BULLETIN: ‘TeamVinh,’ A Ponzi-Board ‘Program,’ Charged By SEC

teamvinhlogoBULLETIN: (8th Update 3:34 p.m. ET U.SA.) The SEC has gone to federal court in Minnesota, alleging that an enterprise known as “TeamVinh” that pushed something called “VPAKs” was operating a securities-fraud scheme targeted at MLMers.

TeamVinh, which allegedly recruited more than 5,600 participants,  has a presence on the Ponzi boards, including MoneyMakerGroup and TalkGold. Recent chatter suggests the scheme may have been making selective payouts, a classic maneuver in HYIP Ponzi land. The scheme eventually morphed into a “purported commodities trading platform,” the SEC said.

Morphing into a new scheme is another classic form of Ponzi fraud.

“Defendants claimed that TeamVinh members are able to obtain the placement of individuals in their downline salesforce through purchasing what TeamVinh refers to as ‘VPAKs,'” the SEC charged. “Each VPAK is supposed to represent another individual who signed up for TeamVinh, and TeamVinh promises to ‘fulfill’ the VPAK by placing the person represented by the VPAK in the member’s downline at the third-party MLM company and in the member’s TeamVinh account. Defendants claim that, through the VPAKs, TeamVinh would ‘continuously SPILL in NEW Active Paying Members into [the existing member’s] Downline.’ Members could also earn funds by referring additional individuals to TeamVinh. ”

Claims of tremendous spillover are common in MLM schemes.

Charged were TeamVinh.com LLC and alleged operator Vu H. Le, also known as Vinh H. Le.

Le, 39, lives in Minnesota and was convicted of forgery in Wisconsin in 1995. He spent two years in prison, the SEC said.

By 2007, the SEC charged, “the States of Wisconsin and Minnesota barred Le from offering or selling securities in those states based on Le’s involvement in a real estate scam.”

Le raised more than $3 million through TeamVinh, spending $2 million of it at “a single casino” in Las Vegas, the SEC charged. He allegedly also spent investor money at other casinos.

Promises of “passive income” were part of the TeamVinh scheme, the SEC alleged. Earlier Ponzi-board scams such as Zeek Rewards and TelexFree made similar claims. So did “The Achieve Community.”

Ponzi-board posts suggest TeamVinh was using a curious (and lengthy) acronym to sanitize the scheme: ACCESS WEW. This apparently stands for “A Crazily Cost Effective Self-Sustainable Wealth the Easier Way” system.

A higher-priced scheme within the overall scheme was known as VET, which stood for “Vinh’s Elite Team,” the SEC said.

The VET membership costs ranged “from $3,995 to $24,995.”

TeamVinh buy-ins for as low as $40 also allegedly were offered, potentially making the business both a microscheme and a macroscheme.

With TeamVinh already in trouble in 2014, “Le solicited additional investments from TeamVinh members in what he referred to as the ‘Platform.’ As new member and investor proceeds began to dwindle, Le told existing members and investors that he needed $200,000 to finalize TeamVinh’s launch of VodeOx,” the SEC charged. “Le claimed that an investor had committed the $200,000, but the investor’s bank would not clear the funds.”

VodeOx purportedly was “TeamVinh’s own MLM company,” after TeamVinh earlier had operated as an apparent affiliate of other MLM firms.

Read the SEC statement on TeamVinh. Read the complaint.

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