TelexFree, which has a U.S. arm in Massachusetts, purports to be in the communications business. The MLM company is under investigation in multiple states in Brazil, amid pyramid-scheme concerns.
Here is a link to a Google-translated version (from Portuguese to English) of one story in Brazil about the reported death threats.
Here is a link to the original story not translated into English.
Some Americans have claimed that a payment of $15,125 to TelexFree results in an income of at least $1,100 a week for a year.
Death threats and threats in general are not unprecedented in the pyramid-scheme world. In the World Marketing Direct Selling (WMDS) and OneUniverseOnline (1UOL) cases brought in Massachusetts in 2005, accused schemer James Bunchan discussed a plot to murder a federal prosecutor and 12 witnesses. He was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison after being convicted of the pyramid charges and an additional 25 years after being convicted in the murder plot.
The pyramid scheme was targeted at Cambodian-Americans who had little command of English.
In other news, federal prosecutors in Miami today announced the arrests of Daniel Carrasco, 54, and Federico Martin Gioja, 45, both of Miramar, Fla. The men were accused of falsely trading on the name of the Univision television network, targeting Spanish-speaking prospects and using a “phone room in Argentina to extract money from consumers, using lies and extortion.”
“These defendants specifically targeted Spanish-speaking victims, pretending to be affiliated with Univision, to sell their products from their phone room in Argentina, when in fact, they had absolutely no connection to Univision, and their companies did not deliver the products consumers ordered,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida. “We are committed to investigating and prosecuting such fraudsters, both domestic and international, whose schemes defraud consumers.”
If the customers of Carrasco and Gioja complained, prosecutors said, the “Argentinian phone room telemarketers called and falsely threatened consumers with arrest, deportation or fines on their gas and electric bills.”
The scheme was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Charges against the men include conspiracy, fraud and extortion.