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Ponzis and Pyramids, an Audio Series

Ponzis and Pyramids is a consumer education audio series that examines multi-level marketing and revealing the similarities between Wall Street Ponzis and Main Street Pyramids. Ponzis and Pyramids is sponsored by Pyramid Scheme Alert and supported by donations from dedicated consumer activists, attorneys, and authors. Each show is 60 minutes long and is in MP3 format for downloading to iPod or any MP3 player. (Click on the PSA Logo.)

Pigeons, Soap, Vitamins and Weight Loss Pills

Consumers Need to Understand How Fraudulent Ponzi's and Pyramid Schemes are Disguised.
--A Consumer Bulletin

Click here to Visit the new, redesigned Pyramid Scheme Alert website.

If you've arrived here from a link from another site, please know that we've moved! You can find all the latest information about pyramid schemes by clicking here.


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Despite the volume of lies and hype flowing from multi-level marketing schemers there is more valid, research-based and whistle-blower information available today than ever before. The truch is emerging.

As in the cases of Enron, the lethal cigarette industry, bank and mortgage frauds and the Madoff ponzi scheme, the truth about multi-level marketing is taking time to emerge but the truth inevitably prevails. As the Links offered here show, the number of activists is growing. Major books are available on Amway. An internet radio show is coming soon. Websites are developing in more countries from India to Portugal to Canada.

Review the Links offered here for additional perspective. They are not owned or controlled by PSA.

Audio/Video Tools/PodCasts

Ponzis and Pyramids, a Consumer Education Audio Series
Ponzis and Pyramids is a consumer education audio series examining multi-level marketing and revealing the similarities between Wall Street Ponzis and Main Street Pyramids. Ponzis and Pyramids is sponsored by Pyramid Scheme Alert and supported by donations from dedicated consumer activists, attorneys, and authors. Each show is 60 minutes in length, features interviews with prominent consumer activists, attorneys and authors and is hosted by Pyramid Scheme Alert President, Robert FitzPatrick. All shows are MP3s, downloadable to Ipods and MP3 players.

Portrait of an MLM Pyramid Scheme Exposed on CBS 60 Minutes News Show
In 1999, the national news show, CBS 60 Minutes focused on one of America's fastest growing multi-level marketing schemes, International Heritage Inc. (IHI) was based in North Carolina. It was one of the last large MLMs to be prosecuted by the federal government before the FTC and SEC stopped law enforcement due to insider lobbying and political campaign contributions by the MLM industry. This short video documentary shows how IHI operated exactly in the same manner as hundreds of others do today that are not being prosecuted. PSA President, Robert FitzPatrick was interviewed by CBS Correspondent Mike Wallace. Video, about 10 minutes in length.

MLM Reality/An Interview with Robert FitzPatrick
On December, 4, 2006, Robert FitzPatrick, Co-author of the book, False Profits, and the founder of Pyramid Scheme Alert, was interviewed on public radio, WFAE, Charlotte, NC. The 55-minute interview covers many aspects of multi-level marketing. For consumers interested in an overview of the scams, tricks and myths surrounding multi-level marketing, this interview provides a good primer course. -- MP3 Recording

MLM, Most Pervasive, but Least Understood Consumer Fraud, a Speech to Government Regulators and Private Investigators Speech by Robert FitzPatrick
In 2006, Robert L. FitzPatrick, President of Pyramid Scheme Alert and author of False Profits, was a featured speaker at the annual meeting of the Association of Certified Fraud Specialists in San Francisco. The presentation is 50 minutes in length. MP3

Pyramid Schemes, Frauds and Hoaxes Explained, an Interview with Robert L. FitzPatrick
The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is a weekly Podcast talkshow produced by the New England Skeptical Society, The Feb. 28, 2008 show featured a full length interview with PSA President, Robert L. FitzPatrick. Go to the middle of the show for the start of the interview. Approx. 25 minutes.

PSA Helps Canadian News Show, Marketplace, Expose MLM Scam, Business in Motion,
On Feb. 6, 2009, Marketplace aired an exposé of an MLM that is aggressively recruiting Canadians. All the elements of a typical MLM scam were revealed - overpriced products and of dubious value, no retailing (products only purchased by salespeople); pyramid pay plan that sends money to the top; requirement for continuous recruiting; pyramid model permanently places great majority of all participants at bottom levels where they must lose; deceptive marketing; complicit government that does not enforce anti-fraud laws. The show is 30 minutes, very entertaining, on-line video on the Marketplace website.

The Proliferation of Pyramid and Ponzi Schemes from Madoff to MLM
Voice America, the world's premiere web radio network, announces the appearance of international fraud expert Robert L. Fitzpatrick, exclusively on the highly acclaimed ZenBiz Radio Show on Wednesday Feb. 18th, 2009. The interview explores how pyramid scams work, why we fall for them and why they are spreading now. (approx. 60 minutes)

Analytical Tools/Research and Analysis

Analysis: Financial Crisis – a Mirror Image of MLM
The most frequently read Blog in the False Profits Blog series. This article shows how the multi-level marketing system of "endless chain" recruiting employs the same methods, uses the same deceptions and produces the same devastating results as the real estate/mortgage/banking/Wall Street crisis caused. A must-read for those who want to understand why so many lose in MLM and for others who also want to better understand how "money transfer", rather the true growth, is driving the American economy and led to our current financial that affected only those at "the bottom" while those at the top were unaffected.

The Myth of MLM Income Opportunity
A comprehensive report on the MLM business that reveals and documents the actual losses of 99% of all recruits in major MLMs. Data is presented from eleven MLM schemes and analyzes it in a way that is understandable. The report also details the tricks used by the schemes to lure people. Shocking losses and extraordinary deception are exposed. Read before you invest. Read if a family member is in an MLM.

The Main Street Bubble: How the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has Ignored and now Protects Business Opportunity Fraud on Main Street
An in-depth research into the insider connections and powerful lobbying of the Amway Corporation and the multi-level marketing industry have "de-regulated" business opportunity fraud. Millions of Americans are fleeced and deceived in home-based business scam, while the FTC closes its eyes. This report shows why. To obtain a free PDF copy of this report, send an email request to [email protected] and include the words "FTC Report" in the subject area.

University-level Analysis of MLM in German Language
While MLM remains largely unstudied and undocumented by academia in the United States, one new website in the German language offers excellent materials for German readers/speakers. The site with the research is published by Dr. Claudia Groß, Nijmegen School of Management.

Do-It-Yourself Evaluation of Multi-Level Marketing* Programs and Suspected Pyramid Schemes
A Proactive Guide for Consumers, Regulators, and Consumer Advocates

Twelve Tests for Evaluating a Network Marketing "Opportunity"

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Notes taken during an undercover investigation by Robert FitzPatrick on the "Business in Motion" (BIM) Scam that is sweeping through Canada (2007-9). Working with producers of the award-winning Canadian Broadcasting Corporation show, Marketplace, FitzPatrick attended a BIM meeting with hidden cameras and microphones. The Marketplace show that exposed the scheme aired on Feb. 6, 2009. The notes are published to answer further questions about how pyramids and Ponzis work and why FitzPatrick concluded that BIM is a harmful pyramid scheme.

The Amway Myth, with an Analogy to the Days when Smoking was "Harmless." England wants to kick it out of the country; China banned its pay plan; its offices in India were raided; Top Gun insiders sue it as a massive pyramid scheme; a class action case brought by distributors claim it is an illegal fraud under American law; books and websites detail victim losses.
Yet, Amway maintains the myth of being a "direct sales" company (though it has no retail customers) and a "unique income opportunity" (though indisputable data show that 99% of all Amway distributors lose money.)
Amway maintain the "Big Lie" much like Big Tobacco has us believing smoking was good for us.

The "Non-Retail" Direct Selling Company. As market-based economies become the prevailing global model, millions of people are being exposed to sales promotions, income opportunity solicitations, and investment schemes with which they have no experience or knowledge. Vulnerability to deception and the need for consumer education correspondingly reach global heights.

The Ten Big Lies of Multilevel Marketing

MLM, a Consumer Fraud - Understand how MLMs defraud consumers through a calculated program of deception and a business model in which 99% of all new recruits will and must lose.

When Should An MLM or Network Marketing
Program Be Considered an Illegal Pyramid Scheme?

Full Article

Where's The Harm? How do North America's three largest MLMs stack up against gambling in Las Vegas?

The American Scam
Just as thousands of Americans have been tricked by the "Nigerian Scam", millions of people in other countries around the world are losing money in the "American" Scam called multi-level marketing.

Amway's Fleecing of India

Amway/Quixtar Negative Sum Game

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Amway Motivational Organizations: Behind the Smoke and Mirrors, by Ruth Carter

False Profits: Seeking Financial and Spiritual Deliverance in Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Schemes, by Robert FitzPatrick and Joyce Reynolds

The Network Marketing Game, by Jon M. Taylor, PhD


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Now Available,
Updated, Revised and Expanded

  • The most comprehensive and easily understood analysis of Multi-level Marketing
  • The true facts about MLM income promises and claims.
  • Eleven (11) MLMs Analyzed with Income Data
  • Charts on each MLM with Summaries and Explanation

Read before you invest… Read if your friends or family want you to join an MLM… Read to understand why and how money is made and lost in MLM.

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This page last updated on 2/15/10