UPDATE: Club Asteria Members Use TalkGold Ponzi Forum To Announce That Firm Now Has More Than 200,000 Members; Separately, Some Members Grumble About Missing Payouts

EDITOR’S NOTE: The adjective-inspiring story below is made possible by the incongruous behavior of online pitchmen who operate in an environment the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) described last year as a “bizarre substratum of the Internet.”

Two promoters of Club Asteria, a business “opportunity” purportedly operated by a woman variously described as a former “Chairman,” former “Director” and former “Vice president” of the World Bank, have announced on the TalkGold Ponzi scheme forum that they’ve enrolled new recruits and that Club Asteria now has more than 200,000 members.

“Ken Russo” advised TalkGold members that he had enrolled Club Asteria (CA) member No. 198920. A short time later, TalkGold member “manolo” announced he had enrolled CA member “200,600+”

“It’s Official,” “manolo” declared. “Club-Asteria has over 200,000 Member!” (sic)

The World Bank said last week that it once employed a woman named Andrea Lucas as director of the management systems and account department. The bank described the position as a staff job, and said Lucas worked in Washington, D.C.

In this promo, Club Asteria is said to have been founded by a "former world bank Chairman." In a separate promo, Club Asteria is described as a site of "World Bank's former Vice president Andrea Lucas." The claim is made in a bold headline that features 24-point type.

In MLM-style promotions, scores and scores of Club Asteria members globally have implied Lucas was a member of the World Bank’s board of directors. The World Bank, though, said that Lucas never was on the board of directors and had left her job at the bank in December 1986, nearly 25 years ago.

Other Club Asteria members have described Lucas as a former chairman and vice president of the World Bank. At least one online promo for Club Asteria implies that Lucas is a current director of the bank.

Get a “life time income wth (sic) help of world bank director,” the promo prompts viewers.

On the MoneyMakerGroup Ponzi board today, Club Asteria members are complaining about cashout requests that have not been honored, slow or absent customer support and server troubles.

Last week, Club Asteria asked members to put “a little extra effort into your Club-Asteria business over the next 15 days. We are asking you now to just use one extra hour each day to focus on the things that generate additional revenue, such as product and service sales as well as memberships.”

The request was part of a promo on “HOW WE CAN HELP THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN” after the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Read a July 2010 story about an alert issued by FINRA.

About the Author

24 Responses to “UPDATE: Club Asteria Members Use TalkGold Ponzi Forum To Announce That Firm Now Has More Than 200,000 Members; Separately, Some Members Grumble About Missing Payouts”

  1. Not surprising, the majority of these schemes are full of half-truths, exaggerations and bold faced lies if that’s what it takes to get people to join them. And also not a shock are payout problems, next will be website issues. They all have them, just about the time the management runs off with all the money, or they collapse.

  2. When scammers pull out the charity card, it should be a mandatory sentence of an additional 25 years in jail when they are prosecuted.

  3. brutus: When scammers pull out the charity card, it should be a mandatory sentence of an additional 25 years in jail when they are prosecuted.

    With the bottoms of their feet being beaten with sharp sticks on a daily basis.

    Perhaps it’s time for those in a position of authority to abandon their “hands off” approach to these relatively small time fraudsters and, instead make an example of them

    Hopefully such a policy change would deter what seems to be an increasing trend toward charity based HYIP ponzi “games”

    One can only hope.

  4. But this cannot fail because Ken Russo has said so. And we all know that Ken is one of the first to call a program a scam. How do I know? Because he said so on Talk Gold, the former ASA, and MMG forums. Since Ken has not announced this is a scam, then it has to be real and a legal program. Ken’s honor.

    What you really need to know is how long ago Ken got his investment money out of CA. All he is receiving now is referral fees. By the way Stros/Manolo, you are not “famous” the word is “infamous.”

  5. Young Manolo aka strosdegoz aka Dirson E Jimenez has moved on to his next lot of vict……..err……potential millionaires.

    He’s now running a virtual lone hand shilling for the “zubie.net” HYIP ponzi on Talkgold.

  6. After taking another real look at this, I am not buying the 200,000+ membership claim. I think CA was “cooking the books” on membership count to keep the hype going they were growing like gangbusters. Thus hoping to keep the cash coming in long enough to keep this paying for a few more weeks.

  7. Oh my, Lynn, I thought the word was “fungus” because he and his type are definitely parasites…!

  8. A short time later, TalkGold member “manolo” announced he had enrolled CA member “200,600+”

    Well, if someone posts that they enrolled member “200,600-“, that would negate everything right? lol.

  9. It’s only a perception that these are “small scams”, ASD had $100 million, 12 Daily Pro had $500 million (yes, half a Billion dollars), anyone want to guess how much Mrs VIP or DRFund had in them? All Ken Russo endorsed scams, could very easily add up to over a billion dollars. It’s the false perception that these are little crooks and not worth chasing that helps the guys like Ken Russo build their downlines. It takes a special kind of stupid to help steal a billion dollars and hang your hope of getting away with it on it being a small time crime that no one will bother to look into.

  10. Gregg, let’s see how attractive these things are after the indictments start. It’s always fun and profitable until you get arrested!!!

  11. What is needed to grab the attention of these crooks and the lemmings is a high profile “Perp Walk” and I nominate Ken Russo to be at the front of the parade!

    PerpWalk: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perp_walk


  12. Gregg Evans: It’s only a perception that these are “small scams”

    I certainly don’t think the scams you’ve mentioned are “small scams”

    Neither do I think that Club Asteria is in the same league as those you’ve mentioned.

    It would be my guess CA is larger in hype than it is in substance.

    Even IF the membership numbers are correct, a great many of them are free memberships.

    What’s more, it’s Ken Russo and his protege making most of the claims WRT membership numbers on Talkgold.

    Neither of them could lie straight in bed, so believing ANYTHING either of them says is difficult.

    Club Asteria didn’t make an appearance on Talkgold until April 2010, Even then, there was virtually no movement or interest until August 2010.

    I may well be wrong, but, I’m more inclined to believe this one is even more hyped up than “usual” if that’s possible.

  13. The address for “Club Asteria” and the fax number is shared with this company:

    And “Andrea Lucas” seems to work/has worked for this company:

  14. Reading through the various comments on this site, and what some of you think should be done to some of those you call “scammers” so easily, makes me think and wonder:

    First, yes, some of them, (but NOT all) are probably scammers! But you are making the mistake of accusing everybody of this, forgetting that some of the worst scammers around are the GOVERNMENTs from whom you ask for criminal action against them. For instance, the biggest ponzi schemes of them all are the social security programs of most countries!

    But it does not stop there with the governments. There simply is not enough space here to cover all the scams and hypocritical actions of those in charge of our countries. And to automatically state that mixing charity with business is the clearest sign of all that something is a scam, is such an overstatement I do not even know where to begin.

  15. I wondered how long it would take before we had the obligatory Social Security is a Ponzi, and the government conspiracy theory trotted out. Social Security only meets one definition of a Ponzi, and that is early people in are paid from people later paying into the program. Had Congress left it in the trust account, the system would not be in the financial mess it is currently in; BUT and it is a BIG BUT, there are two other factors of a Ponzi that does not apply to Social Security. They are 1. Promising an above average rate of return for your investment, and 2. By joining you will become rich. Don’t you just hate it when “facts” get in the way of a good social security is a Pozni mantra.

    As for the people mentioned, it is called HISTORY. Obviously you have been living under a rock not to know these major pimps of these scams and Ponzi’s, or you are truly a newbie who does not know better. Still you should have done your due diligence BEFORE you joined Club Asteria. Had you taken the time to do a little research, you would have found out that Andrea is not all that she is hyped up to be, neither is Hank, and the others mentioned are major pimps of these scams/Ponzi’s.

    There are legal requirements for a company like Club Asteria to comply with to be a legitimate company. They have done none of it. They are not a licensed money exchanger, a licensed travel agent, nor are they a registered philanthropic corporation.

    Still want to believe they are legal and real?

  16. Speaking of GMS, here is the latest drivel posted where Mrs. Vee throws Mara Greenway under the bus and then hides for cover:

    Hello all,

    I wanted to share some of my opinions with you. Although I have not played an integral role in GMS for quite some time, I will always feel a loyalty here. I must admit I have limited factual information about the financial side of GMS to give you as I was not involved with the finances. Dr. Mara was in charge of all finances.

    My role in GMS was that of marketing and assisting programmers to keep the script functioning as smoothly as possible for the ratings we used to do. I worked to build a clientele who would see the merit in participating in GMS. 6 months before the economy took its dive, which affected everyone globally, GMS was working with a high dollar software company to overhaul the script to be able to do many more things for potential and current clients we had at that time.

    Many of the ideas given to the software company were based on some of the businesses which were in a trial period with GMS to see if their Alexa rankings would actually jump. They were pleasantly surprised at the jumps their websites received and offered me contracts if certain things could be offered as well. That is all water under the bridge now, as budgets were cut so drastically that I wound up losing all but two clients toward the end of active ratings.

    I bring this up again as I want to remind you that this was my element, my area of expertise and day to day involvement. I failed at it and that has not been easy to swallow. I had a huge vision for the marketing plan and I wish it could have been a reality.

    I never was involved in the financials of GMS and had no expertise in that area at all. I wish I could answer the questions we all have, but I cannot. I do not have actual facts and firsthand knowledge in that area. Dr. Mara handled the finances exclusively. I can only tell you from the few conversations Dr. Mara and I were able to have that she has worked very hard to remedy the situation we are all in today. Her health seems to be at an all time low, yet the last time I heard from her she still had hope of something coming to fruition.

    I want to express that hanging on to hope may not be wise at this point. Hope is always a good thing and somewhere deep down, maybe I have some that this will all work out positively for us all, but realistically I do not know if the battle can be won as we all hope for. I wish I had more facts and information but I do not. I am giving you my opinion.

    Dr. Mara is still in Germany due to health issues that prevent her from flying home, so hopefully when she can return we will all know more, as she knows it.

    We have all have run the gamut of emotions, from frustration to depression, to anger at all of this. It has not been easy for any of us. It’s hard for me to have no information and no power to change anything.

    While Dr. Mara may have the information, she may not have any power now to change this. I think she has been at the mercy of the banking system and other issues for some time now. The losses GMS incurred when the economy failed were similar to losses of other companies during that time. GMS was certainly no Fortune 500 company and many of those didn’t make it either. 401 K plans all took a major hit and that only added to the pain when GMS went down as well.

    From what Dr. Mara told us, after all the GMS funds were frozen in a Swiss bank she attempted to make more money from her own funds and private clients. Will she be able to continue? I do not know. Will she be able to remedy this as we all hoped? I do not know. We can all always hope, but I cannot hold my breath waiting any longer. If Dr. Mara had total control to make it happen I would feel differently, but it’s obvious that she doesn’t.

    This brings me to the last item I want to address: the forum.
    The forum has gone down a couple of times due to issues with payment because of Dr. Mara being in Germany. Payments on credit cards are often refused as the credit card company knows their client lives in one place, but the card is being used elsewhere, halfway across the world. Even though it was remedied the first time it happened again, Due to a few reasons, funds being one, the forum will not be back once it goes down again. If any of the staff could remedy this, it would be done, but everyone is tapped out and living on a wing and a prayer.

    IVM has her forum where I know many GMS members visit. She does not want her forum to be a revamped GMS one and it should NOT be. IVM and all staff have done a fantastic job of supporting and being available, even though they had nothing to share about any details. I would like to personally thank them for their undying support. They sacrificed their time to continue to be here for us all. It is a debt of gratitude we cannot repay them. I want them all to know I love them as family, and wish them the best.

    I am sure we will all miss the camaraderie we all felt in here. I know I will. We shared many good times, funny times, frustrating times and sad times. It is a bittersweet time for me as I had such dreams for the marketing concept I created. I knew it was proprietary and I know it could have flown high had the variables been different. My life is nothing like it was when I became involved in this endeavor and it never will be again. I will not go into personal things as it matters not. We all have crises in our lives, deaths of family members, illnesses, turmoil, etc. Pain is not something that touches some and not others. It is relevant to us all.

    While there is pain, there is also hope for better times. I try to always be grateful for what I have. I think times in this world are about to hit an all time low. The economy, the wars, the utter chaos seen out there is scary.
    I pray for peace within us all. I pray for health and abundance of good things for us all. I wish I could magically make everything better, but that is not in my power to do so. I wish you all light, love and positive energy.

    Mrs. Vee

  17. OH P-U-H-L-E-A-S-E,

  18. littleroundman: OH P-U-H-L-E-A-S-E


    Is your gag reflex suppressing big or small chunks of vomit?

    Take a 5-gallon bucket with you before you bed down tonight. But put down a 6 x 8 plastic tarp first. This way you’ll minimize (or eliminate) post-puking maintenance (PPM) — perhaps especially if you feel a projectile session coming on.

    I had a projectile session not all that long ago. The tarp and the bucket sure came in handy. Virtually no PPM!!!!!


  19. Heya Patrick,

    It’s highly likely someone will be along soon with a post along the lines of:

    “I’ve never heard of HYIPs, have no clue what constitutes a ponzi and no idea what is meant by “usual suspect forums” but the writer of the above letter sounds like a nice Christian woman who is trying to do the right thing and deserves better treatment at the hands of anonymous contributors to this blog

    You bunch of $%!!! and *&^?##@^ “

  20. There exists a video of ‘I wasn’t involved in the finances” V explaining in detail how involved she claimed to be in the finances, although, she couldn’t provide any verifiable details, at a recruiting conference in Detroit. There’s also a videotaped interview of her and my buddy Jake Amedee going over how they had seen all the numbers and GMS was certainly not a ponzi, although again, they couldn’t give up any verifiable details.
    I’m really looking forward to her getting the orange jump suit treatment.

  21. hello

    You think that club asteria isn’t serious ???

  22. Bennani,

    Whatever gave you that idea? Club Asteria is “serious”, it’s a serious scam!!!
    It’s a serious way for people to lose their money.

  23. […] Earlier this year, Club Asteria encouraged members to spend money on the firm’s purported services and to work harder on recruiting as a means of helping earthquake victims in Japan. […]