TelexFree, WCM777 (Etc.) — In Pictures

California-based WCM777, an MLM “program,” got booted out of Massachusetts in November 2013, amid allegations of securities fraud and affinity fraud targeted at the Brazilian community through hotel pitchfests. WCM777, purportedly operated by Ming Xu and recruiting affiliates to conduct business over the Internet, later got booted out of California. In addition to the Brazilian community, WCM777 targeted people who speak Spanish and people who speak Chinese, perhaps Christians in particular.

Massachusetts launched a probe into TelexFree, another MLM “program” associated with hotel pitchfests and affiliate recruitment over the Internet, at least by Feb. 28 of this year — probably sooner, given the nature of WCM777. TelexFree largely is targeting speakers of Portuguese and Spanish, perhaps Christians in particular. It also has an affiliate presence in India and Africa (at least).

Although the schemes do not appear to have common ownership, both WCM777 and TelexFree offered plans that encouraged recruits to buy in at higher levels to get higher “earnings.” Affiliates of each scheme appear to have engineered subschemes in which their recruits could buy in at higher levels than the “programs” themselves advertised, potentially introducing a second layer of fraud.

What this means, in essence, is that neither TelexFree nor WCM777 may know their real bottom lines and that the firms created an environment that encouraged back-alley, illegal sales of securities and secret deal-making among individual promoters. Individuals ostensibly acting as brokers for TelexFree and WCM777 could be cherry-picking cash and not even sending it to the “program” operators. In short, certain people could be creating personal and organizational underground economies and fleecing TelexFree and WCM777 even as they fleece their own marks and recruits.

Hidden members of both “programs” may be getting paid in cash by their upline sponsors or ostensible brokers, with no record of their participation — even if they supplied cash or an equivalent to join the “programs.”

The only safe assumption in HYIP Ponzi Land is that any system that can be abused will be abused.  That’s why these “programs” necessarily must be viewed through the lens of national security.

Presented below are some screen shots that demonstrate promotional ties between TelexFree and WCM777. In certain instances, the websites pictured below are promoting not only TelexFree and WCM777, but also other “programs.” One of them, for instance, is promoting the almost indescribably insidious and bizarre Banners Broker “program.”

As always is the case in HYIP investigations, the concern is that banks locally, regionally, nationally and internationally are being used by corporate scammers first as warehouses to store illicit proceeds — and later, by individual promoters at potentially thousands and thousands of locations, as virtual ATMs that provide the service of offloading the “earnings” of the promoters.

The interconnectivity of these schemes endangers local, regional, state, provincial and national economies. In many cases, promoters engage in willful blindness and simply move to another MLM HYIP scam when the current “hot” one encounters regulatory intervention or craters on its own.

It’s often the case that promoters plant the seed that a scheme has been endorsed by a government or that a corporate registration is surefire “proof” that no scam exists. Social media invariably is used to help a scheme proliferate or achieve Internet virality.

One of the shots below is from a YouTube video in which a TelexFree promoter seeks to plant the seed that TelexFree is backed by the Better Business Bureau. The narrator’s words in the video suggest he sought to plant the same seed about WCM777 but had to backtrack when he discovered a BBB listing that referred to WCM777 as a Ponzi scheme.

“Today we’re going to compare two of the most dynamic companies out there taking over right now,” the narrator said.

After recording a search of the BBB site for a TelexFree listing and finding one, the narrator suggested that the listing alone was proof that TelexFree was not a scam. He thereafter performed a search for WCM777 and found a Ponzi reference, thus triggering what appeared to be backtracking from his earlier claims that TelexFree and WCM777 were “dynamic companies.”

It also could be the case, we suppose, that he already knew about the WCM777 Ponzi listing before performing the search and that the design all along was to get people to go with TelexFree because WCM777 was a scam. Even under that interpretation, however, the video still demonstrates the underhandedness within the HYIP sphere.

The HYIP sphere always screams incongruity. Keeping that in mind, we’ll point out that one of the screen shots below shows TelexFree executive James Merrill in the same affiliate-manufactured frame as Massachusetts Commonwealth Secretary William Galvin. It was a clear bid to suggest that because TelexFree was registered as a corporation in Massachusetts, the “program” couldn’t possibly be a scam.

That is hogwash, of course. Galvin did not endorse TelexFree when his office approved a corporate registration. Besides, Galvin — as Commonwealth Secretary — oversees both the Massachusetts Corporations Division and the Securities Division. The Securities Division is probing TelexFree and possibly can rely on various documents in the Corporations Division to help investigators connect dots.

Beyond that, the website from which the screen shot promoting TelexFree by marrying images of Merrill and Galvin was taken also is promoting WCM777. Also shown below is an image from the same site in which Merrill is shown posing beside a giant SUV. Contrast that image against the image of Merrill posing in front of a large Massachusetts building as though TelexFree were its only occupant. TelexFree promoters have used the same approach, planting that seed that TelexFree owns the building and has a large physical presence in the United States.

That’s hogwash, too. TelexFree was an occupant of Suite 200 at a Regus center in Marlborough, along with dozens of other companies.

Finally, before observing the shots below, recognize that MLM itself — never a stranger to scandal — may be on the verge of experiencing a PR and legal crisis of unprecedented proportions.

People have harshly criticized hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman for attacking Herbalife. Among his contentions is that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme that targets vulnerable populations. Say what you will about Ackman’s Herbalife claims, but it is crystal clear that affinity fraud and the viral looting of  impoverished/disadvantaged people have existed in the MLM realm for a long time and continues to be seen. One might even be inclined to say a market-making fraud blueprint exists within MLM: mow down one affinity cluster or population group and then move to another.

At a minimum, “programs” such as TelexFree and WCM777, which clearly have positioned themselves as wealth recipes for immigrants and vulnerable populations, can help Ackman shape and inform his Herbalife hypothesis.

James Merrill is TelexFree’s president and thus an MLM executive. TelexFree and Merrill, to date, have played into virtually every MLM stereotype that exists — everything from private jets, monster SUVs and stretch limos to business registrations and mail drops in Nevada.

Most disturbingly, though, Merrill represents an American MLM company that has been banned in Rwanda, an African nation that is trying to reverse poverty and receives aid from the World Bank. It’s hard to conceive that MLM — particularly American MLM — could card a worse PR disaster. Regardless, one could be in the offing.

Picture Story

1.

A TelexFree promoter who also promoted WCM777 plants the seed that Massachusetts Commonwealth Secretary William Galvin endorsed TelexFree. Galvin's office is investigating TelexFre after previously booting WCM from the state.

A TelexFree promoter who also promoted WCM777 extends the myth that TelexFree has a large physical presence in the United States and plants the seed that Massachusetts Commonwealth Secretary William Galvin endorsed TelexFree. Galvin’s office is investigating TelexFree after previously booting WCM777 from the state.

2.

A promoter simultaneously pitches TelexFree and WCM777.

A promoter simultaneously pitches TelexFree and WCM777. This shot is from the same site described in the photo above. The site may be based in Ecuador.

3.

This shot is from the same two sites described in the shots above -- and features TelexFree President James Merrill posing with a giant SUV.

This shot is from the same two sites described in the captions above — and features TelexFree President James Merrill posing with a giant SUV.

4.

This shot was taken on the same site described in the three preceding captions above. In this fourth shot, a person promoting both TelexFree and WCM777 claims that the purported parent company of WCM777 provided a loan of $20 million to a restaurant chain that sells Mexican food. The PP Blog has deleted an image of the chain's logo that appears in the WCM777 promo. The same site plants the seed that WCM has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to jewels of American business.

This shot was taken on the same site described in the three preceding captions above. In this fourth shot, a person promoting both TelexFree and WCM777 claims that the purported parent company of WCM777 provided a loan of $20 million to a restaurant chain that sells Mexican food. The PP Blog has deleted an image of the chain’s logo that appears in the WCM777 promo. The same site plants the seed that WCM has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to jewels of American business.

5.

This site features promos for various purported "opportunities," including TelexFree and WCM777.  Though not shown in the photo, the site also is promoting the uber-bizarre Banners Broker "program." The site may be based in Italy.

This site features promos for various purported “opportunities,” including TelexFree and WCM777. Though not shown in the photo, the site also is promoting the uber-bizarre Banners Broker “program.” The site may be based in Italy.

6.

This site also is simultaneously promoting TelexFree and WCM777.

This site also is simultaneously promoting TelexFree and WCM777.

7.

This YouTube site describes TelexFree and WCM777 as "dynamic companies" and plants the seed that TelexFree is endorsed by the Better Business Bureau.

This YouTube site describes TelexFree and WCM777 as “dynamic companies” and plants the seed that TelexFree is endorsed by the Better Business Bureau.

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2 Responses to “TelexFree, WCM777 (Etc.) — In Pictures”

  1. PPBlog, picture #2 specifically mentions Peru in the SkypeID WCM777UnidosPeru, not Ecuador.

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  2. (So it’s in both Ecuador AND Peru?)

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