And Why Is The Matrix Being Plugged As A ‘Grocery Assistance’ Program On A .Org Site?)

Sundays aren’t what they used to be.

“Ken Russo” announced Sunday on the ASA Monitor Ponzi and criminals’ forum — a forum from which other promoters are targeting people of faith to join the MPB Today “grocery” program — that a member of his “team” is offering $50 “rebates” to entice prospects to sign up. (Read more about the “rebates” program below.)

On the same day, known in the Christian faith as the Lord’s Day, MPB Today members who apparently were wooed by the company and its affiliates’ sales pitches came to the PP Blog to describe MPB Today critics as “roaches,” “IDIOTS,” “clowns,” “terrible” people, “misleading” people, people who have led a “sheltered life,” people who have been “chained up in a basement,” people who have “chips” on their shoulders, spewers of “hot air,” “naysayers,” “complainers,” “trouble maker[s]” and “crybabies.”

And these remarks came from just three people in the MPB Today organization, which promoters say has 30,000 members. One of them denied on Sunday that MPB Today pays participants to recruit, something that MPB Today itself does not deny. MPB says commissions are “banked” until promoters sign up at least two other participants, and that no one cycles until a downline group becomes populated by seven members, only one of whom “cycles” and earns a matrix payout.

For good measure, the same affiliate claimed on Sunday that she is paid for “grocery” sales, but chose not to answer a question about how many people within her organization actually bought groceries by overpaying for them through MPB Today. At the same time, she claimed MPB Today is sustainable because “[inherently] there is hard data that a certain % of people just will not get 2 people and cycle.”

It was easy to read that as a Sunday concession that MPB Today relies on matrix “losers” to create matrix “winners.” In any event, it wasn’t much of an endorsement for the company, a company the member also described as a “blessing.” Blessings, like Sundays, aren’t what they used to be, it seems.

Another MPB Today member claimed on Sunday that there are “[rogues]” in the organization. He did not explain whether he was being paid from rogue money or money sent in by honest affiliates.

MPB Today members should be worried. A “rebate” program may signal that the MLM firm’s 2×2 matrix cycler is stalling and that the only effective way for average members to recruit two members who can recruit two other members in order to “earn” cycler commissions is to bribe them to join the program.

It also may signal that promoters are trying to plant the seed that it’s time for their downlines to start spreading the word that MPB Today’s shipping costs are such a deal-killer that the only effective way for members to recruit is to tell prospects they’ll help them defray the shipping charges in the unlikely event they’re actually keen on buying overpriced groceries from a company that offers no money-saving generic products, ships dry goods “ONLY” and may charge customers who just overpaid for name-brand groceries up to $300 for $200 worth of food.

“Ken Russo” said the “rebate” program was limited to four participants and that his “team” member would go $50 out-of-pocket for each of the four new recruits swayed by the offer. “Ken Russo” advertised that MPB Today’s shipping charges could be up to $50, a claim at odds with what MPB Today itself claims.

Indeed, MPB Today says shipping charges may amount to up to 50 percent of the cost of a grocery order and perhaps may be even higher. MPB Today supplies only an “average” and plants the seed that perhaps customers should choose “lighter” items, as opposed to “heavy” items that are more expensive to ship. It’s even unclear how MPB Today arrived at its published “average”  of up to 50 percent, considering the company does not say how many of its purported 30,000 MLM customers actually get their groceries from the firm.

MPB Today is operated by Gary Calhoun. Calhoun once was the subject of a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration for hawking a product that purported to treat Lou Gehrig’s disease and, for good measure, Herpes and Alzheimer’s.

“Ken Russo” doesn’t seem keen on telling prospects about Calhoun’s FDA experience. What he seems keen on, apparently, is talking about the “rebate” program started by someone on his “team” — and posting the news on the ASA Monitor Ponzi and criminals’ forum on a Sunday.

If other MPB Today affiliates borrow the idea announced on a Sunday and the “rebate” program takes off and expands, it means that MPB Today sponsors who offer the “rebates” are absorbing additional costs in an enterprise that already is impossible mathematically.

Any money MPB Today’s affiliates pay in the form of rebates inures to the benefit of the company — a company that already operates a matrix heavily weighted in its favor. Do you really want to go out-of-pocket even more for a 2×2 matrix cycler that uses a business model that came under fire by the U.S. Secret Service in the alleged Regenesis 2×2 Ponzi scheme last year?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating specific claims about the MPB Today program, which has been targeted at Food Stamp recipients. What’s next? Recruiting America’s poor by enticing them with rebates and asking them also to offer rebates?

Whether the “rebates” idea advanced from a Ponzi and criminals’ forum on a Sunday will go viral is unknown. Some affiliates easily could latch onto it, persuading themselves it’s better to ply prospects with rebates than take the chance MPB Today’s matrix will perform the magic itself.  Our reading of the Sunday “rebates” idea is that it is an inducement to separate people from their money on all seven days of the week on the theory that it’s better to pay $50 on top of the $200 (plus website costs) you’ve already paid to plumb a commission.

If the MPB Today “grocery” program already is stalling, prospects may be few and far between if you’re aren’t willing to bribe them to overpay for groceries on the theory that doing it one time eliminates their grocery costs forever.

Here is another reason for MPB Today members to worry: Because the “rebate” program purportedly exists to defray the shipping costs MPB Today charges for the home delivery of groceries, it can be construed as an acknowledgment that MPB is not actually serious about selling groceries, that it is more interested in selling the “opportunity.”

If you’re an MPB Today member — and if you have not applied any sort of “reasonable person” standard to the program and instead have relied on hype from the company and your upline — you have made a mistake.

Any claim that a $200, “one-time” purchase of groceries from MPB Today can result in free groceries for life is absurd. Spin it as you will. Argue that it is theoretically possible. Argue that you’re already in “profit” and can vouch that the program “works.” Argue that members of your downline can make the same claim.

It is still absurd. No reasonable person would invest in such an argument and assign it any credibility at all. Jurors would laugh at such an argument. They shop at grocery stores. They know that a $200, one-time purchase and an accompanying claim that this relatively modest expense can result in free groceries for life is the precise sort of claim that exists only in the realm of the huckster.

Wait until they’re told about the “catch” — i.e., that an MPB Today member must get two who can get two (or produce $1,200 in sales volume in some other combo) to set the stage for “free” groceries for life. And wait until they’re told that an MPB Today shopper perhaps has to pay up to $300 for $200 worth of groceries and that lots of the purported “grocery” money seems to have been converted to Walmart gift cards that can be used to buy big-screen TVs and laptop computers.

And wait until they’re told that the conditions above have to be repeated, well, repeatedly, in order for members to continue to get paid.

Speaking of Sundays: We noticed on Sunday that an MPB Today affiliate was promoting the opportunity through a .org domain. The promo shows a cart full of groceries and a bag of groceries of the sort not available through MPB Today, along with a bag of money.

The promo on the .org site positions MPB Today as a “Grocery Assistance” program.

“Our Grocery Assistance Program is helping thousands of families earn CASH and FREE groceries!” the page screams.

It is not unusual for MLM participants to register a .org domain in a bid to plant the seed that prospects will be aiding a charity by enrolling in a program and paying a sign-up fee. Members of Narc That Car and Data Network Affiliates, for instance, registered .org sites and sought to link the MLMs to the national AMBER Alert program administered by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The .org domain in the MPB Today program we noticed on Sunday — and please note that we have observed several other .org domains linked to MPB Today — hints that it is a government program by using the word “assistance” in its title.

On a closing note, the .org domain we noticed on a Sunday also was registered on a Sunday — Sunday Aug. 22, 2010, according to records.

So, no, Sundays aren’t what they used to be.

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20 Responses to “EDITORIAL: Sundays Aren’t What They Used To Be: Is The MPB Today Matrix Stalling? Was A ‘Rebate’ Plan Advanced On Ponzi Forum A Bid To Reinvigorate It? (And Why Is The Matrix Being Plugged As A ‘Grocery Assistance’ Program On A .Org Site?)”

  1. It is an economic rule of nature that every ponzi scheme, everywhere, every time will collapse when it stops attracting new members. MPM will collapse regardless of the testimonials. Unfortunately, like every other ponzi scheme it is going to leave a lot of hurt people in the aftermath. Because of the way it is organized, these are probably people who can’t afford the loss. While the Federal government has been active in going after schemes, I can’t understand why this one continues. It seems clear to me that since no one takes the grocery scheme seriously, they are really selling “securities.” I don’t think that something has to grow to the point that hundreds of thousands of people lose their money before it is taken down.

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  2. Patrick:

    When Ken announced his ‘team’ member was making this offer, I asked him why he and the rest of his ‘team’ weren’t doing the same thing if this was so great of an offer? Of course I didn’t get a reply. I think this was a trial balloon to see if it worked or not.

    If this lasts through this month it will be lucky. The bloom is off the pumpkin.

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  3. Lynn, and “the vulture flies at midnight!!!”

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  4. While like every ponzi/pyramid scheme it will collapse and it will hurt a lot of people (86% will “lose”), I believe the majority know exactly what they are doing and know full well that this is a pyramid scheme. I expect that when this collapses we will get some people who claim that they are disabled/ill/retired, have lost the only money they had, and don’t have enough to pay essential bills. There may be some who will blame the evilgovernment for taking/not taking action against this scheme and/or its promoters.

    So far, everyone who has shown some sort of support for MPB Today has been involved in some sort of pyramid/ponzi/MLM scheme before. These people may hurt when it collapses but are not victims.

    I wonder if MPB Today will suffer from the “Christmas Effect” like so many other pyramid/ponzi schemes?

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  5. Kenneth Lougee: It seems clear to me that since no one takes the grocery scheme seriously, they are really selling “securities.”

    Hi Kenneth,

    I think the biggest risks here are mail fraud, wire fraud, money-laundering, conspiracy and RICO. I also think there is a risk of bank fraud, along with a lower risk risk of being charged with operating an unregistered Money Services Business under federal and state law. People have received debit cards sent in the mail by MPB Today, for instance.

    One of the questions could be whether MPB Today was hiding behind Walmart to commit a crime or crimes. I’d be very surprised if Walmart had a clear view of what was going on in its dealings with MPB Today/Southeastern.

    One can argue rationally that someone close to MPB Today might have made the calculation that the company could use Walmart in a nefarious way.

    I think the autosurf, HYIP and cash-gifting and tax-denying crowd are in this and, at least early on, that MPB Today welcomed them to prime the pump of the 2×2 matrix. This is just speculation, but I think it’s possible that Walmart “caught” this and already has dealt with it.

    It cannot be cool to be Walmart and see your name on the Ponzi boards. And it can’t be cool to be Walmart and see MPB Today promoters telling the American people that Walmart is part of this action and that America’s poverty stricken should sell $200 worth of Food Stamps to join MPB Today and get a gift card from Walmart.

    And how about this? Hillary Clinton, the former First Lady of the United States and the current U.S. Secretary of State, was on Walmart’s BOARD OF DIRECTORS back when President Clinton was governor of Arkansas.

    Secretary Clinton, of course, was pilloried in an ad for MPB Today, as was the current President of the United States, President Obama. The ad also depicted First Lady Michelle Obama as having experienced an embarrassing gas attack in the Oval Office after sampling “beans” at Walmart’s Sam’s Club.

    How cool can any of this be if you’re Walmart? An MPB Today affiliate told the troops that Democrats aren’t worth having as customers because the Dems in charge are — strangely enough — Nazis.

    If Walmart has ANY business tie with MPB Today, it is inconceivable that it would not sever it. Amateurs are in charge of MPB Today’s message — and when amateurs are in charge, you get Obama and Secretary Clinton as Nazis and the First Lady (and mother or two daughters) as a woman who is stinking up the joint.

    Sam Walton (the late founder of Walmart) asked Secretary Clinton to serve on the board when she was First Lady of Arkansas in 1986.

    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0312-01.htm

    Patrick

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  6. Lynn wrote: “When Ken announced his ‘team’ member was making this offer, I asked him why he and the rest of his ‘team’ weren’t doing the same thing if this was so great of an offer? Of course I didn’t get a reply. I think this was a trial balloon to see if it worked or not.”

    I wrote:

    Hi Lynn,

    It also impressed me as a trial balloon. “Big” sponsors could get some mileage out of this “rebate” program and let their downlines fund it.

    There have been claims, of course, that the matrix is so magical that people who are in it can cycle even when they’re on vacation and not selling a single thing. Perhaps “rebates” will be positioned as just another way people who are on vacation and not selling a single thing can make money with MPB Today.

    Patrick

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  7. This is amazing. Why do the big promoters always walk away from these deals? I have reported them along with others but nothing ever happens. They just move to the next big scam. I am just one man that is all. Why does it take so long to shut this down? The writing is on the wall.

    I have all but given up. No one can know my frustation but me. I am sick and tired of the goverment dragging their feet and letting the enablers get away scott free. I guess maybe I need to move on. I no longer feel I can make any difference. I tried at all the gov websites but nothing every happened.

    I understand now why people go to peoples house. I am frustrated.

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  8. Flashlight,

    Many share your frustrations but do not give up. The authorities have limited resources and can’t intervene in every scam (or even very many). I suppose if you are religious you can take solace in what lies ahead for the scammers in the afterlife. What’s left is to educate potential victims. While it seems that every child learned the adage “if it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t,” as adults sometimes people just want to believe. $200 for free groceries for life!!!!! It doesn’t pass any common sense test, and of course the math exposes it for the Ponzi scheme that it is, and yet people still join. The best that can be done is to provide the education, and then if people still choose to join, they are no longer victims.

    flashlight: This is amazing. Why do the big promoters always walk away from these deals? I have reported them along with others but nothing ever happens. They just move to the next big scam. I am just one man that is all. Why does it take so long to shut this down? The writing is on the wall. I have all but given up. No one can know my frustation but me. I am sick and tired of the goverment dragging their feet and letting the enablers get away scott free. I guess maybe I need to move on. I no longer feel I can make any difference. I tried at all the gov websites but nothing every happened. I understand now why people go to peoples house. I am frustrated.

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  9. Flashlight,

    It may seem disheartening at times, but it is worth hanging on in there. With the establishment of the new interagency Task Force, in the wake of the howler by the SEC to ignore warnings over the Maddoff ponzi, things are changing. Although you will rarely hear what happens to the information you present, it doesnt mean that it is not being heard. Generally speaking the investigations are confidential. ASD was raided by the SECRET Service after all. They dont hand out warnings first. As Patrick was able to confirm in his blog was that MPB Today is being investigated by the USDA. On the other hand, noone knows how Walmart have dealt with the complaints as they have not chosen to tell anyone. But rest assured that it is unlikely that they have done nothing.

    Frustrating? Yes. The wheels of state grind slowly. The people who run and promote fraudulent schemes are not complete fools, and all evidence has to be verified before prosecution can take place. On the bright side, it does appear that the bad old days of State ignorance of the realities of financial fraud,(which enabled Maddoff)and including on-line fraud, have generally gone. There have been an unprecedented number of prosecutions and investigations this year. The frustrating part is that, even if you have helped to stop something, you will rarely receive any feedback until you read about an arrest or prosecution in the news.

    The financial fraud industry is complex, international and is a multi billion dollar industry that has been built up by unscrupulous people over many years. Law enforcement is catching up. Hang on in there. Every little bit helps and, even though it might not feel like it, you, and every individual who reports a fraud, ARE making a difference.

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  10. Wishful Thinking:

    Excellent post, and so true. I want to add just a couple of things to what you and Entertained have said.

    When you consider that there are over 5,000 (we believe the number may be closer to 7,500) Internet investment scams/Ponzi’s of all sizes, law enforcement cannot be everywhere at once. The other problem is these Internet investment scams/Ponzi’s tend to disappear and run with the money before law enforcement can even get an investigation going let alone act.

    Silence is a scammers best friend. So tell everyone about them. Spread the word. File a complaint, and get everyone you know to do likewise. The key to all of this is education of the public. Post on financial blogs, or financial forums warning people about these scams. Tell your friends and neighbors about these scams. The more people who know, the less people who will join and lose their money.

    But things are changing, and they are changing for the better. Governments worldwide have woken up to just how big and costly these scams are to their nation’s economies. While they cannot get them all, they will get the big ones that are stealing the most money.

    Understand, it is in the scammers playbook to tell their victims not to report it. The promoter’s of these scams tell you not to report it. They use the ‘evil’ government conspiracy theory, or the greedy receiver theory to keep people from reporting it. Others will not report it due to their ego, fear of family rejection, embarrassment, loss of reputation, etc.. It is not something you talk about at family gatherings as to how you lost your, or your family’s life savings to a scammer.

    I want to applaud you flashlight for reporting it to the authorities. The vast majority do not. But even that too is changing. So there are positive signs people reporting their loss is working and things will be done by law enforcement. You took a first step that most people who were scammed never do. Congratulations.

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  11. Thank you and I appolgize for blowing up so to speak. Its frustrating as you all know and I am not patient. MBT is such an obvious scam that I wonder why they are taking so long. The goverment is so inefficient in everything they touch it just drives me crazy.

    The people who promote these scams are another story. They know what they are doing and need to be put under the jail. There must be some legal grounds to get them. I just want the hammer to fall hard. When they get the promoters, and payment processors it will put a big stall to the scamming business.

    Until then, its just the same old story. Look at Uncle Andy who is still free and walking the streets along with Trevor Reed, Mrs Vee and countless others. Its pathetic. The message I got is that is ok to run a scam. I want justice.

    I will continue to follow this blog and hope somehow I can make some difference. I am not the sharpest tack in the drawer but I can spot a scam a mile away. I will also keep reporting these people. They may finally get sick of hearing about it and finally get up off their asses and do something about it. I can only hope. I am all for small goverment but this is one place they need to spend a ton of money and go for the throat and make examples out of people.

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  12. I will continue to follow this blog and hope somehow I can make some difference. I am not the sharpest tack in the drawer but I can spot a scam a mile away.

    LOL I wish that more people were as dumb as you. Many of the victims of the scams have been highly qualified people, but they did not expect fraud and were defrauded. People have not yet “wised up” to the reality of the internet and many still believe that it is true because they saw it on the net, in the same way people used to believe what they read in the papers and saw on the TV. They havent understood that you can be who you wish and say what you wish from the anonimity of their computers, but it doesnt make it true.

    It would not be wrong to say that most ponzi watchers are waiting to see what happens with the ASD case and how far down the food chain they prosecute. It may be further than you think, and may well serve as a deterent to the amateur ponzi promoters who the hard core rely on so much, and maybe, with luck, to the hard core promoters.

    The subject of the payment processors is a more complicated one as the majority of them are offshore for the US and have to be dealt with by other governments. This is certainly true of Alert Pay and STP, who are canada based and others who are in far away countries with little real fraud law enforcement. However there is a lot that can be done and surely will be done, especially if there are american citizens involved in them.

    The most important thing we can do is, as Lynn has said, educate our friends and colleagues. Write on the boards, point out the fraudulent schemes to the people that try to promote them to us or friends that we see promoting. Every little bit helps. People who understand that they are being enticed into illegal schemes can do the same for their own circle.

    One day these ponzis will just be a joke.

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  13. Wishful, they already ARE a joke!!! (albeit a costly one)

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  14. http://www.walmartfreedomclub.com/ Look @ this website.. makes it seem like it’s for walmart but it is actually for MPBToday.. OMG!!

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