SporTV Video Shows That TelexFree, An Alleged Pyramid Scheme, Is Using A Shared Office Facility In Massachusetts With At Least 25 Other Firms

A SporTV reporter enters suite 200. Source: screen shot from SporTV video.

A SporTV reporter enters suite 200. Source: screen shot from SporTV video.

UPDATED 9:21 A.M. ET (FEB. 22, 2014 U.S.A.) As the PP Blog reported on July 4, 2013, TelexFree is using a shared office facility in Marlborough, Mass. Promoters of TelexFree, alleged in Brazil to be a massive pyramid scheme that may be using a VOIP product as a front, have shown photos of TelexFree President James Merrill posing outside the building. Some promoters appear to believe that the building somehow serves as proof that TelexFree is legitimate and has a large-scale, brick-and-mortar presence in the United States.

It is somewhat common for MLM schemes to create the illusion of physical scale as a means of instilling confidence in promoters. Other than the facility and suite it shares with other firms, however, TelexFree appears to have no physical presence in the United States.

Apparently flush with cash despite a freeze on funds in Brazil, TelexFree announced last week that it was sponsoring the Botafogo soccer club in Rio de Janeiro. This prompted Brazil’s SporTV to send a crew to Marlborough and to seek comment from Merrill.

The video report that emerged [Feb. 22 edit: If you can’t see the video, look here] appears to show that TelexFree is a tenant with at least 25 other firms in a single suite: suite 200. An August 2011 report at Examiner.com about office options in Marlborough noted that suite 200 “is home to 103 different companies, 45 of which actually reside at the Regus center on the second floor.”

As shown in the screen shot above from the SporTV video, the camera shows the reporter entering suite 200.

After being greeted by a receptionist in the suite — and it’s unclear if the receptionist worked for TelexFree or the leasing company — the reporter sits down with Merrill.

“I don’t want to get into the financial end of the [Botafogo] sponsorship,” Merrill told the reporter.

Some Brazilians have expressed concerns that TelexFree’s sponsorship of Botafogo could hurt the image of Brazil and soccer in the country, which produced the internationally acclaimed Pelé, one of the most famous athletes in the world and soccer’s most enduring figure. (For many Americans of a certain age, Pelé, who briefly played for the New York Cosmos in the 1970s after playing for the Brazilian national team and the celebrated Santos club, represented their first contact with a sport that is hugely popular internationally but less so in the United States, where baseball, American football, basketball and hockey dominate the airwaves. Decades after his stint with the Cosmos, however, Pelé still is spoken about warmly in the United States.)

TelexFree, which has “Inc.” (Massachusetts) and “LLC” (Nevada) versions of its name, appears also to be using the name TelexFree International, including at the Marlborough office facility.  Where the “International” version of TelexFree is officially based is unclear. A Nevada entity known as WorldTelexFree LLC is listed as in “default,” according to Nevada records.

A Facebook site dubbed “TelexFree International” forms part of its URL with the slug of “getpaidweeklyguaranteed.”

In other TelexFree news, a Facebook site styled “TelexFreeInUSA” appears not to have been updated since Jan. 10. The site, which is linked to TelexFree promoter and cash-gifting enthusiast Scott Miller, had been updated almost daily prior to the 10th.

At the time of this PP Blog post, the last headline on the TelexFreeInUSA site read, “OVER THIRTY THOUSAND! Positions Under Me! 100% Of Them Being Paid Weekly! STOP Marketing Programs Where Only 1% Ever . . .”

The site appears not to include an explanation for the sudden lack of postings.

Some promos for TelexFree, including promos from Miller’s group, have claimed that $15,125 sent to the firm returns $57,200 ($42,075 plus the return of the full initial outlay) in a year and that lesser sums return lesser amounts. TelexFree promoters claim they get paid for posting ads online about the company.  In 2012, Zeek Rewards, a U.S. company with a similar ad-posting requirement, was accused by the SEC of operating a “classic” Ponzi scheme that gathered hundreds of millions of dollars and paid members with incoming funds from other members.

Among other things, Zeek promoters appeared to believe that an office the company controlled in North Carolina somehow demonstrated that Zeek was not a scam. Not only was Zeek a scam, but it may be the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history based on the number of victims created, an estimated 800,000. The SEC accused Zeek of securities fraud and selling unregistered securities.

Based on Google search results in July 2013, TelexFree promoters seemed to be confused about the physical presence of TelexFree and how old the company is. These phrases appeared in the July search results:

  • “TelexFree is real brick and mortar 9 year old business, a solid program where . . .”
  • “TelexFREE itself with its cutting edge products have been around for over 10 years . . .”
  •  “Telexfree is an 11 year old company . . .”
  • “This 13 year old Advertise & Technology company called TelexFREE, will pay you . . .”
  •  “Telex Free is a multi level marketing company that was established in Brazil in 2002 . . .”

TelexFree appears to have been formed from the shell of an entity known as Common Cents Communications Inc. in February 2012.

 

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14 Responses to “SporTV Video Shows That TelexFree, An Alleged Pyramid Scheme, Is Using A Shared Office Facility In Massachusetts With At Least 25 Other Firms”

  1. Great, they rented a conference room too. Phooey.

    I said that’s a virtual office since July 2013. TelexHeads don’t care.

    http://amlmskeptic.blogspot.com/2013/07/telexfree-location-lie-its-tvi-express.html

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  2. In other news, a company that formerly “guaranteed” Zeek income if you paid them to post ads for you… is now offering the SAME service for TelexFree folks… using the SAME name: AdAssure, albeit now it’s AdAssureLite.

    And this company is pushed by TelexFree’s “international marketing director” Steve Labriola himself, in his OWN Youtube video.

    http://amlmskeptic.blogspot.com/2014/01/scam-absurdities-leopard-cant-change.html

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  3. Now a very important thing. The journalist in the video report linked to this text says clearly that “TelexFree name does not appear in the panel” – and shows the panel listing dozens of other firms at suite 200, between 0:31 and 0:35.

    But there is one thing that she did not notice. TelexFree IS listed in the panel, but in a very spooky way. Right at the beginning, as DISKAVONTADE.

    Just check a whois on TelexFree’s website domain: http://whois.domaintools.com/telexfree.com

    You’ll quickly spot what “Disk a Vontade” is. It is the young TelexFree. Years ago, the current owners of TelexFree – Carlos Costa, Carlos Wanzeler and James Merrill – used to have this small company, and also used to work with voip, etc. Summary: the same old scam.

    Now someone please explain me WHY TELEXFREE HIDES THERE UNDER A DIFFERENT NAME. If it’s not the case that TelexFree does not want to be easily found there (by US authorities?), then I don’t know what else could it be.

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  4. Maurício Gomes: Now a very important thing. The journalist in the video report linked to this text says clearly that “TelexFree name does not appear in the panel” – and shows the panel listing dozens of other firms at suite 200, between 0:31 and 0:35.

    But there is one thing that she did not notice. TelexFree IS listed in the panel, but in a very spooky way. Right at the beginning, as DISKAVONTADE.

    Thank you for this, Maurício.

    Patrick

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  5. One more thing: check out James Merrill, the current “president” of TelexFree, saying: “My name is Jim Merrill, vice president of the business (we’re?) developing here, Disk a Vontade”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhBI-ARoxaI

    This video seems to be from 2009, because that same YouTube channel has a second video featuring Carlos Wanzeler saying some words in portuguese on their old scam, and in the end he says: “2009 promises”.

    As you can see, Merrill and Wanzeler know each other for a long time, and that Regus building has been the “headquarter” for all their businesses in the latest years.

    What puzzles me is why they still didn’t put the TelexFree brand on the panel at the entrance of the building. They never explained this disguise, and in my opinion, it’s because they don’t want to be easily found (by US authorities).

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  6. Maurício Gomes: One more thing: check out James Merrill, the current “president” of TelexFree, saying: “My name is Jim Merrill, vice president of the business (we’re?) developing here, Disk a Vontade”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhBI-ARoxaI

    Thanks for this, Mauricio. It leads to this one — again with the building in Massachusetts as the backdrop. There appears to be no mention of Diskavontade.

    Patrick

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  7. Wait, isn’t that the one where Fabiano just walks through the building and talking to himself and the camera claiming the whole building belongs to TelexFree?

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  8. FYI, there appears to be TelexFree registered in the UK, and possibly Cyprus, according to some third-hard reports.

    One of those addresses also belongs to Regus

    http://amlmskeptic.blogspot.com/2013/09/telexfree-uk-office-is-lie-and-heres.html

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  9. diskavontade.com is still active

    Gazeta Globo noticed the same thing back in March 2013, no TelexFree

    http://gazetaonline.globo.com/_conteudo/2013/03/noticias/dinheiro/1416366-telexfree-usa-sede-virtual-nos-estados-unidos.html

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  10. K. Chang:
    Wait, isn’t that the one where Fabiano just walks through the building and talking to himself and the camera claiming the whole building belongs to TelexFree?

    False alarm, sorry. That was “Sann Rodriguez” that did the walkthru.

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  11. K. Chang: False alarm, sorry. That was “Sann Rodriguez” that did the walkthru.

    You mean this Sann Rodriguez?

    http://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/2006/lr19715.htm

    SEC headline from 2006:

    SEC Halts Fraudulent Pyramid Scheme Targeting Brazilian Community and Obtains Emergency Restraining Orders and Asset Freezes

    Patrick

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  12. From Patrick’s link:

    “.,.. The Commission alleged in its complaint that the defendants falsely promised members of the Brazilian community that they would earn substantial sums of money by paying approximately $2,000 to $5,000 to become members of a company referred to as the FoneClub that purportedly sells prepaid telephone calling cards through a multi-level marketing structure. However, the complaint alleged that the defendants, who have emphasized to potential investors that neither they nor the company will earn profits from the sale of phone cards, are in reality luring victims into a pyramid scheme in which its members only make money through the recruitment of new members. The complaint alleged that the defendants emphasized in their sales pitch, which was given in Portuguese, that God wanted the Brazilian community to prosper financially and that the FoneClub would provide the opportunity for it to do so…,..”

    Gee, what does that remind us of?

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  13. GlimDropper: The complaint alleged that the defendants emphasized in their sales pitch, which was given in Portuguese, that God wanted the Brazilian community to prosper financially and that the FoneClub would provide the opportunity for it to do so…,..”

    Gee, what does that remind us of?

    Hello Glim,

    It reminds me of two things: The God talk reminds me of TelexFree’s Carlos Costa (and also of AdSurfDaily’s Andy Bowdoin), of course.

    But the FoneClub “telephone card” product as discussed in the 2006 SEC complaint against Sann Rodrigues reminds me of the alleged “PhoneCard USA” Ponzi scheme conducted by Istvan Merchenthaler in the Philadelphia region beginning in May 2006, the same month the SEC filed against Rodrigues.

    The alleged Merchenthaler scheme is notable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the Feds later found pipe bombs in a Philadelphia region storage shed allegedly rented in Merchenthaler’s name.

    http://patrickpretty.com/2013/03/08/developing-story-pipe-bombs-reportedly-found-in-pennsylvania-storage-unit-rented-in-name-of-man-arrested-in-ponzi-scheme-case/

    More pipe bombs allegedly linked to Merchenthaler were found south of Philadelphia, in the area of Wilmington, N.C. The Feds have been mum, according to the Star News of Wilmington:

    http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20131229/ARTICLES/131229745#gsc.tab=0

    Merchenthaler also appears to have spent some time in Brazil.

    In March 2013, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Merchenthaler, in April 2004, “was arrested in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on charges of drug trafficking. He had 20 kilograms of cocaine, according to court records. He was released in February 2005, according to court records.”

    http://articles.philly.com/2013-03-09/news/37583321_1_pipe-bombs-ponzi-scheme-new-charges

    Patrick

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  14. Quick note: If the SporTV video link at the beginning of the fourth paragraph in the story above generates an error message, look here:

    http://globotv.globo.com/sportv/redacao-sportv/v/mesmo-com-processos-na-justica-do-brasil-telexfree-sera-a-patrocinadora-do-botafogo/3078745/

    At approximately the 3:11 mark, the nameplate of “TELEXFREE INTERNATIONAL” from the Massachusetts building appears in the SportTV report.

    So, we know that there are TelexFree LLC (Nevada) and TelexFree Inc. (Massachusetts) versions of the TelexFree name with footprints in the United States and that TelexFree also is using the name TelexFree International in the United States — literally within the Massachusetts building. I’m not sure where the TelexFree International version is officially based.

    Patrick

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