DEVELOPING STORY: TelexFree Rep Sued By Trustee Claims Herbalife ‘Executives’ And ‘Personnel’ Helped Sell Him On Alleged Ponzi/Pyramid Deal

newtelexfreelogoDEVELOPING STORY: (Updated 9:23 p.m. ET U.S.A.) A TelexFree rep being sued by the court-appointed bankruptcy trustee for the return of more than $2.6 million in alleged winnings from the judicially declared Ponzi- and pyramid scheme claims that Herbalife “executives” and “personnel” attended a March 2014 TelexFree event in Boston and helped sell him on the ill-fated deal.

In January, Trustee Stephen B. Darr sued Jose Neto of Worcester, Mass., in one of two proposed defendant class actions that includes thousands of other alleged TelexFree “winners” globally. Neto was one of 23 named winners with U.S. addresses. The other lawsuit is against 33 named winners with addresses outside the United States. All in all, the cases could affect nearly 100,000 TelexFree members who allegedly received fraudulent transfers.

Neto responded to the lawsuit in a filing docketed Feb. 16. Among other things, he claims he believes TelexFree was a legitimate business and that executives from both TelexFree and Herbalife showed proof of TelexFree’s legitimacy.

From the body of Neto’s response (italics added/light editing performed):

TelexFree was presented to me as a multi-level marketing network, similar to Herbalife . . . (as a matter of fact, executives of Herbalife gave us several lectures and workshops about this topic). As such, it is intrinsic to the nature of this business that the highest level members, meaning the ones that started to work with the product before and built a stronger network, will have higher gains compared to the others.

From an affidavit by Neto (italics added):

In March 2014 at the International Love Event in Boston (ON YOUTUBE), TelexFree announced that it would be launching its own credit card, and people could no longer use money order or cashier’s check to buy more “partnership shares”, but solely the “TelexFree Card”. On this same, held for over 4,000 people, Carlos Wanzeler and James Merrill asserted to us once again that the company was 100% in compliance with the laws and along with the Herba Life personnel, he showed us on a PowerPoint presentation the certificates from the Secretary of State.

The filing by Neto does not name the Herbalife “executives” or “personnel” on hand at the Boston TelexFree event. Wanzeler and Merrill are TelexFree executives who were charged criminally by the office of U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz of the District of Massachusetts after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The SEC has sued Wanzeler and Merrill.

Herbalife, which is confronting a Federal Trade Commission probe over its business practices, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the PP Blog on Neto’s claims. The claims raise new questions about whether MLM firms may be targeting vulnerable population groups and the extent to which Herbalife reps also were involved in TelexFree.

Neto claims in his filing that he recruited 24 participants for TelexFree. Many members of his downline appear to have Hispanic names. The SEC has said TelexFree targeted Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking communities.

Activist investor and short-seller Bill Ackman has claimed Herbalife targets vulnerable population groups and is a pyramid scheme. Herbalife had denied the allegations.

Neto claims he has paid taxes on TelexFree money he earned legitimately and that Darr is trying to hold him accountable for money he never removed from the program.

 

 

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3 Responses to “DEVELOPING STORY: TelexFree Rep Sued By Trustee Claims Herbalife ‘Executives’ And ‘Personnel’ Helped Sell Him On Alleged Ponzi/Pyramid Deal”

  1. Quick note:

    Still no word from Herbalife on this. One is left to wonder if an Herbalife affiliate “team” operating in Massachusetts was amassing a TelexFree downline and whether Herbalifers somehow were influencing TeleFree management.

    We’ve previously mentioned that TelexFree appeared to channel Herbalife in some ways — calling events “extravaganzas” and sponsoring a soccer team.

    http://patrickpretty.com/2015/01/13/ackman-channels-telexfree-ad-technique-in-new-herbalife-slam/

    Also see:

    http://patrickpretty.com/2014/03/16/editorial-mixed-mlm-messaging-as-herbalife-announces-ftc-probe-telexfree-cheerleaders-plant-seed-that-obama-gave-their-program-an-exemption-from-securities-laws/

    Patrick

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  2. It’s far more likely the guy ran into some “Herbalife Executive President’s Team” members (that’s a rank in Herbalife distributorship) and his downline checking out his scam and decide if it’s worth double-dipping.

    Same thing happened in Hong Kong, IIRC. “Herbalife Executives” cheated money out of hundreds then disappeared. People went after Herbalife and was told those are independent members.

    http://behindmlm.com/companies/herbalife/herbalife-caught-up-in-hong-kong-product-investment-scam/

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  3. K. Chang: It’s far more likely the guy ran into some “Herbalife Executive President’s Team” members (that’s a rank in Herbalife distributorship) and his downline checking out his scam and decide if it’s worth double-dipping.

    I’ve been thinking along these same lines.

    K. Chang: Same thing happened in Hong Kong, IIRC. “Herbalife Executives” cheated money out of hundreds then disappeared. People went after Herbalife and was told those are independent members.

    http://behindmlm.com/companies/herbalife/herbalife-caught-up-in-hong-kong-product-investment-scam/

    Thanks for this.

    On another matter, Herbalife opened significantly lower on Wall Street this morning after effectively announcing it had hugely inflated certain membership-growth metrics by accident.

    https://biz.yahoo.com/e/160303/hlf8-k.html

    Patrick

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