Updated 8:36 a.m. ET (Feb. 26, U.S.A.) Some TelexFree promoters may be lobbying the company and Brazil-based executive Carlos Costa to keep its original Ponzi scheme intact, according to a Blog post (in Portuguese) observed by the PP Blog this morning.
BehindMLM.com reported on Feb. 19 that TelexFree may be in the process of changing its compensation plan. Details remain murky. It is common for fraud schemes that either know they are under scrutiny or sense they soon will be to change rules or make cosmetic tweaks to keep money coming in.
After-the-fact changes, however, cannot unring bells of HYIP fraud that already have been rung. And the changes sometimes introduce new disguises designed to sustain a Ponzi deception.
TelexFree, alleged in Brazil to be a pyramid scheme, has been under investigation in that country since at least June 2013. In the AdSurfDaily and Zeek Rewards Ponzi/pyramid cases in the United States, prosecutors said that both firms made cosmetic tweaks in bids to stay under the radar.
Here is a Google translation from Portuguese to English of the Blog post that may signal that some TelexFree reps want the firm to cling to a Ponzi business model (italics added):
Campaign advisers on social networks asking an unchanged Marketing Plan International Telexfree.
And you, what do you think? Want to try the new plan Telexfree or would you change anything, because this plan is already excellent?
Share if you do not want changes in Telexfree.
Affiliates of online Ponzi schemes often claim their “program” is legal and excellent because it pays. But all successful Ponzi schemes pay. Bernard Madoff’s epic scheme “paid” — until it didn’t. And the Ponzi scheme of George Theodule aimed at Haitian immigrants also “paid” — until it didn’t.
Theodule, 52, was sentenced yesterday to 150 months in federal prison.
“George Louis Theodule defrauded his victims out of millions of their hard-earned dollars,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida.
“[Theodule] did so by taking advantage of people who trusted him because of their cultural affinity,” Ferrer said. “Such tactics are intolerable, especially given that some of his victims lost their entire life savings. This sentence should send a strong message to those who prey on the trust of others: you will get caught and justice will be served.”
Also on the Blog reporting potential dissatisfaction with TelexFree changes was a post on something called CicloFAST, possibly an emerging “opportunity” of some sort. The CicloFAST website prominently displays a photo of a MasterCard.
Like TelexFree, CicloFast styles the last four letters of its name in uppercase — i.e. FREE and FAST. It was not immediately clear if the firms had a business relationship.
Some U.S.-based promoters of TelexFree claim that $15,125 sent to the company effectively will triple or quadruple in a year. Among the firm’s key pitchman is Sann Rodrigues, a former SEC defendant in a pyramid-scheme and affinity-fraud case.
Rodrigues, a purported TelexFree millionaire, has been billed by the firm as a headliner at a planned TelexFree convention March 1 and 2 in Spain.
Any change in the TelexFree compensation plan could lead to questions about why Rodrigues was permitted to make large sums of money under a plan that now needs to be changed and whether less-successful affiliates now will be hamstrung even tighter.
Some TelexFree promoters have demonized the Brazilian prosecutors who brought the pyramid case in the state of Acre. It is common for HYIP scams to pander to the rank-and-file and to marry the processes of demonization and envy.