The Cross-Border UFunClub Menace

From a promo for UFunClub/UToken online.

From a promo for UFunClub/UToken online.

UPDATED 7:57 A.M. EDT U.S.A. UFunClub and its purported digital currency known as UToken are the latest examples of grandiose absurdities in the MLM/network-marketing HYIP sphere. These transnational schemes pose an untenable economic and political danger. They must be destroyed.

To the people of Thailand and likely an incredibly large number of people in other nations, UFunClub/UToken is what a combine/knife cutter bar is to a field of grain: The people — living, breathing human beings — have been reaped, threshed and winnowed by equal-opportunity MLM/network-marketing scammers operating with reckless abandon.

Some of the alleged scammers reportedly were driving hot red sports cars or black ones.

The heart of the scam is that people are being duped into believing they’re investing in something Bitcoin-like, only on the ground floor, only better and only without any inherent risks such as price volatility and imbalances in supply and demand. As the screen shot above demonstrates, investors are told UToken values only can rise and never can fall.

The identity of UToken’s official scorer and the location from which he or she delivers this purportedly permanent miracle are unknown.

What is known is that harebrained schemes in this sphere are infamous for con men such as AdSurfDaily’s Andy Bowdoin, a “man behind a green curtain” who fabricated numbers to make the impossible appear to be plausible. This was done prior to the collapse, of course.

After the 2008 collapse — and prior to the imposition of a prison sentence against Bowdoin — investors were falsely told the government didn’t understand the “program” and the new way of doing business electronically.

Rigging numbers to create eye-pleasing (and wallet-opening) math also is an element in the prosecution of Paul Burks and others from the Zeek Rewards scheme that collapsed into a pile of Ponzi and pyramid rubble in 2012.

Burks’ green curtain allegedly was situated in a North Carolina building with an attached coin-operated laundry. Bowdoin’s was in a former flower shop in Florida. UFunClub/UToken appears to have arranged a much better backdrop for photos: an office tower.

Drones And Cops

Despite the arrests of his colleagues and an ongoing pyramid/Ponzi investigation by the police in his host country, Jamison Palmer, an American UFunClub/UToken promoter living in Thailand, has positioned himself as an insider.

In the aftermath of Ponzi/pyramid police raids against UFunClub/UToken in Thailand, it’s important to have the “proper perspective,” Palmer drones on video, building a narrative that the police have been misinformed and that the “media” is the real culprit.

UFunClub/UToken is not a Ponzi or pyramid scheme and is not the problem, he contends. The problem is that “the media in Thailand is notoriously corrupt.”

For good measure, Palmer adds, “Here in Thailand, it’s possible to pay off the media. UFun has a lot of jealous competitors, and so that may be what we’re looking at here. There’s obviously some type of agenda.”

It is common for MLM/network-marketing firms and affiliates to blame events on competitors with axes to grind. (Read here how Dawn Wright-Olivares did so at Zeek Rewards before the SEC shut down the “opportunity” and before she was sued civilly and charged criminally.)

Even Thailand’s Prime Minister has recognized that the country’s media lies and twists things, Palmer contends.

The Prime Minister, according to Palmer, is on record saying that “he’s going to shut the media down” if reporters keep telling lies. Palmer did not explain how the head of a Democracy answerable to 67 million inhabitants would go about the draconian business of halting presses, blocking broadcast signals and preventing web publishing.

In the wake of the Thailand investigation, UFunClub has been working with their “teams of attorneys” and is preparing “a calculated response,” Palmer says, prodding investors not to lose faith.

“We’re planning on acquiring as many UTokens as we possibly can,” he says of his recruitment team.

But even the core stories surrounding UToken are hard to reconcile. Some promoters say at least 22 percent of its value is backed by gold. Palmer claims that UToken holds “money-generating assets” such as interests in Asian commercial developments and the “marble-mining project, which has an estimated value of tens of billions of dollars.”

These dollars prop up the purported UToken “reserve,” Palmer says.

Even as the Thai probe moves forward, questions have been raised about whether UFunClub/UToken has found political cover in Malaysia. If the answer proves to be yes, it will only add to the cross-border horror. (Please see Concluding Note at bottom of column on a PP Blog theory of what could be contributing to the impression that UFunClub/UToken is operating with impunity in Malaysia.)

Thai police have been on the case since at least April 10, the date raids were conducted and the first arrests were made. The dollar volume involved may exceed $1.17 billion (U.S.).

UFunClub/UToken likely is based in Asia. Exactly where is unclear, even though there is a glistening office building in Bangkok that promoters point to as proof no scam exists. The “program” may be operating through layered nominees in multiple Asian nations and through corrupt Asian distributors who effectively are the local faces of the “program,” but are puppets on a string to the true braintrust.

How deeply it has penetrated the United States is unclear. But if you look at the screen shot below from a UToken promo in English and then visit this story and review some of the graphics and narratives from the TelexFree and AdSurfDaily Ponzi-scheme stories, you will quickly learn that UFunClub/UToken promoters used the same insidious marketing methods that put nearly $2 billion on the table for TelexFree and ASD combined.

Compare these instructions given to UFunClub/UToken recruits to those given recruits of TelexFree and AdSurfDaily.

Compare these instructions given to UFunClub/UToken recruits to those given recruits of TelexFree and AdSurfDaily.

There have been reports that some UToken investors, unnerved by reports of investigations, are trying to offload their holdings. The same thing happened with TelexFree “AdCentrals.”

Make no mistake: UFunClub, like TelexFree before it, is doing things that encourage black-market profiteers. And because serial scamming is part and parcel to this noxious sphere, scammers within the larger scam can be relied upon to expand the black market.

Some UFunClub/UToken figures are considered international fugitives. Some of these figures may not be managers or principals at all. Rather, they may be individuals who rented their faces or credentials to the “program” to give it a veneer of legitimacy.

The UFunClub/UToken Band Plays On

Despite the well-documented actions of Thai police to contain the damage, the UFunClub/UToken band plays on in Malaysia. Propaganda videos from American cheerleaders for the schemes appeared online over the weekend. They show Dato Daniel Tay, UFun’s purported executive chairman, being given the welcome of a rock star. Never mind that he is a suspected international felon allegedly involved in a colossal cross-border fraud.

An Ongoing MLM Symphony Of The Bizarre

The U.S.- and Brazil-based TelexFree “program” was an alleged $1.8 billion, cross-border pyramid and Ponzi scheme that potentially affected more than 1 million people in virtually all corners of the earth. You didn’t really believe the absurd claims that President Obama had TelexFree’s back and that TelexFree was engaging in lawful crowdfunding, did you?

Zeek Rewards was an alleged $897 million Ponzi- and pyramid scheme. Zeek was promoted in part as a “private, invitation-only” program.

How is UFunClub/UToken being promoted? Well, as a “private member registration only” program. In short, UFunClub/UToken’s script apple didn’t fall very far from Zeek’s insidious tree.

Zeek may have scalded 800,000 or more investors while also triggering Ponzi clawback litigation against thousands and thousands of alleged “winners” across the world. The claim that Zeek was “private” did nothing to forestall these lawsuits.

In Thailand so far, the prospect of Zeek-like clawback lawsuits has not been raised. Instead, in the early days of the probe, police appear to have concentrated on seizing vehicles, homes and other personal property. MLM/network-marketing fraud schemes typically are labyrinths with interconnected rabbit holes.

What else does one see online about UToken? Convenient, shoehorned daily claims that UToken is better than Bitcoin and has perfected a means by which the UToken value, unlike Bitcoin, only will rise and never will fall. As noted above, there are companion claims that UToken is backed by gold. The odd thing about that is that gold values fluctuate — and yet UToken purportedly does not.

How is UToken’s purported permanent upward movement possible? Well, to hear the cheerleaders tell it, UFunClub also has investments in mineral mining (marble) and major construction projects that are indefatigable cash cows, apparently whether building occupancy and retail activity is zero percent or 100 percent and whether consumer and corporate buying power rises or falls.

Remember the 2008 economic crisis that swept across the world and caused, among other things, waves of foreclosures in the United States at rates unseen since the Great Depression? Remember those sad and disturbing images of the stick-shells of homes and commercial sites sitting empty, their partially installed, tattered insulation flapping in the wind?

To hear the UFunClub/UToken Happy Land cheerleaders tell it, UFunClub/UToken apparently insulates investors worldwide from all of that — in fact, from any negative that could come down the pike.

UFunClub’s apparently perfect investments in marble and development projects apparently also serve as a hedge against drops in the price of of government-issued currency, further guaranteeing that UToken never will go down. The natural extension of this fantastic line of logic is UToken will go up even if gold and real estate go down and even if the dollar crashes.

It’s purportedly win-win with UToken in perpetuity, 24/7/365, apparently even if a recession occurs across the world, even if terrorists carry out a political assassination or an attack against masses of people that panics the markets, even if a major power grid goes offline through infrastructure neglect or actions by terrorists, even if an earthquake ravages a major population center and destroys commerce in that area or releases a radiation cloud.

Reduced to its essence, nothing can cause UToken to go down, not even the current criminal investigation that likely will expand into other countries. The narrative holds that income from UToken will be “passive,” there will be “splits” when it reaches a certain dollar value, the wealth will rain down on members as a whole and create an endless number of “millionaires,” and UToken will start trading on NASDAQ in 2016.

Wouldn’t you just love to see an SEC registration statement or a prospectus for an offering tied to a digital currency that purportedly is backed by a “private” reserve and can never go down in value? Can you imagine a jaw-dropping footnote that reads, “UToken’s value is perennially guaranteed to increase because we hold investments in marble and profit-generating construction projects?

Of course, UFun also purportedly engages in the sale of products such as cosmetics and perhaps juices. There’s not much talk about it, though. Almost all of the talk is about the miraculous marriage of businesses that apparently are unaffected by general marketplace conditions, inflation, interest rates, supply-chain issues, cross-border logistics and regional differences in money values.

Precisely who is keeping the books isn’t clear. Also unclear is how UFunClub/UToken deals with compliance issues in the dozens of countries in which it conducts operations.

The three screen shots in this PP Blog editorial are from the same online promo for UFunClub/UToken. Among the information not shown in the shots are references to a “home run” and these text lines (italics added/not in order as they appear in the text):

Talks and Agreements are also being held between the Chinese Governrment [sic] and UFUN Management to Officially Upgrade Utokens as China’s Recognized Digital Currency.

With so many more projects in The pipelines, It is no longer a SECRET that The Top Elites in Asia are Rushing to buy THEIR UTOKENS! And now it’s the English speakers turn to get their slice of this ever-growing massive pie!

NOTE

Please hold all bank wires until further notice

Hello Team,

I just got finished messaging with Jamison and have been told that we need to put a stop to sending wires altogether. They are on the verge of releasing their payment gateway and have asked that the wiring of funds cease. I do not have any further info about the payment gateway as of yet, but once that it established, we can move forward full steam ahead.

Based on the text lines, it seems clear that UFunClub/UToken has solicited investors across the world to wire money to the “program.” At some point, a marching order went out to stop using wires. This adds yet another layer of general murkiness.

A Special Message For American Promoters

This PP Blog column is mostly for “serial” American MLMers/network marketers who boarded the UFunClub/UToken train and became promoters: You are making your trade look ridiculous on a global scale. You are injuring people while you turn a blind eye and pursue illicit profits. You are making your country look ridiculous.

Some of you started as exporters of Ponzi and pyramid schemes. Now, you’re importing them to your friends, neighbors, family members and loved ones. It is not macular degeneration that afflicts you; it is willful blindness. You are not promoting capitalism and “freedom”; you are promoting naked greed and anarchy.

UFun/UToken is, at its essence, an insidious scam that relied on disguised, cross-border crowdfunding and claims about future IPOs to advance a preposterous offering fraud that is tied to an equally preposterous digital currency. The suggestions that Thailand is a “little” country and therefore there’s nothing to fear from the probe ring every bit as hollow as the claims that Profitable Sunrise investors had nothing to worry about because North Carolina was a “small” state.

History shows that the claims that TelexFree investors had nothing to fear because the original action was brought by the “small” Brazilian state of Acre were equally vapid.

More than anything else, UFunClub/UToken demonstrates there is no ceiling to the willful blindness and criminality within MLM and network marketing. A pulse is the only thing needed to become a target.

And once you become immersed in the lunacy, some of the lunatics who melted your brain even may try to get you to turn against your own country.

America got a new Attorney General yesterday. She very likely will have a relatively short stint, given that President Obama will leave office in early 2017.

Loretta Lynch nevertheless will have a chance to cement an enduring legacy. It could start with an all-out assault against the insidious schemes that are weakening America and its allies even as these words go to print.

Prospects across the world are being told to buy into UFunClub/UToken for sums ranging from $575 to $57,500 and that the "program" will begin trading on NASDAQ in 2016.

Prospects across the world are being told to buy into UFunClub/UToken for sums ranging from $575 to $57,500 and that the “program” plans to begin trading on NASDAQ in 2016.

Concluding Note

Malaysia is coming under editorial fire for not cracking down on UFunClub/UToken. There are companion reports that a member of the prime minister’s family somehow is involved with the “program.”

There is do doubt that various MLM/network-marketing scams have tried to influence the political process and have thrown around money to politicians. This happened in the United States with AdSurfDaily, Zeek Rewards and WCM777, and prosecutors have pursued all three “programs” aggressively.

These schemes are heavily layered and murky. All investigations require time to “follow the money.” Dozens and dozens of money-moving conduits, shell companies and nominees could be in play. One way to reverse-engineer a scheme is for a government to inject capital into it and watch how and where the money moves. After that, a government can introduce chokeholds to stop the flow of illicit cash.

There is no doubt this happened in the United States with AdSurfDaily and TelexFree. It very likely also happened with Zeek, given that there are multiple active criminal prosecutions.

Looking at the current situation involving UFunClub/UToken in Malaysia, the PP Blog would not rule out the possibility that what appears to be inaction on the part of the government is not that at all. Viewing the seeming inaction in a favorable light, the PP Blog theorizes that the government may not fully understand the system and may be creating time to determine the extent to which the “program” established ties in the country and with whom.

We know, for example, that U.S. government agents working undercover were in rooms in which TelexFree cheerleading sessions were taking place — even as the scheme operated. Undercover investigators also interacted with AdSurfDaily promoters.

Could the same thing be happening in Malaysia with UFunClub/UToken? Could Malaysian agents be observing events and introducing money into the system to better understand what the government is dealing with?

Copycat scams are infamous in MLM/network marketing. To be sure, international criminals are observing events in both Thailand and Malaysia and will look to introduce ruinous schemes if they detect so much as a crack in national defenses.

The narratives surrounding UFunClub/UToken are shopworn, fantastically bizarre and betray colossal ignorance. Malaysia, a constitutional monarchy, has to understand this. Don’t rule out that it does and that it has infiltrated the “program.”

If it hasn’t or if it is covering up the actions of the political elite, it might as well post a sign that says it welcomes thieves drunk on their own narratives operating within its borders.

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