Charlotte, NC…Wife of Bank of America’s Former CEO Admits to MLM Recruiting for an MLM Prosecuted in Two States, and in which nearly All Consumers Lose Money

According to the local NBC affiliate television news channel in Charlotte, North Carolina, “Several prominent Carolinians, including the wife of former Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis, have signed on as sales reps for a multi-level marketer recently fined as a ‘pyramid scheme.'”
The report stated that “Donna Lewis joined Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing, known as FHTM, in December 2008 at the invitation of her friend, Charlotte television personality Barbara McKay.

“Last month,” the TV news show stated, “FHTM agreed to pay almost $1 million in refunds and fines to settle a claim by the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance that the multi-level marketer was a ‘pyramid promotional scheme.’

“It is truly not a pyramid,” Donna Lewis said, when reached by phone at her home. “It’s helping people in this horrible economy make a living.””

Mrs. Lewis’ involvement in a scheme that was prosecuted in the states of Montana and North Dakota and fined in Montana as a pyramid scheme and her belief that she is “helping” people reveal the power of MLM dis-information and its insidious spread. Mrs. Lewis has influence nationally and she says she was introduced by a well known television personality in the Charlotte, NC area. Other well known characters from sports, religion, and the business communities were also noted in the report for affiliating with the scheme.

Despite her stated good intentions, as the investigative reporter, Stuart Watson, later revealed, this MLM scheme, founded by former executives of the now defunct MLM, Excel Communications, is actually “helping” most of its members to part with their money, which it then siphons to a few high level promoters and owners.

Following the WCNC television exposé, the company produced an “income disclosure” which Watson deciphered in a follow-up report. The data revealed:

—  28.15% — Earn nothing
— “Manager” Level:  39% — earn $93 on average (only on the months they got a check)
— “Regional Sales Manager” Level :  29% — $256 on average (only on the months they got a check)

The first three levels at the bottom constitute 96% and the maximum, on average, earned by these three levels is $256.
When the average for each level is multiplied by the number in the level and the sums are totalled, an aggregate for this 96% group is revealed:

The average paid out to the bottom 96% is $115 per mo. This is less than the initial and monthly cost of participating, not counting all other normal business costs.

Bad as they are, in reality, the outcome is worse that those figures show for consumers who pay hundreds of dollars to join and more each month to pursue the scheme’s income promise. FHTM calculated as “averages” only the months that the recruits earned anything at all, and excluded from calculations the months they earned nothing! In its own disclosure, it offered “percentages” based on exclusion of all the people – nearly a third of the total – who never earned anything ever, and then it hid the “dropout rates”, thereby obscuring the true scale of losses.

These figures – especially when the distortion and trickery are factored – display the typical 99% loss rates that apply to virtually all MLMs.

Additionally, this MLM scheme that Bank of America’s former first lady is endorsing has an “F” rating from its local BBB.

If 99% of all consumers who pay into the multi-level marketing scheme are losing, then who does make money in it?

According to the FHTM “income disclosure”, one out of two thousand pulls in $103,416 a month. These are positioned at the top. The state of Montana, which prosecuted the company as a pyramid scheme, established that most revenue for FHTM “commissions” comes from fees paid by the sales people not from consumer purchases. This is to say that the money gained from the “winners” was picked right out of the pockets of the 99% who “failed.”