FEDS: ‘Achieve Community’ Scam Raked Victims In More Than 140 Countries; Justice Department’s ‘Mega Victim Case Unit’ Called To Duty
Unlike the boffo web-based schemes of TelexFree, Zeek Rewards and AdSurfDaily, the “Achieve Community” scam in which participants were told they’d glean returns of 700 percent did not perform well (relatively speaking) at the MLM Pyramid/Ponzi Scheme Box Office.
Achieve’s haul topped out at about $6.8 million, with alleged unfunded liabilities in the range of $50 million.
What’s particularly alarming about U.S.-based Achieve is that, though small in dollar volume and victims’ count compared to its larger fraud kin, it still reached into more than 140 countries.
Federal prosecutors from the office of U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose of the Western District of North Carolina now say Achieve created about 10,000 victims, “including more than 4,000 located outside the United States.”
The U.S. victims’ count also presented a logistical challenge — enough of one, at least, for the Justice Department to assign its “Mega Victim Case Unit” to the Achieve matter. The unit helped prosecutors contact U.S. victims.
As the PP Blog reported in July 2015, prosecutors established a web page for victims. Authorities now say “[a]pproximately 229 victims including 29 located in foreign countries have provided details of their victimization. . .”
When a federal crime is committed, prosecutors said, victims have “[t]he right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding . . . involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused,” and “[t]he right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.”
When a case with a large number of victims such as Achieve presents itself, it becomes a practical impossibility to contact each and every person who has been defrauded. Because of this, prosecutors have asked a judge to approve a plan that provides “notification to victims who reside in other countries through the internet by posting details about the case and relevant victim impact forms on the United States Attorney’s Office website.”
And there are other logistical challenges when victims of a U.S. crime hail from other countries, prosecutors said.
“Because each country has its own procedures and requirements for contacting persons located in its territory, contacting each foreign victim directly is not practical or advisable,” prosecutors said. “Due to sovereignty concerns, many countries limit or prohibit foreign government officials from directly contacting persons within that country’s borders. This case’s 4,000+ foreign based victims hail from over 140 different countries.”
So, Internet notice is the thing.
We’ll conclude this column with a question: If Achieve created a need for the Justice Department to bring in its “Mega Victim Case Unit,” what sort of need will the TelexFree case create? There may be on the order of 1 million victims in that scheme.
Watch for a special PP Blog editorial tomorrow.
Achieve’s Kristi Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 19. Matters pertaining to her alleged colleague Troy Barnes appear to be unresolved.
NOTE: Our thanks to the ASD Updates Blog.