EDITORIAL: MLM’s Great Race To The Bottom? While FTC, SEC, CFTC Warn About Affinity Fraud, Data Network Affiliates Says Its Mortgage-Reduction Program Is A ‘Church Fundraisers DREAM Come True’

Apparently tithing, bake sales, quilting bees, church-sponsored dinners, flea markets and car washes by Christian teens to raise money for projects have gone the way of the dinosaur.

Building on an earlier claim that churches have a “MORAL OBLIGATION” to pitch its purported mortgage-reduction program, Data Network Affiliates (DNA) now says the program is a “Church Fundraisers (sic) DREAM Come True.”

Some DNA members are describing the program as a “Crusade to Help American Families Keep their Homes.”

Just when you think you’ve seen it all in MLM, the company also claims it has been asked to sell “Funeral Caskets MLM”-style. In a pitch to members, DNA compares itself favorably to “FACEBOOK, GOOGLE & WALMART…”

The company says churches can benefit from its bid to rid the mortgage world of “toxic” assets, defining its “exciting DNA Mortgage Reduction System” as the “ONLY ONE OF IT’s (sic) KIND” — one that allows “DNA to pay out $300 on The Front End in a TEN LEVEL PAY PLAN and up to $1600 on The Back End in a TEN LEVEL PAY PLAN.”

“The line for DNA introducing products and services will be just as long” as the lines at Walmart, the company says. “Yesterday we got a call to sell Funeral Caskets MLM…”

We wonder if selling human body parts MLM-style will be next — and we wonder if livers, kidneys, hearts, lungs and skin will be positioned as a moral imperative for clergy to hawk and wonderful products for churches to sell after registering as “PRO” affiliates for an opportunity to pocket commissions 10 levels deep.

Although DNA has been pitching the mortgage-reduction program for only days, two testimonials from customers who purport to be happy DNA campers suddenly have materialized on the company’s website.

“I was lost, and thought I had no where to go,” writes “Trish” on the website. “I was out of options then my real estate broker referred me to your program DNA Mortgage Reduction.”

“Trish” did not identify the purported broker. Nor did “Trish” explain the purported broker’s affiliation with DNA and how DNA apparently was able in just days to gather her information, get it in the proper hands for a legal review of her case, study it for potential “DEFECTS,” conduct a “Forensic Audit,” draft the paperwork to be mailed to the lender being petitioned to write down her mortgage, wait for the lender’s presumably favorable response after assessing the value of the property and its legal position after being slapped by DNA’s paperwork, arrange for new loan documents to be drafted and vetted by attorneys on both sides, attested to by a notary and formally signed by all parties.

Regardless, “Trish” described her DNA experience as a “miracle,” claiming that “I now have a new mortgage and my home is $24,000.00 lower principal balance. I am saving over $300.00 a month.”

Before concluding her testimonial Trish made sure she thanked “Principal Mortgage!” It is unclear if “Principal Mortgage” is the name of DNA’s vendor.

Meanwhile, in a testimonial purportedly authored by “Nichole,” the “DNA Mortgage Reduction” program and a person named “Mike” were given credit for saving “Nichole’s” home after she “prayed” about the matter.

“I owe a lot to DNA Mortgage Reduction,” wrote the purported “Nichole.”

“I now am secure in my home with a affordable mortgage and my kids do not have to move,” Nichole offered.

Things apparently happened quickly for “Nichole.”

“When I had gotten letters from the attorney that was going to my bank and copies from the bank responding I knew I was going to all right,” Nichole wrote. “They did exactly what they promised and lowered my principal balance and interest rate.”

DNA has been pushing the purported mortgage-relief program for only days, including over the long July 4 weekend into which a U.S. banking holiday was sandwiched — and yet both “Nichole” and “Trish” claim their reliance on DNA has resulted in new mortgages with favorable terms.

Incongruously, DNA’s own website says the process “takes 90 to 120 days.

“The Lender will have 20 business days per RESPA to respond to the written request and 60 business days to resolve/settle this matter,” DNA says.

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10 Responses to “EDITORIAL: MLM’s Great Race To The Bottom? While FTC, SEC, CFTC Warn About Affinity Fraud, Data Network Affiliates Says Its Mortgage-Reduction Program Is A ‘Church Fundraisers DREAM Come True’”

  1. Patrick, these folks are prolific scam artists, it doesn’t have to make sense how their testimonials have no ring of truth and were accomplished in -28 days from their projected time frame. That’s kinda the whole point and should warn people they are disingenuous, or bold faced liars at best. Buy I am betting they will draw in a lot of people/money before the scam is busted.

  2. Like I wrote in one of your previous postings about this…..I LOVE that they are doing this because they are basically painting a red bulls-eye on themselves. Hopefully, it will make them fall hard and fast, maybe before anyone truly loses their money. I guess their “token” payment system for license plate collection is not working out so well….lol

  3. “We wonder if selling human body parts MLM-style will be next”…..it would not surprise me in the least. In fact, I just watched an American Greed episode about a human body parts scam.

  4. it doesn’t have to make sense how their testimonials have no ring of truth

    Hi Don,

    Speaking of no ring of truth, I’m wondering if any of the members of DNA who were with the company during its launch in March feel any sense of duty to tell prospects coming in only now that the “launch” the company is now advertising on its website with a countdown timer actually is a pretend launch.

    Here’s the history:

    * DNA missed two purported “launches” in February and reset the clock to launch on March 1. Lo and behold, the company actually did launch on March 1 — but not as advertised. DNA explained that what previously had been described as a full launch was only a beta test of its purported ability to record license-plate data.

    * The former CEO grumbled that, despite the fact he had resigned Feb. 24, DNA withheld the announcement until after the launch — and then butchered the announcement.

    * On July 5, DNA asked members to pretend the earlier launch had not occurred: “We are asking and calling on all DNA Leaders to FOCUS ON THE FUTURE… Make believe that July 26th, 2010 is the LAUNCH DATE for DNA… by this date we will have all of the above listed and working 100%… Yes 60% is working right now but let’s use this next 3 weeks as our NEW PRE-LAUNCH to the FUTURE OF DNA… In fact today we will put a NEW COUNTDOWN CLOCK on your DNA Recruiting Site for the OFFICIAL COUNTDOWN CLOCK to JULY 26th, 2010…

    So, in short, DNA is conceding that it already launched and is asking its vets to “make believe” it never happened. Incoming prospects may not know about the earlier, actual launch — a launch the company asked members to reimagine as a beta test — unless their sponsors tell them.

    Incoming prospects also may not know about the bizarre circumstances surrounding “DNA Cellular” — with the announcement and subsequent un-announcement of the “free” phone with “unlimited” talk and text for $10 a month.

    What they do know, however, is that churches have a “MORAL OBLIGATION” to drive business to the firm, according to DNA.

    Of course, DNA also claimed to be going “public” in March — and in the strangest of ways:

    “Intentions On Going Public,” the March email began. “Say Good Bye To Naysayers.

    “A public company has to answer to a HIGHER POWER than an AG,” the email said. “A publicly traded company has to answer to the SEC. No messing with them. Ask Martha Stewart.”

    Whether DNA has succeeded at taking itself “public” is unclear.

    What is clear is that DNA now says it is entering both the mortgage-reduction and credit-reduction businesses — and also the “resorts” business.

    These are land mines — one and all. Advertising for the mortgage-reduction” business appears to have begun on or around July 1, and yet already there are testimonials from satisfied customers.

    This when DNA itself says the process takes up to 120 days.

    All of these things combined make DNA one of the strangest companies I’ve ever observed.

    And it becomes stranger yet when one considers DNA began calling one of its offerings the BBB after it previously had been described as the BBP.

    Even the titles of the purported mortgage-reduction and resorts programs have been inconsistent in DNA’s various missives.

    Some of the troops, however, might not be happy campers. On July 6, DNA said this:

    “From this point on any NEGATIVE Questions will not be responded to on DNA OPPORTUNITY CALLS… Common sense we had over 150 first timers and as we are looking forward and not back wards we need to keep The Opportunity Calls awesome and exciting…”

    I guess DNA longs for the salad days in which the principal cheerleader planted the seed that Trump was on board — and then told the troops to go get license plates in the parking lots of churches and doctors’ offices.

    This was after he criticized the AMBER Alert program for what he described as its bloated budget.

    On some days, one actually can see the value in projectile vomiting.


  5. Patrick:

    I think you should do the poll again. I wonder if those who thought DNA was the absolute best with their advertising still feel the same way now after these last PR moves.

    Every time I see one of their E-mails, I feel the need to go take a shower. But then this is typical Phil Piccolo hype and BS. Now you know why they call him the one-man crime wave. Now if I could only send him my water bill.

  6. Lynn,

    I was one of those who voted “best”. Frankly, all of the illegitimate MLM picthes come off exactly like the DNA horse manure — unbelievable, lacking in any facts whatsoever, huge promises of easy money, etc. They all smell of the obvious scasm that they are. The DNA pitches are just representative of the genre, unfortunately, and so “best” isn’t a positive rating, but it is the “best” that these illegal ascams can do.

  7. Lynn,I was one of those who voted “best”. Frankly, all of the illegitimate MLM picthes come off exactly like the DNA horse manure — unbelievable, lacking in any facts whatsoever, huge promises of easy money, etc. They all smell of the obvious scasm that they are. The DNA pitches are just representative of the genre, unfortunately, and so “best” isn’t a positive rating, but it is the “best” that these illegal ascams can do.  (Quote)

    Good to have you back. I guess Patrick needs a new poll with new options. One could be the “Best of the Worst” or “Best of the All-time Worst.” LOL!

    It’s like the old question: Do you know the difference between NDA and a catfish? One is a low-lying, scum sucking, bottom-dweller, and the other is a fish.

  8. I was one of those who voted “best”.

    Hello Entertained,

    I do understand the point you were making by voting “best.” Along those lines, some of the MLM hucksters would do well in “bad-writing” competitions such as the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a tongue-in-cheek celebration of purple prose.

    It takes a certain talent to write “bad” well — and writing “bad” well does, indeed, have its rewards in the MLM universe.

    Florid prose delivered “well” is one of the signatures of MLM scams. The prose, which frequently is godawful, is “good” in the sense that it accomplishes its intended objective: sucking people into schemes.

    Covering the MLM industry poses challenges that aren’t present in most business segments. The hallways often are so florid and so filled with hype and purple prose that actual, serious attempts to report on the companies and players can come off like works of fiction.

    The surface oddity is that the hucksters repeatedly vomit on their audience — and the Stepfords in the audience applaud and ask to be vomited on again.

    Some of my readers have pointed out that my reports occasionally read like fiction. In certain cases, the fact sets I’ve reported on are so bizarre that it’s almost impossible to imagine that the cases and elements of the cases are actually real.

    These events generally are present: Pitchman plants a seed. Pitchman vomits. Stepfords get hit. Stepfords cheer instead of recoiling. Stepfords rush forth to multiply, dutifully reporting to forums or craigslist or classified sites or their own sites to spread the pitchman’s seed, “improve” his core story and vomit on their audience. The vomit gets institutionalized online as “fact.” (Examples: Andy Bowdoin is a man of God; the prosecution admitted behind closed doors that AdSurfDaily was not a Ponzi scheme; Bowdoin received an award from the White House for a lifetime of business acumen; the AMBER Alert program backs Narc That Car; Trump and Oprah back DNA; Narc That Car is the next Google; ASD is the next Google; DNA is like Google and Facebook and Walmart — all in one; AdViewGlobal is just like the NBC television network; the Department of Homeland Security will use Narc That Car to flush out terrorists; AdViewGlobal is “safe” because it’s offshore; AdGateWorld won’t make the same mistakes ASD made; AdViewGlobal won’t make the same mistakes ASD made; BAS won’t make the same mistakes ASD made; Noobing won’t make the same mistakes ASD made; DNA won’t make the same mistakes Narc That Car made.)

    Event after event requires readers to suspend their disbelief — everything from Andy Bowdoin’s use of the word “Satan” to describe the evilGUBment and the claim he was “too honest” to testify at a hearing he asked for to DNA’s all-caps use of the phrase “MORAL OBLIGATION” to lure the churchgoers of the world into what is certainly one of the strangest MLM companies of all time.

    Regardless, DNA is not yet the elusive “perfect” story that illustrates every single MLM abuse all under one roof. It won’t become that, IMHO, unless it starts to sell a Divining Rod and swears to God that it was endorsed by God Himself — or at least Trump or Oprah or Buffet or Granny Moses, also known as Granny Clampett.

    DNA has been creeping toward the elusive “perfect” story, though. It recently claimed it sells a nutritional product for $19.95 a month that “Japan” sells for $600 a month. It’s not the Divining Rod yet, but it’s tip-toeing up to the line.

    It also has provided a guide to the DNA nomenclature, thus providing itself wiggle room if members/critics begin to question the timing of various claims:

    * “Coming Very Soon” means 3 to 10 days…
    * “Coming Soon” means up to 30 days…
    * “It Is Coming” means DNA is still in negotiations and as soon as DNA has finish negotiating it will be “Coming Soon”…

    Think of just a tiny fact within the overall fact set of DNA: The company, which purports to be a serious, dynamic business that provides an opportunity for fortunes to be made, announced in early April that it was offering a free cell phone that came with unlimited talk and text for only $10 a month.

    Incredibly, before April even expired, DNA acknowledged that it hadn’t even studied cell-phone pricing plans before announcing it had become the world’s low-cost leader. DNA literally declared “GAME OVER — WE WIN” before it had verified its capacity to do anything, and then defaulted to blaming its inability to deliver on a supposed vendor it apparently hadn’t spent so much as a single minute vetting before announcing it had crushed all competitors on earth.

    And this company now wants customers to send it hundreds and even thousands of dollars at a time to test the waters of the mortgage-reduction and resorts businesses?

    It’s impossible to imagine — and yet it’s actually happening.

    The context in which it’s happening makes the events even crazier. The ink isn’t even dry on 1,215 criminal complaints the Feds recently have filed against mortgage fraudsters — and the FTC has made it as plain as day that it is targeting credit-repair and mortgage-reduction fraudsters.

    What does DNA do? Well, it charges headlong into two or three more “businesses” that not only are historically populated by fraudsters, but famously so — and it does these things AFTER announcing it could GIVE prepaid phones away — something not even Walmart does.

    DNA’s purported $10 “unlimited” plan would have undercut Walmart’s factual, widely publicized, $45 plan by $35 a month. So, although DNA claims to be just like Walmart, it apparently didn’t bother to check the pricing Walmart shoppers can get on prepaid cell phones — pricing that is available without signing up for a list that asks members to start selling mortgage-reduction services for a share of commissions 10 levels deep and also to plunk down $14,995 apparently to purchase a “resort.”

    According to some DNA members, one also can purchase a brick-and-mortar DNA Celluar franchise for $10,000, excluding the cost of land.

    At the moment, it’s unclear if clergy have the “MORAL OBLIGATION” to hawk the cell-phone business — franchise or not. Regardless, a member of the clergy looking out over struggling parishioners apparently does have the “MORAL OBLIGATION” to ask the poorest among them to submit their mortgage information to DNA free to qualify for the opportunity to pay the company at least $1,500 for a mortgage reduction.



  9. […] rating from the Better Business Bureau, also has told churches at it was their “MORAL OBLIGATION” to pitch a purported mortgage-reduction plan targeted at people who are facing foreclosure. […]

  10. […] to using the intellectual property of Apple and the images of Winfrey and Trump — DNA  used email pitches to compare itself to “FACEBOOK, GOOGLE & WALMART…” It is common for hucksters to tie an […]