PICTURE STORY: Club Asteria Promoters Claim Program Is ‘Passive’ Investment Opportunity; ‘Single Account’ Said To Return ‘About $20,000 Per Year’; Why Not Open Second Account In Same Household? Affiliate Asks
Club Asteria members now say the firm, which trades on the name of the World Bank, suddenly threatened recruits for making false claims about the program.
The PP Blog reported on April 4 that the program, which is being pumped on the Ponzi boards and the personal websites of thousands of Club Asteria members, was routinely being positioned as a “passive” investment opportunity. Some affiliates have tried to plant the seed that Google, Yahoo, MSN and America Online endorsed the program.
Such claims not only raise questions about whether Club Asteria is selling unregistered securities as investment contracts, but also raise questions about how much revenue the Virginia-based firm has raised based on the lies and misrepresentations of its own members.
Liars’ accounts will be terminated, the company reportedly advised members in recent days. What prompted Club Asteria to issue the warning was unclear. Also unclear is whether the firm has any means of determining how much revenue it has generated based on the false, misleading or dubious claims of its membership base, which is worldwide in scope.
The company provided no guidance to members on how they could be certain the money they received from Club Asteria was clean. Some of the forums from which the “opportunity” is being promoted are referenced in federal court filings as places from which Ponzi schemes are promoted.
“YOU MUST REMOVE THIS MATERIAL IMMEDIATELY AND CEASE THESE ACTIVITIES OR YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE SUSPENDED AND/OR TERMINATED AND POSSIBLE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST YOU WILL BE INITITATED (sic),” the firm reportedly warned in all-caps.
Club Asteria did not specify what form any legal action against its members would take or how many members received the warning. Nor did the firm say who would pay for any litigation that ensued or how international members would be served process. International litigation can be extremely costly and time-consuming.
Also unclear was whether Club Asteria planned to file police reports or notify agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission about the problems it claims its members are creating.
“YOU HAVE 72 HOURS TO RESPOND TO THE EMAIL ADDRESS WITH LINKS OR OTHER DOCUMENTATION SHOWING YOUR SITE IS IN COMPLIANCE,” Club Asteria reportedly continued.
Promoters claimed that Club Asteria specifically warned members that they:
- [C]annot say or imply that a Club-Asteria member can earn money without working for it.
- [C]annot say or imply that there is some minimum guarantee of how much money you will earn every week.
- [C]annot make or imply income projections of ANY type. Only income examples found on the Club-Asteria site and in official member materials may be used at any time.
- [C]annot say or imply that Club-Asteria membership is a passive investment or imply that this is an investment of any type.
- [C]annot say or imply that someone should join if they have no interest in the benefits of our products, programs and services.
- [C]annot invite, solicit or encourage others to join just because of our rewards program.
- [C]annot create your own website and say anything you want about Club-Asteria.
Research suggests, however, that thousands of websites globally have positioned Club Asteria as a “passive” investment program and published earnings suggestions, promises or guarantees. Each and every claim puts the enterprise at risk, and unringing the bell after months and months of dubious claims may be a tall order.
The screen shots below are just a small sampling of the kinds of claims that appear online about Club Asteria. Each of the sites was active as of this morning, despite the purported warning Club Asteria issued last week.