URGENT >> BULLETIN >> MOVING: American Red Cross Sends ‘Cease-And-Desist’ Letter To Asteria Foundation

URGENT >> BULLETIN >> MOVING: The American Red Cross, which opened a probe last week into the potential misuse of its name and logo by the Asteria Philanthropic Foundation, has sent the foundation a letter to cease and desist.

Anne Marie Borrego, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross in Washington, D.C., said this morning that the letter went out yesterday. The Asteria Philanthropic Foundation, also known as the Asteria Foundation, uses a Hong Kong street address and has issued at least one undated “press release” that uses a dateline of Reston, Va.

The foundation is linked to Club Asteria, a purported earnings “program” that traded on the name of the World Bank and became a darling of the Ponzi boards earlier this year before suspending cashouts.

The Red Cross logo and name appeared in Club Asteria’s October 2011 house organ, which the firm uses for recruiting. The Red Cross name and logo also appears on the Asteria foundation’s .org domain.

Claims about Club Asteria caught the attention of CONSOB, the Italian securities regulator, in May. Officials in Virginia last week said that neither Club Asteria nor Asteria Corp. was registered to sell securities in the state. Asteria Corp. is Club Asteria’s apparent parent company.

Virginia officials declined to say whether a state-level probe into the activities of Club Asteria was under way.

A 2008 promo for AdSurfDaily features an image of Hank Needham, a purported Club Asteria principal. ASD later was implicated by the U.S. Secret Service in an alleged Ponzi scheme involving at least $110 million.

Club Asteria was widely promoted on Ponzi boards such as TalkGold and MoneyMakerGroup. Promoters later turned their attention to “programs” such as Centurion Wealth Circle and JustBeenPaid, which is trading on the names and images of Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Benjamin Franklin and “Mr. Spock” of the Star Trek movie and televison series.

Last month, Club Asteria removed an image of actor Will Smith from its house organ. This month, the company is trading on a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, the slain champion of freedom in India. A “JOIN OUR MISSION” button was placed inside a quote from Gandhi, whose name was misspelled in the publication.

See earlier story.

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6 Responses to “URGENT >> BULLETIN >> MOVING: American Red Cross Sends ‘Cease-And-Desist’ Letter To Asteria Foundation”

  1. Gadzooks, sorry I’m late to the party, but I just figured out that Asteria Foundation’s claim is legitimate. They are a self-described 501©(3) organization, which is not recognized by any government, as opposed to a 501(c)(3) organization, which is recognized as a tax exempt charity by the IRS…! How could I have missed that?

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  2. I am glad to see they took this action, but we all knew it was coming once they looked into it. Wonder how much longer before they have to take down Warren Buffet’s photo too?

    I think they should get Uncle Festa to put up a video for them. That will really help their membership drive.

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  3. I think the copyright symbol might be intentional but misguided. I’m fairly certain that saying you’re a 501(c)3 charity when you’re not is a Federal Offense, and if they find out about it the IRS will not think well of them. As to the symbol, part of me thinks that if they ever get called to book on it, they’ll attempt to say “but we didn’t say we were!” and cite the copyright symbol. Kind of like they “NDA” they use that contain clauses where you certify you are not a member of law enforcement. Ask Andy Bowdoin how that one worked out, btw.

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