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  1. #1
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    J. Taylor & R. Fitzpatrick linked to Minkow scam!?

    BARRY MINKOW - ROBERT FITZPATRICK - JON TAYLOR PhD CAUGHT IN SHORT SELL?

    USANA ILLEGAL STOCK SHORTING SCHEME

    FROM DEEP CAPTURE - That shares the same opinions as the MLM WatchDog

    June 2007 -- Judd Bagley of "Deep Capture" (a hunter of illegal short sellers) concludes that convicted stock manipulator Sam Antar and securities class action litigator Howard Sirota were working in concert with convicted stock manipulator Barry Minkow’s Fraud Discovery Institute (FDI) to manipulate the share price of USANA, a public company.

    Ur Editors Opinion June 2008 -- During court ordered deposition where he had to tell the truth (or go to jail) Minkow admitted in mid-2006, convicted felon Antar sent him a check for $100,000 because Antar thought he was a good example. Minkow just accidentally decided to use Antar’s money to finance FDI’s attack on USANA, which was published and delivered to the SEC on February 20, 2007 before Minkow established a short position in USANA stock, as well as investing in put options (both of which gain value as a stock loses value). Minkow admitted in total, Antar’s support for FDI has exceeded $250,000. Minkow was also forced to admit two payments totaling $40,000 by hedge fund manager, and $10,000 by Anthony Bruan, owner of Cactus Capital. Let's see that is $300,000 Minkow collected before the USANA attack. Minkow told the SEC he was into shorting USANA stock for about $50,000. I bet the SEC will be interested in the other $250k floating around that Minkow didn't tell them about!

    In my opinion it appears that Minkow is back to illegal securities activity! How much did Jon Taylor PhD get paid for his rant on USANA? How much did Robert Fitzpatrick get paid? Are they in deep enough for being indicted on securities violations? Hope so because of the fraudulent statistics they keep throwing around as they bash the MLM Industry!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
    Minkow appaerently tried to accuse Herbalife of having lead in their supplements, so he could make money short-selling Herbalife stock! Shame on them!- Kerry Hein

    Here's the latest from the MLMWatchDog!

    HERBALIFE SAYS NO LEAD ISSUE!

    LOS ANGELES, June 8, 2008 – Testing conducted at a leading independent laboratory has confirmed that Herbalife products do not contain levels of lead that would require labeling under California Proposition 65 disclosure requirement. The company added to its ongoing compliance program by conducting extensive retesting of multiple product batches at the prestigious independent laboratories Covance (for U.S.) and Eurofins (for EU) before responding to recent allegations.

    There was never any health or safety issue with Herbalife products. Inaccurate and misleading information released by a group that calls itself an independent fraud-discovery organization led to sensational media and online news coverage. The group’s founder Barry Minkow admits profiting from “puts” on Herbalife stock.

    “It’s very easy to create fear by using words like ‘lead’ and ‘dangerous’ together,” said Herbalife Chief Scientific Officer Steve Henig, Ph.D. “and then add the word ‘children’ to make it even scarier. It’s a fact that many natural and processed foods including vegetables and dairy products as well as our products, which are made with natural ingredients, contain extremely small amounts of naturally occurring lead that can be detected by today’s highly sensitive analytical methods but are insignificant in posing any risk to consumers.” Rod Cook Ur Editor: Ok we just saw a convicted felon elon Minkow and his Anti-MLM team Robert Fitzpatrick and Jon Taylor Phd (pud) all caught in a pack of lies...
    Looks like the Fraud Institute and their PSA co-horts are a bunch of liars & scammers themselves!:judges: I'm not surprised at all!

    I'll remember this next time someone tries to use them as an "objective", reliable resource! You should too!

    Just looking for some truth, through all the smoke and mirrors!

    Kerry Hein:sun_smiley:
    As long as it is acceptable for a person to beLIEve that he knows how god wants everyone on Earth to live, we will continue to murder one another on account of our myths. ~ Sam Harris, 'The End Of Faith'
    ~~~~~
    Christianity demands the crucifixion of the intellect.
    ~ Susan Kierkegaard

  2. #2
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    Re: J. Taylor & R. Fitzpatrick linked to Minkow sc

    Kerry,

    I give you my word that Dr. Taylor and Mr. Fitzpatrick are of the highest integrity. Their information is always thoroughly researched and accurate. Dr. Taylor volunteers his time to help those that have or could be harmed by MLMs. You are totally off base. Why don't we all join them in asking for honest disclosure by all MLMs.

    Soapboxmom

  3. #3
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    Re: J. Taylor & R. Fitzpatrick linked to Minkow sc

    Quote Originally Posted by Soapboxmom View Post
    Kerry,

    I give you my word that Dr. Taylor and Mr. Fitzpatrick are of the highest integrity. Their information is always thoroughly researched and accurate. Dr. Taylor volunteers his time to help those that have or could be harmed by MLMs. You are totally off base. Why don't we all join them in asking for honest disclosure by all MLMs.

    Soapboxmom
    I'm not totally off base. I just posted what Rod Cook had on his site!

    I beg to differ.

    Their analysis of NWM is so full of holes, hype and baloney it's actually kiind of pathetic.

    They make mountains out of molehills.

    Their criteria for determining wether a company is a scam or not, makes almost every NWM company out there an illegal "pyramid". How is that "thoroughly researched and accurate"!? How does that serve the industry of Direct Sales.

    Spend some time at MarketWaveInc.com reseaching Len's responses to their rediculous, narrow-minded claims. I recommend it highly. Ex Felon Minkow, Taylor and Fitz. are all raving lunatics.

    Define "honest disclusure" and please explain how that helps people? Amway has been disclosing average earnings for a looong time. (Last I heard, it was about $79.00 a year!) Has that helped anyone? If so, HOW?

    I'm all for honesty in the MLM marketplace. Hype & smoke and mirrors serves noone but unethical marketers. But real numbers are hard to find, especially when the companies are privately held. Full disclosure is a slippery slope in and of itself, don't you think?

    Thanks for your input though.

    Kerry Hein:sun_smiley:
    As long as it is acceptable for a person to beLIEve that he knows how god wants everyone on Earth to live, we will continue to murder one another on account of our myths. ~ Sam Harris, 'The End Of Faith'
    ~~~~~
    Christianity demands the crucifixion of the intellect.
    ~ Susan Kierkegaard

  4. #4
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    Re: J. Taylor & R. Fitzpatrick linked to Minkow sc

    Quote Originally Posted by Soapboxmom View Post
    Kerry,

    I give you my word that Dr. Taylor and Mr. Fitzpatrick are of the highest integrity. Their information is always thoroughly researched and accurate. Dr. Taylor volunteers his time to help those that have or could be harmed by MLMs. You are totally off base. Why don't we all join them in asking for honest disclosure by all MLMs.

    Soapboxmom
    And I agree.100% heck what do these bs schemes have to loose? Or those fine upstanding MLM promoters? Guess you missed the memo regarding the update that UK had appealed the previous lower court rulling. Slow down:judges:

  5. #5
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    Re: J. Taylor & R. Fitzpatrick linked to Minkow sc

    Quote Originally Posted by ohein56 View Post
    I'm not totally off base. I just posted what Rod Cook had on his site!

    I beg to differ.

    Their analysis of NWM is so full of holes, hype and baloney it's actually kiind of pathetic.

    They make mountains out of molehills.

    Their criteria for determining wether a company is a scam or not, makes almost every NWM company out there an illegal "pyramid". How is that "thoroughly researched and accurate"!? How does that serve the industry of Direct Sales.

    Spend some time at MarketWaveInc.com reseaching Len's responses to their rediculous, narrow-minded claims. I recommend it highly. Ex Felon Minkow, Taylor and Fitz. are all raving lunatics.

    Define "honest disclusure" and please explain how that helps people? Amway has been disclosing average earnings for a looong time. (Last I heard, it was about $79.00 a year!) Has that helped anyone? If so, HOW?

    I'm all for honesty in the MLM marketplace. Hype & smoke and mirrors serves noone but unethical marketers. But real numbers are hard to find, especially when the companies are privately held. Full disclosure is a slippery slope in and of itself, don't you think?

    Thanks for your input though.

    Kerry Hein:sun_smiley:


    Kerry... want to help in the fight to demand that all MLMs disclose their earnings to the public!!!... you can help in the effort to demand that all peeople know what the average earner is making in the MLM.....Kerry you can make a difference by being honest and demanding that all MLMs disclose their earnings to the potential recruits so they have an idea of how everyone is doing.

  6. #6
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    Re: J. Taylor & R. Fitzpatrick linked to Minkow sc

    Quote Originally Posted by spanky View Post
    Kerry... want to help in the fight to demand that all MLMs disclose their earnings to the public!!!... you can help in the effort to demand that all peeople know what the average earner is making in the MLM.....Kerry you can make a difference by being honest and demanding that all MLMs disclose their earnings to the potential recruits so they have an idea of how everyone is doing.
    As I said earlier, Amway has been publishing their average earnings for quite a while.

    What's the point of posting those numbers?

    One of my least favorite companies going round right now Cyberwise, posts their earnings tables. How does that help anyone!

    I expect ChrisN to drop by very soon. Spanky & Nomass came running to their hero's aid pronto, I'm sure ChrisN will be by shortly too. They all quote these three zealots ad-nausium.

    Why won't anyone answer my questions?

    What good does posting those numbers do? How does that help anyone? Who does that protect & how? Please answer me. I'm all ears.

    Kerry Hein:sun_smiley:
    As long as it is acceptable for a person to beLIEve that he knows how god wants everyone on Earth to live, we will continue to murder one another on account of our myths. ~ Sam Harris, 'The End Of Faith'
    ~~~~~
    Christianity demands the crucifixion of the intellect.
    ~ Susan Kierkegaard

  7. #7
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    Re: J. Taylor & R. Fitzpatrick linked to Minkow sc

    Quote Originally Posted by nomass View Post
    And I agree.100% heck what do these bs schemes have to loose? Or those fine upstanding MLM promoters? Guess you missed the memo regarding the update that UK had appealed the previous lower court rulling. Slow down:judges:
    It's not that they have anything to lose, what do the numbers prove? How do they help anyone see anything they didn't know earlier?

    What difference does it make what the earnings are?

    In Amway, it's still around $80.00US isn't it? Last I checked, Amway is still the largest NWM company in the world, at aprox. 6.5 Billion dollars annually!

    What do the numbers you're asking for prove?

    If you can justify it with a legitimate need, that makes sense, I'll join your crusade for earnings tables. I'm all for a more honest NWM.

    Kerry Hein:sun_smiley:
    As long as it is acceptable for a person to beLIEve that he knows how god wants everyone on Earth to live, we will continue to murder one another on account of our myths. ~ Sam Harris, 'The End Of Faith'
    ~~~~~
    Christianity demands the crucifixion of the intellect.
    ~ Susan Kierkegaard

  8. #8
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    Re: J. Taylor & R. Fitzpatrick linked to Minkow sc

    Quote Originally Posted by ohein56 View Post
    BARRY MINKOW - ROBERT FITZPATRICK - JON TAYLOR PhD CAUGHT IN SHORT SELL?
    As to the latter two, is there any proof of this? Let's look.

    convicted stock manipulator Sam Antar and securities class action litigator Howard Sirota were working in concert with convicted stock manipulator Barry Minkow’s Fraud Discovery Institute (FDI) to manipulate the share price of USANA, a public company.
    Background: a year or so ago, USANA commenced a lawsuit against Minkow and his company, the Fraud Discovery Institute, in the District of Utah under docket 07-cv-159. In addition to stock manipulation, USANA alleged that Minkow had defamed them, had tortiously interfered with their business, and so forth. Minkow is indeed a convicted con man who, since his release from jail many years ago, has repeatedly aided law enforcement (including the FBI) in exposing and prosecuting scams. Here is USANA's amended complaint.

    After discovery proceedings, in a decision with quite interesting implications, Judge Campbell has granted Minkow's motion to dismiss all claims except the claim of violation of 10(b)(5) (manipulating stock prices). The opinion is here. Basically, the Court ruled (as have others) that the state-law (here California, since USANA's claims were brought under CA law) anti-SLAPP statute applies to diversity cases under Erie. However, Minkow and associates' profits from shorting USANA stock don't come within the rubric of "public participation", and also arguably constitute a federal claim, and so that cause of action remains. I cannot resist pointing out that, when the suit was first brought over a year ago, I wrote that Minkow's hubristic stock machinations were going to cause him problems.

    Finally, from the "adding insult to injury" department: As posted above, Judge Campbell dismissed all of USANA's causes of action against Minkow except the stock manipulation, basically agreeing that Minkow had sufficiently shown that USANA's stuff is overpriced and overhyped. Now, under California's anti-SLAPP statute, she has awarded Minkow costs and attorneys' fees in the amount of $143K, to be paid by USANA.

    Is it a coincidence that Wentz is trying to take USANA private? I can't resist repeating wserra's Rule One for ripoff MLMs: don't go public. They can find out too much about you.

    End of background.

    Minkow admitted in mid-2006, convicted felon Antar sent him a check for $100,000 because Antar thought he was a good example. Minkow just accidentally decided to use Antar’s money to finance FDI’s attack on USANA, which was published and delivered to the SEC on February 20, 2007 before Minkow established a short position in USANA stock, as well as investing in put options (both of which gain value as a stock loses value). Minkow admitted in total, Antar’s support for FDI has exceeded $250,000.
    I would be interested in seeing the deposition transcript, but Minkow has essentially admitted shorting USANA - as I said, a really dumb move. And Antar is an unsavory character. But what about Taylor and Fitzpatrick?

    How much did Jon Taylor PhD get paid for his rant on USANA? How much did Robert Fitzpatrick get paid? Are they in deep enough for being indicted on securities violations?
    Ah. There it is. Tell me, how often did you molest those poor six-year-olds in the last month?

    Here's a free hint: Putting something defamatory in the form of a question doesn't make it less defamatory, either legally or morally. What is your good faith basis for implying that either Taylor or Fitzpatrick did anything illegal? Doesn't exist, does it?

    Oh, you were "just asking"? Well, so was I.

  9. #9
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    Re: J. Taylor & R. Fitzpatrick linked to Minkow sc

    Quote Originally Posted by wserra View Post
    As to the latter two, is there any proof of this? Let's look.



    Background: a year or so ago, USANA commenced a lawsuit against Minkow and his company, the Fraud Discovery Institute, in the District of Utah under docket 07-cv-159. In addition to stock manipulation, USANA alleged that Minkow had defamed them, had tortiously interfered with their business, and so forth. Minkow is indeed a convicted con man who, since his release from jail many years ago, has repeatedly aided law enforcement (including the FBI) in exposing and prosecuting scams. Here is USANA's amended complaint.

    After discovery proceedings, in a decision with quite interesting implications, Judge Campbell has granted Minkow's motion to dismiss all claims except the claim of violation of 10(b)(5) (manipulating stock prices). The opinion is here. Basically, the Court ruled (as have others) that the state-law (here California, since USANA's claims were brought under CA law) anti-SLAPP statute applies to diversity cases under Erie. However, Minkow and associates' profits from shorting USANA stock don't come within the rubric of "public participation", and also arguably constitute a federal claim, and so that cause of action remains. I cannot resist pointing out that, when the suit was first brought over a year ago, I wrote that Minkow's hubristic stock machinations were going to cause him problems.

    Finally, from the "adding insult to injury" department: As posted above, Judge Campbell dismissed all of USANA's causes of action against Minkow except the stock manipulation, basically agreeing that Minkow had sufficiently shown that USANA's stuff is overpriced and overhyped. Now, under California's anti-SLAPP statute, she has awarded Minkow costs and attorneys' fees in the amount of $143K, to be paid by USANA.

    Is it a coincidence that Wentz is trying to take USANA private? I can't resist repeating wserra's Rule One for ripoff MLMs: don't go public. They can find out too much about you.

    End of background.



    I would be interested in seeing the deposition transcript, but Minkow has essentially admitted shorting USANA - as I said, a really dumb move. And Antar is an unsavory character. But what about Taylor and Fitzpatrick?



    Ah. There it is. Tell me, how often did you molest those poor six-year-olds in the last month?

    Here's a free hint: Putting something defamatory in the form of a question doesn't make it less defamatory, either legally or morally. What is your good faith basis for implying that either Taylor or Fitzpatrick did anything illegal? Doesn't exist, does it?

    Oh, you were "just asking"? Well, so was I.
    Nice Point! But remember Kerry is pro-MLM and these educated people provide concrete evidence that show MLM is a flawed design, so it is understandable that he can't see anyone else's point of view.

    Last time I checked shorting a stock is not illegal and there seems to be ample proof that Minkow revealed his short position to the authorities.

    This is a more revealing look at the USANA position.

    http://www.cheatinginchina.com/USANA_China_Report.pdf

  10. #10
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    Re: J. Taylor & R. Fitzpatrick linked to Minkow sc

    Quote Originally Posted by nomass View Post
    Last time I checked shorting a stock is not illegal and there seems to be ample proof that Minkow revealed his short position to the authorities.
    Of course, there is nothing unlawful about shorting stock. It's a perfectly legitimate tool in the investor's toolbox. However, there is something unlawful about shorting stock and then releasing false information to manipulate the stock price, under the now famous Rule 10(b)(5) of the 1934 Securities Exchange Act (15 USC 78j). I'm not saying that Minkow did that, but USANA is, and they made enough of a showing that Judge Campbell denied Minkow's summary judgment motion on that cause of action (and only that cause of action - she dismissed all of the rest). Minkow can renew that motion following further discovery, and thus may yet get the entire case dismissed, but as of now it's still an issue.

  11. #11
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    Re: J. Taylor & R. Fitzpatrick linked to Minkow sc

    Quote Originally Posted by wserra View Post
    Of course, there is nothing unlawful about shorting stock. It's a perfectly legitimate tool in the investor's toolbox. However, there is something unlawful about shorting stock and then releasing false information to manipulate the stock price, under the now famous Rule 10(b)(5) of the 1934 Securities Exchange Act (15 USC 78j). I'm not saying that Minkow did that, but USANA is, and they made enough of a showing that Judge Campbell denied Minkow's summary judgment motion on that cause of action (and only that cause of action - she dismissed all of the rest). Minkow can renew that motion following further discovery, and thus may yet get the entire case dismissed, but as of now it's still an issue.
    Thsnk for adding your perspective. It counts!

    Welcome to scam.com!

    Kerry Hein:sun_smiley:
    As long as it is acceptable for a person to beLIEve that he knows how god wants everyone on Earth to live, we will continue to murder one another on account of our myths. ~ Sam Harris, 'The End Of Faith'
    ~~~~~
    Christianity demands the crucifixion of the intellect.
    ~ Susan Kierkegaard

  12. #12
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    Re: J. Taylor & R. Fitzpatrick linked to Minkow sc

    Quote Originally Posted by wserra View Post
    As to the latter two, is there any proof of this? Let's look.



    Background: a year or so ago, USANA commenced a lawsuit against Minkow and his company, the Fraud Discovery Institute, in the District of Utah under docket 07-cv-159. In addition to stock manipulation, USANA alleged that Minkow had defamed them, had tortiously interfered with their business, and so forth. Minkow is indeed a convicted con man who, since his release from jail many years ago, has repeatedly aided law enforcement (including the FBI) in exposing and prosecuting scams. Here is USANA's amended complaint.

    After discovery proceedings, in a decision with quite interesting implications, Judge Campbell has granted Minkow's motion to dismiss all claims except the claim of violation of 10(b)(5) (manipulating stock prices). The opinion is here. Basically, the Court ruled (as have others) that the state-law (here California, since USANA's claims were brought under CA law) anti-SLAPP statute applies to diversity cases under Erie. However, Minkow and associates' profits from shorting USANA stock don't come within the rubric of "public participation", and also arguably constitute a federal claim, and so that cause of action remains. I cannot resist pointing out that, when the suit was first brought over a year ago, I wrote that Minkow's hubristic stock machinations were going to cause him problems.

    Finally, from the "adding insult to injury" department: As posted above, Judge Campbell dismissed all of USANA's causes of action against Minkow except the stock manipulation, basically agreeing that Minkow had sufficiently shown that USANA's stuff is overpriced and overhyped. Now, under California's anti-SLAPP statute, she has awarded Minkow costs and attorneys' fees in the amount of $143K, to be paid by USANA.

    Is it a coincidence that Wentz is trying to take USANA private? I can't resist repeating wserra's Rule One for ripoff MLMs: don't go public. They can find out too much about you.

    End of background.



    I would be interested in seeing the deposition transcript, but Minkow has essentially admitted shorting USANA - as I said, a really dumb move. And Antar is an unsavory character. But what about Taylor and Fitzpatrick?



    Ah. There it is. Tell me, how often did you molest those poor six-year-olds in the last month?

    Here's a free hint: Putting something defamatory in the form of a question doesn't make it less defamatory, either legally or morally. What is your good faith basis for implying that either Taylor or Fitzpatrick did anything illegal? Doesn't exist, does it?

    Oh, you were "just asking"? Well, so was I.
    Thanks for posting! 'Asking' is all I'm up to here!

    Minkow's definately got some "issues" alright!

    Isn't it great living in a democracy where your entitled to freely express your opinion?

    You said;
    I can't resist repeating wserra's Rule One for ripoff MLMs: don't go public. They can find out too much about you.
    JMHO, but "Going public" for an MLM company is not the proper venue for this kind of business model anyways! A "public" company has to answer to the stockholders. A privately held MLM answers to the distributor base. The majority of MLM companies are privately owned for this very reason. And IMHO, that's as it should be!

    Welcome to scam.com.

    How's life on the Anti-MLM side of the fence? Hope all's well.

    Kerry Hein:sun_smiley:
    As long as it is acceptable for a person to beLIEve that he knows how god wants everyone on Earth to live, we will continue to murder one another on account of our myths. ~ Sam Harris, 'The End Of Faith'
    ~~~~~
    Christianity demands the crucifixion of the intellect.
    ~ Susan Kierkegaard

  13. #13
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    Re: J. Taylor & R. Fitzpatrick linked to Minkow sc

    Quote Originally Posted by wserra View Post
    Of course, there is nothing unlawful about shorting stock. It's a perfectly legitimate tool in the investor's toolbox. However, there is something unlawful about shorting stock and then releasing false information to manipulate the stock price, under the now famous Rule 10(b)(5) of the 1934 Securities Exchange Act (15 USC 78j). I'm not saying that Minkow did that, but USANA is, and they made enough of a showing that Judge Campbell denied Minkow's summary judgment motion on that cause of action (and only that cause of action - she dismissed all of the rest). Minkow can renew that motion following further discovery, and thus may yet get the entire case dismissed, but as of now it's still an issue.
    Actually if you look a little more I think that you will find that Minkow did alert the authorities that he planned on shorting the stock before he initiated his attack. Why did USANA decide to go private again? Could it be to avoid these type of hits?

    What about the China connection?

  14. #14
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    Re: J. Taylor & R. Fitzpatrick linked to Minkow sc

    Quote Originally Posted by nomass View Post
    Nice Point! But remember Kerry is pro-MLM and these educated people provide concrete evidence that show MLM is a flawed design, so it is understandable that he can't see anyone else's point of view.

    Last time I checked shorting a stock is not illegal and there seems to be ample proof that Minkow revealed his short position to the authorities.

    This is a more revealing look at the USANA position.

    http://www.cheatinginchina.com/USANA_China_Report.pdf
    1
    An Open Rebuttal to the
    Fraud Discovery Institute Report on
    Usana Health Sciences
    Len Clements © 2007
    Assertions:
    On March 15th the Wall Street Journal published a summary of an 86 page report by the Fraud
    Discovery Institute (FDI) which alleges that the public company Usana Health Sciences (USNA)
    is guilty of “multiple alleged misrepresentations, material non-disclosure and an untenable
    business model.” The FDI is directed by Barry Minkow, who did employ the assistance of others
    in gathering his information, but who appears to be solely responsible for the report’s contents.
    According to Minkow, Usana is in violation of federal law because:
    1. Usana’s products are “hopelessly overpriced” and their claim that they can save consumers
    “75%” off retail prices due to the elimination of “middlemen” in the distribution chain is a lie;
    2. Only 14% of sales comes from customers (thus Usana is a de facto pyramid scheme);
    3. Usana is an unregistered security;
    4. Usana leadership is deceptive and dishonest;
    5. No less than 85% of current distributors are losing money, and at least 74% will fail within
    their fist year of business;
    6. Only 3% of Usana distributors receive 70% of all commissions and bonuses;
    7. Usana has an “untenable”1 business model which is based on the perpetual turnover of failed
    distributors, thus is destined to collapse due to market saturation.
    Although Minkow makes other lesser, peripheral assertions, these seven points make up the bulk
    of his 86 page report and will therefore be the basis for this rebuttal.
    Disclosure:
    I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Usana distributor or employee. I have never owned
    Usana stock nor have I had any financial interest in Usana of any kind. I have never been hired
    by Usana as a speaker, consultant, expert witness, or any other type of position, nor have I
    been asked by anyone to produce this rebuttal. In fact, I currently hold a corporate position with
    a competing U.S. based health & nutrition network marketing company.
    I am the founder and CEO if MarketWave, Inc.2, a research, education and consulting firm
    exclusively serving the network marketing industry, and the author of the book “Inside Network
    Marketing”. I have worked full time over the past 17 years studying and analyzing the MLM
    industry and have worked to expose the frauds and pyramid schemes that often try to disguise
    themselves as legitimate MLM operations. As one of only five court-certified experts in multilevel
    marketing in the United States, I am acutely aware of the difference.
    1 So poorly designed as to be indefensible.
    2 http://www.marketwaveinc.com
    2
    Rebuttal:
    Before I respond to each of the seven points above, let’s do a little house cleaning.
    First, Barry, the company you claim to have so thoroughly investigated and gained such insight
    and expertise into is not called oo-sana, it’s pronounced you-sana.
    I have read Minkow’s 86 page report, which is not “500 pages”, although I agree it does create a
    greater illusion of substance when the larger number is used. I suppose he can rationalize this
    claim by including all the addendums, much of which has little or nothing to do with Usana. In
    fact, a good portion is nothing more than the tired, discredited regurgitations of his anti-MLM
    zealot cohorts Robert FitzPatrick3 and Dr. Jon Taylor4 (click on the links below for rebuttals to
    their biased, anti-MLM propaganda). I have also read Minkow’s response to Usana’s defamation
    law suit5, his follow up reports, and viewed his three (so far) video responses on YouTube.
    Mr. Minkow claims he began his investigation into MLM in early 2004 when he was contacted by
    an ex-distributor for an unnamed MLM company who had been refused a $500 refund. After an
    “eight week investigation” the FDI (which appears to be Minkow and one other partner, a private
    investigator) issued a report to “various law enforcement agencies” including the FTC which
    included opinions of the company from “experts in the multilevel marketing industry.” Surely this
    was again Fitzpatrick and/or Taylor, but Minkow does not name them. The complainer eventually
    received a full refund of his $500. Minkow includes this anecdote in the opening paragraphs of
    his Usana report “to confirm our methodology and approach…” in his Usana investigation. What
    Minkow described appears to me to be what’s called a “shakedown”. But then, there’s no way of
    knowing for sure what the circumstances were surrounding Mr. Minkow’s introduction to network
    marketing since no details are provided. The addendum that includes the complaining
    distributor’s thank you letter to the FDI does cryptically mention getting a refund from “the
    FCC”, but surely the Federal Communication Commission doesn’t have an MLM division, and no
    such named MLM company has ever existed (nor could it, for obvious reasons). Since MLM
    companies are well respected for their generous refund policies (name any other type of
    business where you can get a 90%-100% refund on all unsold inventory and marketing
    materials if you decide to give up), it’s very likely that this distributor was refused a refund
    because he either didn’t qualify for one, or the company wasn’t a legitimate MLM venture.
    Since Minkow seems so well acquainted with the afore-mentioned anti-MLM zealots FitzPatrick
    and Taylor it appears likely that they played a significant role in his three year education into the
    MLM industry. He now appears to have been indoctrinated into their anti-MLM clique and
    brainwashed into believing certain aspects of MLM that are obviously, logically, and legally
    untrue. Which is unfortunate, on multiple levels (pun intended). To his credit, before this
    egregious misstep Minkow and his FDI have exposed (or assisted in exposing) a number of bona
    fide fraudulent operations. Seventeen of them by his count. Of course, there’s no mention of
    how many companies he has investigated, or issued reports on, that turned out to be innocent.
    You’ll appreciate the irony of this missing “beneath the iceberg” information in a moment.
    Mr. Minkow appears to have taken the same debate classes I took in college, or at least learned
    the same techniques. One of the most effective, which he accuses guys like me of (MLM
    “apologists”) is called the “diversion” technique. In other words, if you can’t diminish the
    credibility of your opposition’s point, try to diminish the credibility of your opposition. While
    somewhat hypocritical, since Minkow often employs the same ad hominem attack strategy, his
    most masterful move involves what’s called the “preemptive” technique. That’s where he tells
    you in advance what his opposition is going to say in their rebuttal, so when you hear it you will
    3 http://www.marketwaveinc.com/articles/Zealots02.asp
    4 http://www.marketwaveinc.com/articles/Zealots08.asp
    5 http://sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/8...8527_1ex99.htm
    3
    think, “Ah ha! They’re saying just what he said they would say.” This is designed to get you to
    give less consideration to the actual rebuttal points, regardless of their legitimacy. For example,
    Minkow warns the reader of his report to expect us to claim that he is just “rehashing the same
    old arguments.” So if you had already read his report before you read the third paragraph of this
    Rebuttal section you would be keen to believe I have just tried to distract or mislead you in
    exactly the way he had predicted. Let’s forget the fact that many of his primary arguments are
    just a rehashing of the same old arguments! Another example is his prediction that we will label
    failed distributors who now criticize the industry as nothing more than “disgruntled” who have an
    ax to grind. But many, if not most, of those ex-distributors who now make a point of publicly
    bashing everything MLM (not just the single program they were involved in) are disgruntled, and
    do have an ax to grind. Minkow even videotaped one for your viewing pleasure on YouTube! You
    see, MLM is virtually the only form of business where you can blame someone or something else
    for your failure and receive almost 100% acceptance of your excuse. I had a bad sponsor, bad
    product, bad pay plan, bad company leadership, or the MLM model was just bad… well, of course
    it was. Case closed. No one ever seems to fail at MLM because they just weren’t good at it. But if
    you fail at selling cars, or real estate investing, or your Taco Bell franchise closes, then it was
    because you weren’t very good at selling cars, investing in real estate, or running a Taco Bell
    franchise. Only MLM seems to offer a roasted scapegoat on a silver platter.
    Now here’s where Minkow warned you I would try to “demonize” the critic. Barry Minkow is an
    ex-con. He spent about 7.5 years (of a 25 year sentence) in prison and was ordered to pay
    $26,000,000 in restitution to his victims6 after being convicted on 57 counts of fraud. It’s odd
    that he repeatedly mentions this in his reports to, I can only assume, paradoxically enhance his
    credibility today as a fraud investigator (it takes one to know one). Yet, when Usana points out
    his felony conviction for stock fraud (the legal term for lying to investors to manipulate the stock
    price of his company), he then asks that you disregard this fact. It means nothing. Ignore the
    fact that he took money from the Mob7 and white supremacists to fund his scam, or that he
    doctored more than 20,000 documents using Wite-Out correction fluid.8 Let’s forget the fact that
    Minkow bought “put” options on Usana stock before he published his report and thus stands to
    gain thousands of dollars if Usana’s stock price were to drop – which it did, by 15%, the day his
    report was published.9 He continues to warn us that those who attack MLMs may also be labeled
    by us as “short sellers” with a “profit motive”. But, Minkow is a short seller with a profit
    motive!10 We are also asked to ignore the fact that an anonymous “paying client” commissioned
    the Usana report. Considering Usana’s growth over recent years, and the fact its stock has risen
    over 1,600% since early 2002 while also being one of the most “shorted” stocks11 on the market
    (1.75 million shares, or 18.5% of the float, as of 4/9/07) there’s certainly plenty of potential
    “clients” out there who would be willing to pay for a negative report on them.
    Minkow now asks us to dismiss all this, and to forget his past history of fraudulent stock
    manipulation, lying, and deception, and now implores us to just focus on the facts.
    Okay, let’s do that.
    6 This restitution order to repay all victims was dismissed in 2002 (at the judge’s discretion, not because it was
    repaid). Minkow is currently paying restitution of about $19 million to only Union Bank.
    7 Minkow reveals “I was involved in organized crime” during a TheStreet.com interview @ http://tinyurl.com/36zn3n.
    8 http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/b...n26minkow.html
    9 Minkow claims his profits from this investment will barely cover his investigative expenses. We are asked to take his
    word for this as no accounting of his investigative expenses are disclosed. This also offers no valid response to
    whether or not Minkow intended to manipulate the Usana stock price. Regardless of his expenses, either he gained
    substantial income by their stock price drop, or he didn’t.
    10 Minkow also points out that those who make such an assertion are ironically those with the “greatest profit motive
    for MLMs to succeed…”. So, when you look at my credentials for example, you’re suppose to think, “Look at that. He’s
    right on again!” Considered logically this is perhaps the most obvious “duh” statement in his entire report. Of course
    those who are the most successful, who have the greatest to lose, will fight the hardest to defend their livelihood.
    11 An investing technique where one profits from a stock price going down rather than increasing.
    4
    Point 1 – “Overpriced” Products.
    I own a belt. It’s a basic, flat, dark brown strip of leather with a plain rectangular brass buckle
    that doesn’t always function properly. I paid over $100.00 for it. Or more specifically, for the
    word “Gucci” etched into the buckle. Gucci did over three billion in sales last year.
    On a recent trip to the supermarket I noticed the price of a bottle of Perrier was about double
    that of Canada Dry’s brand. For fizzy water. Does Perrier have a higher quality water, or higher
    quality fizz, I wonder? Perrier did over one billion dollars in sales last year.
    I recently purchased a box of peanut butter Girl Scout cookies for $3.00. They’re almost identical
    to a shelf brand that sells for $1.29. Yet every year I load up on Girl Scout cookies, and
    apparently I’m not alone. Those little girls sold over 174 million boxes last year.
    The point being, there are things that can cause a product’s intrinsic value to increase that go
    beyond the sum of its component parts. For example, you might pay a premium for a nutritional
    or beauty care product if you also got the individual attention of your own personal salesperson,
    or the availability of a corporate support line. Or, as anyone with even a modicum of knowledge
    in supplement formulation would know, there’s much more to designing a nutritional product
    than simply dumping in a variety of nutrients to create big percentages in the RDA12 column.
    There’s also things like ratios and balance to consider (i.e. many vitamins cannot be properly
    absorbed without certain trace minerals, too much copper and iron can cause a vitamin C
    deficiency, etc.). There’s the standardization process to make sure herbal products have a
    consistent amount of the active substance (some brands are standardized, some are not).
    There’s the form of the ingredient to consider (i.e. are the trace minerals colloidal, chelated or
    ionic?). There’s the form of the product to consider (i.e. is it a tablet, a powder, a capsule, a gel
    cap, etc.). We must also consider the quality of the nutrient (i.e. when researching Ganoderma
    suppliers for my own company I found one grade that sold for about 40% of the price of the
    premium grade, but both would appear as simply “Ganoderma” on the label). Amounts of each
    ingredient matter, but not for the most obvious reasons. Most vitamins and minerals can be
    unhealthy if taken in large enough doses, so the bigger the percentage in the RDA column isn’t
    necessarily the better.
    Which of these multivitamin products13 do you think would be the higher priced one?
    Product A Product B
    Nutrient RDA RDA
    Vitamin A 100% 100%
    Vitamin B1 133% 100%
    Vitamin C 400% 100%
    Vitamin D 125% 100%
    Vitamin E 100% 90%
    Calcium 500% 250%
    Iron 300% 150%
    Biotin 10% 100%
    Magnesium 75% 70%
    Potassium 100% 100%
    Folic Acid 90% 85%
    In fact, nothing more than the difference in Biotin, a relatively expensive and vital nutrient,
    could cause Product B to be sold at a higher price than Product A.14
    12 Recommended Daily Allowance.
    13 These are made up products for the sake of example.
    5
    When Minkow manically visited different supplement retailers (in an anti-Usana YouTube video)
    to compare the price of Usana’s HealthPak 100 product with other “comparable” products, there
    is no mention as to whether any of these factors were considered, and from what was shown it’s
    clear that none of it was.15 Minkow simply asked the clerk to find brands with a similar ingredient
    list and amounts. That’s it.
    I’m not attempting here to defend the value proposition of specifically Usana’s products (I’m
    sure they are much more capable of that than I am). What I’ve just described applies to every
    nutritional product! To ignore these fundamental aspects of product comparison, as Minkow has
    done, is reckless and irresponsible.
    Minkow’s product pricing peeve isn’t just about their premium prices, but appears more to do
    with their alleged claim that by going direct from manufacturer to customer, thus eliminating all
    the middlemen, a “75% savings” can be afforded the buyer. Minkow repeatedly mocks this claim
    and employs it often when criticizing Usana’s product pricing.16 There’s just one problem. Usana
    doesn’t make such a claim. In both the transcript of the Usana meeting Minkow attended17 and
    in the PowerPoint slide Usana presents online (below) it is clearly stated that Usana saves 75%,
    not the end-user!
    Most network marketing
    companies extol the
    benefits of this bypassing of
    the middleman as a means
    to afford greater
    commissions to their sales
    reps. This, and the
    dramatically reduced
    advertising costs, allow for
    a much larger chunk of the
    margin to go towards
    distributor rewards and
    compensation than those
    that are sold via
    conventional channels
    (since the distributors
    themselves are essentially
    the “middlemen” and their
    advertising mechanism).18
    And that’s exactly what
    Usana is doing here. Note the slide above exclaims “Receive a generous percentage of the
    profits”, not “Receive a generous discount on products”, let alone receive a 75% discount. In
    fact, there is nothing in this Usana presentation (the only one I could find on the Usana web site
    related to this point) that claims a 75% lower product price. Nothing!
    14 Next time you go to the store, check the various multivitamin brands and notice how many supply “megadoses” of
    each nutrient – except for Biotin.
    15 At one stop the clerk brought a product to the counter which had a retail price of $11.00 and change. Since all
    other retail brands chosen were as much as two to three times the price, it is extremely unlikely this was a
    “comparable” product to even the other brands, let alone to Usana’s HealthPak 100. But the clerk said it was, so
    naturally Minkow ran with it.
    16 He sites this alleged claim no less than 10 times in his report, and devotes an entire video to it.
    17 At the Usana headquarters, where he posed as a prospect and secretly recorded a meeting (legal in Utah).
    18 Minkow claims in one of his YouTube videos that Usana “can not pay all these levels and be competitively priced.”
    If the expense associated with those levels replaces a multi-million dollar advertising expense, then yes, they can.
    6
    On a side note, back when I was a Longevity Network distributor we had a product called
    Nature’s Vitality, a full spectrum supplement product similar to Usana’s Essential Nutritionals,
    which they sold at the time for $50.00 wholesale, $65.00 suggested retail.19 Our Nature’s Vitality
    sold for $85.00 wholesale, $106.00 retail. And we sold a lot of it! To a lot of people who were
    not distributors! In fact, I still get calls to this day from past customers asking how they can find
    this product – four years after the company discontinued it!20
    Minkow’s intentions, or perhaps his investigative skills, are most suspect where he attempts to
    discredit specific Usana products claims with the use of lab reports. For example, he asserts that
    Usana’s claim that their TenX bar has “10 times the antioxidant power of any juice product
    currently on the market” is false. To prove this he includes a lab report that shows the TenX™
    bar contained only “just over 2” times21 the antioxidant units that were found in Langers Grape
    Juice Plus. However, he compared a 40 gram bar to 8 ounces of juice! Compared apples to
    apples (or in this case grapes to grapes) the TenX bar contained 384 antioxidant units per gram
    where the grape juice contained 23.2 units per gram. So, technically Minkow was right. Usana’s
    bar does not contain “ten times” the antioxidants as this grape juice product – it contains 16.5
    times as much!
    He also submits a lab report22 that allegedly validates his claim that Usana’s Health Pak 100™
    contained no N-Acetyle L-Cysteine at all, contrary to the 50 mg listed on the label. In reality the
    report clearly states that this nutrient was “Not Detected”. That does not mean there was none.
    In response to this Usana did something that Minkow and his investigators apparently hadn’t
    thought to do – they picked up a telephone and called the lab. What they discovered was that
    the lab, also questioning the non-detection of this ingredient, intentionally spiked a sample with
    N-Acetyle L-Cysteine and tested it again. Low and behold, it was still “Not Detected”.
    In yet another example of Minkow’s clumsy (or perhaps deliberate) misrepresentation of facts,
    he claims the lab report shows the Health Pak 100 contained only 13.3 mg of grape seed extract
    rather than the 45 mg on the label. However, the lab report clearly specified that they only
    analyzed the amount of “proanthcyanidins”, a component of grape seed extract. In other words,
    it was kind of like an orange juice product supplier claiming their bottle contained 32 oz. of pure
    orange juice, then someone calling them a liar because it didn’t contain 32 oz. of vitamin C.
    Okay, one more, then we’re move on.
    Minkow cites in his report that Usana tried to lower their prices in early 200023 but then
    “reverted back to the higher prices” which “sealed Usana’s fate forever” since they now had no
    hope of providing a competitively priced retail product. This price reversion never happened. For
    example, Usana’s lead product, Essentials™, cost $52.50 before the price dropped to $34.95.
    Today it’s $39.95, which doesn’t even keep up with inflation!24
    Minkow so vigorously dwells on this pricing issue because it is the backbone to his pyramid
    scheme claim. He has been mislead to believe that the FTC requires all MLM companies to sell at
    least 70% of their products to non-distributor at full retail25 (so not even discount receiving
    19 Circa early 1995.
    20 Actually they discontinued the company in the U.S., although it never completely ceased operations.
    21 His findings produced a result of 2.6 times more, which seems a lot more than “just over” 2.
    22 As Addendum 5.
    23 Which they did, by an average of 24%.
    24 If this product increased in price commensurate with inflation, it would now cost about $42.00.
    25 This long debunked claim is a favorite of Robert FitzPatrick’s, who Minkow acknowledges as his source.
    7
    Preferred Customers would count).26 The pyramid scheme issue, and the proof of this claims
    illegitimacy, will be discussed in the next section. But let’s be clear on this point before we
    continue: A lot of people buy products that are much higher priced than another with
    comparable components – just for the product. It probably happens a million times a day in this
    country. And we know for sure that there were at least 76,000 people who bought Usana
    products just for the product because Minkow tells us (albeit in a footnote) in his report!27
    Minkow claims that Usana is a pyramid because only distributors who have a quota to meet
    would buy their products at their prices, yet admits he is fully aware there were seventy-six
    thousand people last year who bought the products as Preferred Customers!28
    Usana surveyed over 48,000 of their own Associates a couple years ago and asked them why
    they joined the business. Over 75% said it was primarily to improve their health. Only 24.3%
    said it was primarily to improve their financial future, and 24% of that group said they only
    wanted to replace their current income or make a small supplementary income. Minkow mocks
    this claim as preposterous, and twists it into the make-believe claim that 75% are in Usana only
    for the products. Since I’m sure any intelligent reader will understand the difference between
    “primarily” and “only”, I won’t bore you with the Webster’s definition of either.
    Point 2 – Usana is a Pyramid Scheme.
    Although Minkow prefers to state that only “14%” of Usana sales were to Preferred Customers,
    as opposed to “76,000” Preferred Customers, or the equivalent statement “Preferred Customers
    accounted for $13.33 million dollars in sales”29, there were surely even more who were just
    purchasing the products because they actually wanted them, and would have purchased them
    even if there were no financial incentive. As is true with all legitimate MLM companies, many
    distributors start out as customers and then enroll either to get the product at wholesale
    prices30, to take advantage of discounts, specials or rewards exclusive to distributors (as would
    be the case in Usana), or to get a small commission from friends and family members who they
    were recommending the product to anyway (but not to build an MLM business). It is also typical
    for MLM companies to have a significant number of people who started out as business building
    distributors and then, for what ever reason, discontinued their efforts but continued to purchase
    products (but who would still show as a “distributor” in the company’s computer). In Usana,
    there is no incentive for a distributor who no longer is an active business builder, but who still
    wished to purchase products, to revert to a Preferred Customer (perhaps there should be, so
    they can be counted as such). But surely they’re there. If even 2% of what Usana now calls
    “active distributors” were among this group, that’s another 3,000 customers. Or, what Minkow
    appears to believe are supplement shoppers who are too gullible and/or ignorant to understand
    the value of what they are purchasing. Sometimes there’s a fine line between being courageous
    and being foolish, but to so blatantly insult almost 80,000 people this way surely makes Mr.
    Minkow one or the other.
    Here’s another fact that Minkow failed to include in his report: Usana offers a 100% refund to all
    customers and distributors (which Usana calls “Associates”) within the first 30 days, and a 90%
    refund for up to one year (which it typical for many MLM companies). Surely with so many
    26 Minkow does acknowledge that preferred customer purchases would count on page 34 of his report, but then
    contradicts this on pages 54 and 55.
    27 Usana claims there are now over 80,000 Preferred Customers as of 3/30/07.
    28 Preferred Customers are not allowed to resell Usana products nor can they enroll distributors.
    29 All data based on Usana’s 3rd quarter, 2006 10-Q, which is the same statement Minkow based his number on.
    Preferred Customer sales were reported to be $52,386,600 for the entire year of 2006.
    30 In the case of Usana it costs nothing to enroll as a Preferred Customer and receive the same wholesale cost as a
    distributor.
    8
    people only making token purchases to meet their quotas each month, and then dropping out
    (over 113,000 per year, according to Minkow)31 one would think that Usana would be deluged
    with a tsunami of product returns. Yet, over the past three years Usana’s product returns have
    been 2.1% in ’04, 1.5% in ’05, and 1.6% last year.32 This would be only slightly below the MLM
    industry average, by the way, so I’ll ask Taylor and Fitzpatrick the same question I’ll now ask
    Minkow: If the vast majority of Usana’s $374 million in product sales last year were to people
    who neither wanted nor resold any of it, and they could all easily return it for a 90-100% refund
    after they “failed” – why didn’t they?
    Minkow’s basis for declaring Usana an illegal pyramid is gleaned from his “experts” Robert
    Fitzpatrick and Jon Taylor, who choose to believe that the FTC requires 70% of all sales by MLM
    companies to be to (non-distributor) retail customers. This is easily proved wrong, and while it’s
    hard to believe they have not discovered this yet, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and
    assume they are just confused. Admittedly, it’s easy to see why. Back in 1975 the FTC sued
    Amway for being an illegal pyramid. Amway won, of course, but from that case came a set of
    “Amway Safeguards”, one of which is now called the “70% Rule”. This was not a law at all, but
    simply a requirement that Amway adopted to prevent the front loading or stock piling of
    unwanted product, usually purchased to achieve higher paying ranks in the pay plan.33 In fact,
    the judge in the Amway case specifically identified this “70% Rule”, including the part about
    “wholesale” sales to downline distributors, as one of the reasons why Amway was not an illegal
    pyramid!34 Most MLM companies today use this as a guideline and have adopted a similar rule
    that requires all reps to “sell or consume” at least 70% of their previous orders before they can
    place another order (again to prevent front-loading and stockpiling of products)35.
    Another place where anti-MLM zealots go to get their “proof” is to federal cases involving
    companies like Equinox and Five Star Auto Club. Minkow states “…the FTC required that as least
    51% of commissions paid to recruiting distributors… must be sourced from retail revenue (sales
    to consumers who are not part of the chain)” (emphasis original).36 In the Equinox and FSAC
    cases the FTC did indeed require 70% of these company’s sales to be to non-distributors.
    However, since this seemed to contradict the ruling in the earlier FTC vs. Amway case, the DSA
    contacted the FTC and asked them for clarification. In the FTC’s response letter37 they clearly
    stated that “In fact, the amount of internal consumption in any multi-level compensation
    business does not determine whether or not the FTC will consider the plan a pyramid scheme”
    (emphasis mine). There it is, in black and white, straight from the horse’s mouth. Case closed.
    They’re wrong. FitzPatrick, Taylor, Minkow – wrong. But we’re not done.
    In regards to cases such as Equinox and Five Star Auto Club, the FTC goes on to say that “these
    orders often contain provisions that place extra constraints upon a wrongdoer that do not apply
    to the general public… These ‘fencing-in’ provisions only apply to the defendant signing the
    order… They do not represent the general state of the law.” (emphasis mine). The FTC goes on
    to confirm that they evaluate the motive for buying the products, not how the purchaser is
    classified.
    31 Based on Usana’s reported 153,000 distributors and Minkow’s assertion that 74% of them fail within their first
    year.
    32 Based on Usana’s 2006 10-K, stated as a percentage of net sales.
    33 Amway’s original “70% Rule” provides that every distributor “must sell at wholesale and/or retail at least 70% of
    the total amount of products he/she bought during a given month in order to receive the Performance Bonus…”.
    34 Initial Decision, p. 26, Findings 72-75, and p. 58, Findings 145-47.
    35 No provision for products wholesaled to one’s downline is included today because no company distributes their
    products this way any more. All distributors and most customers now buy directly from the company.
    36 Page 55 of his Usana report.
    37 See http://www.marketwaveinc.com/FTC_Letter.pdf.
    9
    Even FTC economist and anti-MLMer ally Peter Vander Nat is quoted in the Wall Street Journal as
    saying distributor purchases can be a bona fide end-user sale depending on intent. “If people are
    buying because they want to use a company’s products, those sales can count as retail” he says.
    By the way, there are now eight states38 that have specifically designated personally consumed
    products purchased by distributors to be a bona fide sale to and end user.39
    Minkow tries to make a connection between Usana and previously prosecuted pyramid schemes,
    such as International Heritage Inc., which was closed down by the SEC in 1998. Minkow states
    that the SEC’s reasoning for declaring IHI an illegal pyramid “clearly applies to Usana…”. But if
    you read the entire complaint,40 rather than the cherry picked sections he asks you to focus on,
    you’ll discover two things: First; the primary reasons for the SEC action was that IHI was selling
    shares in the company (in violation of securities law), and secondly; not only was IHI essentially
    selling positions in their binary plan (up to 7), the company was openly discouraging retail sales!
    Why International Heritage was deemed illegal has nothing what-so-ever to do with Usana!
    The lengths that Minkow goes to in an attempt to conjure up negativity towards Usana almost
    makes it seem as if someone paid him to make this company look bad. Oh, wait…
    Side note: I believe I have sufficiently established at this point that the basis for much, if not
    most, of Minkow’s case, as far as Usana (and MLM in general) being an illegal and “untenable”
    business model, is parroted from the claims made by Robert Fitzpatrick and Jon Taylor. Rather
    than continuing to address them as a trio, or referring to them by a more efficient moniker, such
    as FitzMinklor, I will refer only to Mr. Minkow as the source of these accusations from this point
    forward unless addressing a claim specific to one or the other.
    Since there is absolutely and verifiably no case precedent or law that omits the products willingly
    and legitimately purchased by Usana distributors from the equation when applying any state of
    federal anti-pyramid test (no matter how much FitzMinklor makes believe there is – sorry, I had
    to use it just once), no further rebuttal within the legal arena is necessary.
    So how about a common sense one?
    Minkow sanctions the claim41 that Usana violated securities law by not revealing to investors that
    they are an illegal pyramid. Seriously. Presumably we must infer from this that Minkow believes
    Usana was knowingly operating as an illegal pyramid scheme. Yet, they chose to be a publicly
    traded company thus allowing access by anyone and everyone to every page of their books.
    They decided to take all the necessary steps to allow the most possible scrutiny of their
    operation. And they’ve not only deceived thousands of investors, they’ve managed to pull one
    over on the regulators at every level of government not only in the United States (for 15 years),
    but all the regulators within thirteen foreign governments as well! Minkow even includes a set of
    Investment Research Reports on Usana42 by eight different Wall Street analysts, who’s expertise
    is in evaluating the growth potential of public companies – all of which found no fault in Usana’s
    business model, nor any concern as to their legality. Minkow included these reports as examples
    of how Usana so masterfully fools even seasoned stock analysts – by not fully disclosing all of
    the data that Minkow easily acquired from Usana’s public disclosures.
    I’m sure Usana’s attorneys appreciate the irony of this as well. Hopefully, so will the SEC.
    38 Louisiana, Montana, Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Utah, Idaho and Washington.
    39 All other states are mute on this issue. All have anti-pyramiding laws, but none specifically discount personally
    consumed products by distributors as a bona fide sale (although, based on case precedent, North Dakota seems to
    lean heavily in this direction).
    40 Included with the Usana report as Addendum 7.
    41 Via a report submitted by Doug Brooks, Esq. and included as Addendum 11.
    42 Addendum 8.
    10
    Minkow asserts that Usana, in spite of all its “evil”43, has managed to exist for so long by staying
    “under the regulatory radar.” A public company. With an army of over 100,000 distributors.
    Forbes “5th Best Small Company”. Who’s home state’s Attorney General spoke at their national
    convention. That Usana?
    Finally, Minkow chastises Usana’s auditor, Grant Thornton LLP (who has an expertise in auditing
    retail sales)44, for not noticing that their client’s data was “fictional”. He sites there are standards
    Grant Thornton should follow that require them to “have a thorough knowledge of the business
    of multi-level marketing and, specifically, Usana’s business.”
    Shouldn’t Mr. Minkow be held to this same standard?
    Point 3 – Usana is an Unregistered Security.
    The laymen’s definition of a security is something that someone invests in expecting the value of
    it to go up so they can sell it at a profit, without doing anything else. A share of stock is the
    most common example. The legal definition45 is: 1) The investment of consideration (anything of
    value, even effort or a promise, but usually money); 2) into a common enterprise (where others
    are investing into as well); 3) with “profits to come solely from the efforts of others.” If you offer
    such a security to someone that is not registered as such with the Securities & Exchange
    Commission, and/or you are not licensed to offer such securities, you would be breaking the law.
    Although appearing to be a “common enterprise”, a distributorship and an MLM company are
    actually two distinct entities. The source and distribution of profits between the two are different.
    The distributor can succeed when the company operates at a loss and vice-versa. Although it is
    debatable as to whether the non-required inventory purchased by distributors or the at-cost
    distributor kit is an “investment of consideration”, and this clearly doesn’t apply to the spirit and
    intent of the law, let’s concede this point for now. Of the three parts of the “Howey Test”, it only
    takes one failure to make the subject not a security. Although a strong case can be made that
    MLM ventures do not meet any of the SEC’s standards for a security, MLM distributorships
    absolutely do not create profits solely from the efforts of others!
    Of all the anti-MLM mantras I’ve heard over the years, none offend me more than this one. To
    suggest that I did not apply any effort into building my businesses, and my success was
    achieved solely by the efforts of others, is ignorant and insulting. To put it not nearly as bluntly
    as I’d like, I worked my tail off to make money in this business. I earned it! And I am not
    unusual. In fact, in my 17 years of full time participation, I have never seen even one person
    succeed in this business who did not also provide a great deal of their own efforts in, yes,
    enrolling others, but also in selling products, educating themselves, and in supporting and
    training their organization.
    Minkow desperately tries to make a case to the contrary by first rewriting securities law.
    Actually, he quotes from a report supplied by attorney Doug Brooks where Mr. Brooks now
    defines the Howey Test as requiring “profits to be derived primarily, but not exclusively, from
    the entrepreneurial or managerial efforts of others.” Note the addition of “but not exclusively”,
    43 This is the word he actually used during a TheStreet.com interview. Although I might forgive his hyperbole, he
    seemed to be speaking literally. I’d have thought such a term would be reserved for the likes of Charles Manson and
    the Nazi Party, not an MLM company who doesn’t have enough retail customers.
    44 http://www.grantthornton.com.
    45 SEC vs. J. W. Howey Co., 1945.
    11
    which seems to be a deliberate attempt to make the Howey test fit the MLM model.46 Curiously,
    in Book’s actual report47 he does state this revised requirement just one paragraph after quoting
    the real Howey decision verbatim.
    Brooks claims, and Minkow reiterates, that the profits from the activity of enrolling distributors
    “is primarily dependent on the activities of the Company and the upline.” This is one of the most
    glaring examples of where practical experience in MLM would have served Minkow and his “MLM
    experts” well. Instead they must resort to pure speculation and theory. And in this case they
    misfire so badly it would be humorous if not for its seriousness. Those readers who do possess
    even a modicum of MLM experience will likely assume here that Minkow et al are referring to
    “spill over”48. If only they were. Hyping of spill over is a practice that was, for the most part,
    abolished in the early 90s after a wave of regulatory attacks involving gold coin, jewelry and
    phone card schemes. Today is it considered taboo among responsible companies and
    distributors. But now, Minkow somehow believes that our success is based primarily on our
    upline and company because they “organize and orchestrate the recruitment program and rigidly
    control the tools and methods.” Even if that were true, which is isn’t, logic still fails to repair the
    disconnect between this claim and my downline being built without my effort. Doesn’t someone
    have to follow that recruitment program and use those tools and methods? Brooks and Minkow
    create an oddly irrational dichotomy between the “distributor” and “upline”, as if they are two
    distinct and specific entities. But if you were, say, 100 levels deep from the apex of the Usana
    (or any company’s) national organization, wouldn’t the person one level up from you be your
    “upline”? And wouldn’t they have an upline of 98 others? In fact, shouldn’t the person 90 levels
    up from you also be your upline, who also has an upline? The moment you enroll your first
    person, don’t you become their upline? So at what level down from the apex, I wonder
    rhetorically, does one stop becoming the upline doing the work and start becoming the nonworking
    downline who is benefiting from it?
    But the Brooks/Minkow case gets even weirder.
    In the Brooks report he goes on to suggest that the new distributor’s “profit potential is further
    dependent on the collective entrepreneurial activities and fates of those he/she enrolls.” In other
    words, every distributor’s income is primarily dependent on the efforts of every other distributor
    above and below them, but not on their own efforts (thus, all distributors are applying the effort
    that provides income to all of the same distributors who are applying no effort).
    One way out of this conundrum is to somehow make the process of enrolling new distributors
    not count towards the “effort” requirement (which only works if we also assume there’s no retail
    profits to be had, but we won’t retread old territory). And sure enough, Brooks does just that.
    And naturally, Minkow is quick to endorse the concept. Brooks claims that by listing a series of
    cases involving actual pyramid schemes, where the “efforts of a distributor to invite new
    distributors into the scheme” did not satisfy the Howey Test, this is prima-facie evidence that a
    Usana distributor’s enrollment efforts would not be applicable as well. However, earlier in
    Brook’s report he claims he has prosecuted cases against Nu Skin, Herbalife and was co-counsel
    46 There may be other more recent case precedent where the phrase “but not exclusively” was incorporated, but you
    can’t use the Howey decision as the basis for your argument and then append to it more convenient language to
    prevent it from essentially disproving your argument.
    47 Which Minkow includes as Addendum 11, yet also reproduces almost verbatim and in it’s entirety in the body of his
    report as well.
    48 Where the downline structure has a limited width thus, once a level is filled, forcing new enrollees to be positioned
    below previously enrolled distributors.
    12
    in the Webster vs. Omnitrition49 class action case. But, if the laborious task of “recruiting” new
    reps doesn’t count as “effort”, then wouldn’t Nu Skin, Herbalife and Omnitrition all be
    unregistered securities as well? So, why are they all still in business – for a combined 55 years –
    using the same basic MLM business model as they used when Brooks prosecuted them?
    The Brooks report includes a series of 24 bullet points that attempt to bolster his case that
    Usana reps are tightly controlled by the company which creates a “syndrome of anti-retail
    factors” that “negate personal ability to gain a return on investment.”50 This list is either
    redundant (i.e. “Severe restriction on advertising”, and “No television or radio advertising is
    allowed”), completely irrelevant to the issue (i.e. “Distributorships cannot be merged”), reveal a
    lack of understanding of the Usana program (i.e. “The option to offer Usana products at
    wholesale prices to so called Preferred Customers”, which would eliminate retail profits, that’s
    true, but would still result in a sales override) or of the MLM concept in general (i.e. “No
    marketing investment by the company to attract retail customers, such as national advertising,
    corporate sponsorship, lead generation programs, etc.”, which is not only untrue51 in the case of
    Usana, but is the primary reason the MLM model provides such high commission structures – the
    distributors are their advertising!). The rest of the list is mostly policies employed by most MLM
    companies that are designed to discourage the very types of things anti-MLM zealots criticize
    MLM programs for! For example, a prohibition against: spouses activating more than one
    distributorship (to prevent “buying centers”); creating their own advertising until they reach a
    high level of experience (to prevent inexperienced reps from making misleading or illegal
    claims); using the company logo (to prevent misleading the public into believing they are a part
    of corporate); approaching a prospect for at least two weeks after they have been invited to an
    event by another distributor (to prevent prospect poaching); pitching existing reps on a
    competing MLM opportunity, changing uplines, or accessing contact information for downline
    members they did not personally sponsor (to prevent cross-sponsoring and downline raiding)52;
    and disparaging other distributors or the company (do I even need to explain this one?). Brooks
    concludes his report by reminding us of the Civil Code that requires distributors and companies
    to refrain from making unsubstantiated earnings claims. I’m sure he would also agree that
    making medical claims about our products is prohibited as well. Yet when Usana, like virtually all
    legitimate MLM companies, employs policies & procedures to discourage and control such activity
    he exploits it as indirect evidence of Usana’s illegality! Brooks, like any skilled attorney, has
    masterfully set up the board to make sure Usana is checkmated no matter where they move.
    Once Minkow is finished quoting Brooks he offers some of his own observations, such as:
    A Usana distributorship “requires an initial investment”, which can be easily verified as untrue.
    Like any sales position in any industry, greater income can be earned by achieving higher
    quotas. However, no product purchase of any kind (other than an at-cost distributor kit for as
    49 In 1994 the 9th Circuit Court (the most overturned Appellate court in the U.S., which has ruled the Pledge of
    Allegiance unconstitutional) simply overturned a summary judgment in favor of Omnitrition and remanded the case
    back to the lower court. After refusing to hear an amicus brief offered by the DSA the 9th Circuit issued their ruling
    which included dicta (non-binding opinion) suggesting that personally purchased product by distributors should not be
    counted as a sale to an end user. The “class” in this case involved a total of two ex-Omnitrition distributors, and was
    eventually settled out of court with no action taken against Omnitrition. In spite of all of this, the “Omnitrition Case”
    has become infamous as the anti-MLMer’s Rosetta Stone of “evidence” supporting their legal claims against MLM.
    50 Minkow refers to Usana reps as “distributors” throughout his report, but once a discussion of securities law comes
    into play they suddenly revert to “investors”. Once this section is concluded they return to their previous “distributor”
    status.
    51 Minkow begins one of his anti-Usana YouTube videos by holding up a copy of a recent issue of “Success at Home”
    magazine (which he incorrectly refers to as the unrelated “Success Magazine”) which is a high-cost corporate
    advertising piece.
    52 Based on cases where I have served as an expert witness, the company has a “fiduciary responsibility” to protect
    the interests of distributors in this manner.
    13
    low as $20) is required to acquire a distributorship and the right to enroll Associates, purchase
    at wholesale, and resell to others.
    Usana reps are “required” to order products themselves every four weeks to remain qualified for
    commissions. This is also untrue. Retail customer orders count towards a distributor’s “Personal
    Sales Volume” qualifier. This quota (200 BV, or about $260) can be met entirely by orders
    placed by others with no personal expenditure by the rep (thus creating a very strong incentive
    to retail and gain customers, which applies to virtually all product based MLM programs).
    Distributor “fees” are commissionable. They are not. Ever. By any MLM company.
    Although not directly related to being an “unregistered security”, there are a couple other
    security violation allegations that should be addressed before moving on.
    Minkow claims that Usana’s “President and CEO”, Dave Wentz, authored a letter to the FTC in
    response to the FTC’s proposed new business opportunity rule53 where he cited strong concerns
    about Usana’s ability to grow if the new rule was implemented as written. But then, according to
    Minkow, Dave Wentz signed, under oath, the company’s subsequent quarterly disclosures (10-Q)
    filed with the SEC where the “Risk Factors” section downplayed the impact of the new rule.
    Minkow then asserts that Dave Wentz must be lying to one federal agency or the other.
    First, if read closely the statements are not even contradictory. The 10-Qs suggest that the new
    rule will likely be revised from its original form to have a much less negative impact on MLM
    companies, if the new rule will even apply to MLM at all (it may not, and it will very likely be
    revised significantly). If it is not revised and applied as is, then it may cause severe hardship on
    MLM companies (although, in my personal opinion, it still wouldn’t). This would be analogous to
    my saying that if a meteor were to strike the Earth it could cause devastation, but it would
    probably burn up in the atmosphere, or break up into smaller, less destructive chunks, so don’t
    worry about it. Are either of those statements a lie?
    But this is all academic. Because Dave Wentz, who is not the CEO of Usana as Minkow asserts
    (he is the President), didn’t sign the 10-Q. Usana’s CFO Gil Fuller and their actual CEO Dr. Myron
    Wentz did. The two documents in question were signed by different people! An easy blunder for
    you and I, maybe. But Minkow is suppose to be a pro at this!54
    Minkow can be excused for believing a “re-entry” position in the Usana pay plan “has no
    functional justification” (without re-entries a distributor’s income would be capped, or “max
    out”). Most distributors aren’t even 100% clear on every aspect of their program’s pay plan. But
    for him to ethically question why several Usana “insiders” have been selling stock (by exercising
    their stock options) while at the same time the company is repurchasing a large number of
    shares seems to be a deliberate attempt to create suspicious by design. I’ve only been investing
    in the stock market for three years, and have read just one book on the subject, but have
    learned enough to know you “buy low and sell high”. So maybe – I’m just posing another
    possible theory here – these “insiders” sold their stock because the value of it had increased
    1,600% over the past five years! Although the most innocent, and much more likely explanation
    for the repurchasing of shares by the company requires a primer in the subject (which I have
    neither the expertise nor space to include), suffice it to say it’s not an uncommon practice for
    53 Rule R511993; see http://www.ftc.gov/os/comments/businessopprule.
    54 After Usana exposed these errors in their libel suit, Minkow managed to get himself off the hook by locating a later
    10-K document with the same reference to the proposed FTC rule which was signed by nine members of Usana
    corporate, including Dave Wentz. However, Minkow never even attempts to explain how he got so much wrong the
    first time.
    14
    publicly traded MLM companies55 who want to assert greater control of their company (especially
    those who may be laying the groundwork to take the company private – I’m not implying
    anything as far as Usana, I’m just saying…).
    Minkow ostensively makes his case against Usana to save their distributors and investors from
    financial harm. Yet, his report was directly responsible for huge financial losses by Usana
    investors when it caused their stock value to drop 15% in one day (now down 29.1% as of this
    writing). In his report he exclaims that Usana “is obsessed with keeping the stock price
    escalating and the company appears to be willing to do anything to accomplish this goal.” Well,
    if I were an investor in Usana stock I’m not sure I’d have a problem with that. Now, if I had
    shorted the stock, and was losing money as the stock price increased…
    It looks like somebody had a problem with that.
    Point 4 – Usana leadership is deceptive and dishonest.
    According to Minkow, Usana Founder and Chairman Dr. Myron Wentz, the majority stock holder,
    renounced his United States citizenship and “misrepresents the location of the entity that owns
    46% of Usana stock” – which, allegedly, is the tax-haven country of Liechtenstein.
    I am a court certified expert in multilevel marketing, not tax law. My admittedly naive but
    reasoned response to Dr. Wentz’s citizenship, and where and how he invests his personal funds,
    is “so what?” None of this has anything to do with the legitimacy of Usana’s MLM business
    model. But then, it’s doubtful that this exposé of Dr. Wentz’s personal finances was included in
    Minkow’s report because it has any bearing on the value of Usana, either as an investment or an
    business opportunity. This appears to have been added for the sole purpose of manufacturing an
    atmosphere of fraud and distrust where none otherwise existed.
    Minkow includes as two of his addendums a letter from a Sara Jones56, who claims to have never
    been a Usana employee nor the employee of any bank or government agency. Yet, she
    somehow knows that Usana is “hiding 2 million in debt”. Apparently Minkow’s investigation into
    this allegation could not turn up any evidence of wrong-doing, otherwise he surely would have
    included this in his report. But, of course, this didn’t stop him from including the letter anyway.
    This letter, sent to Minkow on 2/17/07, also alludes to an IRS “criminal” investigation of Dr.
    Wentz back in 2004-05. There was no criminal investigation of Dr. Wentz by the IRS during or
    around those years.57 But, of course, this didn’t cause Minkow to wite-out this section of the
    letter (a task he is keenly familiar with, as noted previously), nor did it prevent him from
    declaring it in his report.
    The insidiousness of this letter goes much deeper than just a trust-bruising throw in. About two
    months ago Usana got a call from their bank informing them that someone claiming to be CFO
    Gil Fuller had called and spoken with a lower level bank employee. This caller had Usana’s valid
    account numbers. The male caller asked for an accounting of any debt or lines of credit held by
    Usana and the employee mistakenly identified a 2 million dollar line of credit that does not
    actually exist.58 However, because the employee mistakenly identified it as a line of credit when
    55 Herbalife, Nu Skin, Market America, PrePaid Legal, Reliv and Mannatech have all repurchased large blocks of
    shares in recent years.
    56 This letter is listed as Addendum 17 on the FDI web site, but is also included as Addendum 20 which is suppose to
    be a list of “Insider Transactions”.
    57 Dr. Wentz did have his returns from two years in the mid-90s investigated by the IRS in the late 90s, but he was
    cleared and the investigation was dismissed without any finding of wrong doing.
    58 It was an internal line of credit that banks set aside for customers with good credit that they are authorized to
    15
    it was not, the bank informed Usana of the incident. At that point Usana first became aware that
    their CFO had been impersonated and that Usana and the bank had been the victim of a scam.
    Within days of this incident Usana received a list of questions from Tracey Coenen, a minorleague
    anti-MLM zealot,59 fraud investigator, and forensic CPA. Ms. Coenen claimed to have been
    retained by a client to examine Usana’s financial statements and wanted to know why they had a
    previously undisclosed line of credit for $2 million dollars. Usana responded truthfully (that there
    was no such line of credit) but, not knowing who her client was or anything about Minkow at that
    point, did nothing further. Ms. Coenen’s “client” was the FDI. She assisted in the production and
    editing of Minkow’s Usana report.60
    The letter, with a “sent” date of January 8th, includes an email header with a sent date of
    February 17th. This suggests Minkow is still in contact with “Sara Jones” and may have asked
    her to resend the letter.61
    It is my suspicion that Minkow had to introduce these accusations and rumors using an
    anonymous email because he knew he could not use this illegally retrieved (thus inadmissible)
    information otherwise. Since Usana has no knowledge of a Sara Jones (which is likely a
    pseudonym), Usana can't question him/her. Admittedly, this is only a theory based on
    circumstantial, but compelling, evidence.
    Minkow must have danced with joy when he discovered that Usana board member Dr. Denis
    Waitley (who’s name he misspells) didn’t really have a Masters Degree (although he does have a
    Ph.D.), as was stated in Usana’s Proxy Statement to the SEC. Minkow has exploited this to the
    hilt. Surely not a single investor ever relied upon the fact one board member had a Masters
    Degree in their decision to buy shares of Usana stock, but no matter. “This proves a pattern of
    behavior by (Waitley), but more importantly, a public cover-up and distortion of the facts by
    Usana Health Sciences…”, says Minkow.62 He further asserts that, when Dr. Waitley was busted,
    Usana took the fall. “He lied, they covered”, by claiming it was an editing error on Usana’s part.
    Here’s Usana’s press release on the matter. You be the judge.
    “Dr. Waitley recently informed Usana that an error appeared in his biography listed in
    the Company’s proxy statement and that he did not in fact earn a masters degree in
    Organizational Development…”
    Here’s a comment from the investigative service Minkow hired to look into Dr. Waitley:
    “Curiously, (Waitley’s) Masters degree does not appear in the biography on either of
    two web sites maintained by the subject, namely http://www.waitley.com and
    http://www.deniswaitley.com.”
    That is curious, isn’t it Barry?
    Minkow also exploits the fact that La Jolla University, where Dr. Waitley earned his Doctorate
    (Ph.D.) degree, is no longer in existence and, it appears, neither are their records from the time
    Dr. Waitley was a student. Since the Private Eye Minkow hired to snoop into Waitley’s past was
    unable to verify his Ph.D., this means, according to Minkow, that it must be suspect as well.
    extend should the customer ask. Usana did not ask for the line nor did they sign for it.
    59 She is the founder of PinkTruth.com which is dedicated to destroying Mary Kay Cosmetics.
    60 http://www.sequence-inc.com/fraudfiles/
    61 There has been no reply to two email requests for a response to sajones09@excite.com.
    62 Newly Acquired Information (posted at FDI on 4/12/07).
    16
    Since the dead can no longer defend themselves, Minkow was surely comfortable in referring to
    “Mr.” Waitley’s degree as coming from a “now defunct and never-accredited diploma mill."
    Ah, but the dead can sometimes defend themselves. Well, at least a dead University’s past
    president can. In a notarized affidavit63 supplied by Dr. Denis Muhilly, the president of La Jolla
    University from 1985 to 1991, the California State Department of Education issued La Jolla U.
    “Full Institutional Approval”. Dr. Muhilly alleges that the California SDE issued a statement
    asserting that such approval was comparable to “full accreditation”.64 He further verified that Dr.
    Waitley did indeed attend classes, produce a dissertation, and many people attended his
    graduation ceremony.
    Although it’s hard to imagine attacking Denis Waitley, one of the most beloved and respected
    educators, motivators and mentors in America, on moral grounds as it would seem his lifetime of
    service speaks for itself. However, Brett Blake, a past Vice President of Marketing for Usana and
    now a consultant to the industry, knows Dr. Waitley and both David and Myron Wentz on a
    personal level. Brett maintains a blog65 pertaining to the Minkow attack on Usana, within which
    he states, “I have found each to be honorable, honest and respectful individuals… Minkow has
    smeared all three of these men to the point that the uninformed would believe that they are evil
    and conniving men just out to make a buck. A careful examination of their personal lives and
    their business careers would reveal that these three individuals are good men.”
    Minkow continues to build his house-of-cards on quicksand by attacking the Usana Medical
    Advisory Board for having positions in the distributor hierarchy. “The company presents their
    advisory board as an independent medical body…”, he claims. “What is never disclosed is that
    each and every one of these advisory board members have a financial stake and vested interest
    in peddling Usana products, as they are part of the total compensation paid to distributors…
    They tout Usana products with an undisclosed and undeniable financial motive.”
    Obviously unbeknownst to Minkow is that many MLM companies compensate consultants,
    programmers, board members, etc. by providing them upline positions in the compensation
    plan. This provides a substantial financial advantage to the company that few other types of
    businesses can access. Rather than paying the board member and the distributorship position
    (which they’d have to pay to somebody), they only pay the distributorship. What’s more, the
    performance of the individual who is compensated this way is based more on merit that for just
    showing up. There is no law, or legal precedent, to suggest this method of compensation is
    improper, nor do securities issues come into play since they are proving effort for their income.
    However, in the case of Usana, this isn’t even the case! I only explained the above to show that
    even if Minkow were correct in his accusation it would be meaningless. But he isn’t. The
    members of all of Usana’s boards (they also have a sports advisory board and market specific
    distributor boards) are all made up of people who were already successful distributors first, and
    then were asked to be part of the advisory board. Usana not only doesn’t try to hide this fact, as
    Minkow claims, they trumpet their successes as distributors on their web site, in newsletters, on
    conference calls and from the stage. Usana has never held out the members of the medical
    advisory board to be independent, nor were they rewarded or paid with a distributorship.
    In one case a medical advisory board member was married to a successful Usana distributor.
    That was the case with Dr. Ladd McNamara, which Minkow beats up on by flicking his ear with
    his finger and calling them pile-drivers. Dr. McNamara “voluntary” surrendered his medical
    63 http://www.marketwaveinc.com/article...yAffidavit.pdf
    64 Freelife International has recently made the same assertion when Dr. Earl Mindell’s Ph.D. from a California
    university was challenged.
    65 http://directsellingtrends.blogspot.com
    17
    license in Georgia three years ago. Knowing that the reader’s imagination will fill in the blanks,
    Minkow presents nothing to provide an explanation, nor any evidence of specific disciplinary
    action against the doctor. The fact that the good doctor moved to California not long after this
    apparently made no impression on Minkow. Instead, he exploits the innocent, arguable mistake
    of McNamara setting up his corporation under the name Ladd McNamara, M.D., Inc. in California
    before actually having a medical license in that state. Obviously just creating a legal corporation
    doesn’t mean you are in business yet, or actually practicing medicine yet, in this case. The fact
    this corporation was legally established just two months ago, and that there is no reference to a
    practicing physician of that name in or around his new residence, either online or in the phone
    book – well, of course this had to be ignored by Minkow and his hired gun because it would offer
    a reasonable and rational explanation. What’s more, had these professional investigators
    bothered to use the “email them and ask” technique they would have discovered that Dr.
    McNamara doesn’t even intend to practice medicine in California! According to McNamara his
    corporation is for “marketing” related to his Usana business.
    Minkow isn’t done with poor Dr. McNamara. In an effort to dig up even the smallest pebble to
    sling at Usana (glass house be damned) Minkow claims he is also affiliated with a non-profit
    foundation run by Dave and Myron Wentz, which is still not registered with the IRS. Surely
    knowing that the average reader will be unaware that such registration is not legally required,
    this does create the illusion of evasion. First of all, there’s no evidence this foundation is even
    functional yet. Secondly, even if it is, not having IRS registration66 does not necessarily mean
    you are not a legitimate non-profit organization. It just means the IRS hasn’t certified you as
    such yet, and those who donate to your organization may not be able to write off the donation.
    I mentioned earlier that Utah State Attorney General Mark Shurtleff spoke at a recent Usana
    convention (2004). Minkow claims that a Usana distributor, speaking at a meeting Minkow
    attended and secretly recorded, claimed that Mr. Shurtleff told the convention audience that
    Usana was “doing it right”. That’s about all the distributor said in the way of claiming Mr.
    Shurtleff endorsed Usana, and yes, even this was in violation of the Usana policy against
    claiming any AG has approved the company. But he can’t leave it as simply an overenthusiastic,
    but truthful slip. Minkow, clearly believing he’s struck gold amongst the dirt he’s digging for,
    then claims the following (excerpted verbatim from his Usana Report – I have added the
    underlines for emphasis):
    Fact: On February 16, 2007, our associate called Paul Murphy, the Press Secretary
    for Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. Mr. Murphy spoke to Helen (Shurtleff’s personal
    assistant) and she does not retain his schedule that far back (the Usana 2004 Annual
    Convention). Paul did confirm that Mr. Shurtleff has never and will never endorse any
    company or product. He will, however, show up to conventions or groups that have
    donated money to good causes and give thank you speeches.
    In this particular case with Usana, Paul believes Mr. Shurtleff would have gone and
    delivered a speech on the founding fathers or a point of law this is his standard
    speech he delivers at every convention. He most likely would have ended with
    thanking the company for inviting him and telling them to keep up the good work.
    But he would have not endorsed them in any way.
    Also, Mark would be extremely interested to see any promotional material Usana is
    using which states that Mr. Shurtleff does indeed endorse them. He would put out a
    cease and desist immediately.
    66 Per Publication 78.
    18
    Moreover, on February 16, 2007, Paul Murphy called our associate back and
    confirmed that Mr. Shurtleff was indeed present at the Usana convention in
    September 2004. Paul spoke with Mr. Shurtleff personally on this. Mr. Shurtleff only
    gave a quick 5 to 10 minute opening remarks speech, and he did not endorse Usana
    in any way. His speech included welcoming people to the convention and a shortened
    version of his standard speech, which had nothing to do with Usana.
    Who does a distributor confront about this material misrepresentation that took place
    on the very premises of Usana’s headquarters? This kind of lie and distortion is an
    example of just how far the Usana organization and its distributors are willing to go
    in order to feed the recruiting beast that devours unknowing distributors.
    Unlike Barry Minkow, apparently, I think a video or audio recording of what someone said is a
    better source of confirmation that a second hand verbal description from someone who wasn’t
    even present. So I contacted Usana and asked them if they had any recordings of the AG’s
    presentation – and guess what!
    Yes, it was that simple. And after watching a video of Mr. Shurtleff’s 6.5 minute speech there
    wasn’t much doubt about whether he said Usana was “doing it right”. Oh, he did. In fact, he
    said, “Usana has the reputation around this country for being the ones who do it right.” He
    started his speech by saying that he and Utah’s governor had decided to change the name of the
    state to “Utana”. I’m sure he was joking. But then he also said, “If you do it right, and you do it
    legal, (MLM) is one of the greatest ways to help people realize the dreams and benefits and
    advantages of the free market system in the world today. And it’s legal, and AGs know this.” The
    emphasis is mine – and he wasn’t joking. And he said, “With Usana, as it stands today, when we
    get an email from somebody questioning it, all we have to do it write back and say they’ve been
    looked at and they are a great company, and they are doing it right and they are doing it legal.”
    Yes, he said it twice! We’re not done. He also said, “What you folks are offering, in every sense
    of the word, is that pursuit of happiness to everybody. Not only are you providing quality of life
    to people but you are also providing a system where it doesn’t matter who you are… if you work
    hard you can realize the dream of financial wealth and success. There is no greater way to do
    that than through direct sales and multilevel marketing programs” (all emphasis is mine). He
    ended his speech with this closing remark: “After watching this (Usana) video this morning,
    maybe when I’m done being AG I’ll go out and really do something that will benefit people’s lives
    and become a Usana distributor.” We’ll have to wait and see if he was joking about that.
    So what do you think? I kind of think he did say nice things about Usana.67 In fact, I don’t think
    any of those “facts” Minkow just related about Mr. Shurtleff’s speech were facts at all. In fact, I
    think Minkow’s depiction of it was a gross material misrepresentation!
    By the way, I had a link to the video of Mr. Shurtleff’s presentation here68, but Barry Minkow
    called the AG’s office under the pretext that Usana reps were using it for promotional purposes69
    (but strangely provided no, what should have been easily obtainable, evidence of this – no web
    site URL, no link to a message board, nothing). Being a student and staunch defender of the
    constitution and the first amendment, not to mention the truth, Mr. Shurtleff did not demand
    that the link be removed. However, at the risk that it could be used for promotional purposes,
    his office did politely request that it be removed. Since my intent was not to promote Usana, but
    only to disprove Minkow’s claim, and I believe I have effectively accomplished this, I certainly
    obliged their request.
    67 I even skipped the part where Mr. Shurtleff endorses, and consumes from the stage, one of Usana’s products.
    68 Usana provided the video only in response to my fact checking efforts. The decision to post the video within this
    document was entirely mine. In fact, Usana had also requested that it be removed.
    69 As is the policy in all MLM programs, Usana reps are strictly forbidden to even suggest that any state or federal
    regulator has in any way endorsed or approved their company.
    19
    While trying to dig up even more dirt on Usana Minkow buries himself even deeper with his
    latest YouTube video where he interviews a disgruntled ex-Usana distributor (the first in what
    he’s threatened to be a weekly series). His premier edition features Jane and JC Bishop, from
    the Kansas City area. In the heavily edited interview (I’d love to see what hit the cutting room
    floor) Mrs. Bishop tries to tell Minkow she joined because she was interested in nutrition but, of
    course, Minkow can have none of that. So he asks leading questions to steer her to say she
    actually joined because she was looking for an income opportunity. She claims “I gave this all I
    had” but only managed to enrolled her neighbor and her daughter (who enrolled one person)
    and lost about $5,000. According to Usana Mrs. Bishop was promoted twice to the rank of
    “Builder”70 which would appear inconsistent with a three-person downline. Minkow asks her more
    leading questions, such as “Why did you purchase three business centers?” Mrs. Bishops
    answers to the effect of “To make more money”, rather than explaining to Minkow that Usana
    distributors don’t purchase business centers.71 Naturally, Minkow never asks her pertinent
    questions like; How many months did she give it all she had; how many people did she talk to
    about the products or business, or; how much of her $5,000 in products and sales aids did she
    return for a refund? Who knows, maybe he did and just didn’t like her answers. Which is very
    possible considering Mrs. Bishop never even attempted to return a single product! Since she
    joined in May of 2006, she’s still eligible for a 90% refund on all of it. If she consumed or sold
    the product already she cannot claim that as a loss as she received the value. If she still has it,
    she can give it back. Perhaps she’s keeping it because, God forbid, she actually likes the
    products and wants them. Which is also very possible considering she originally joined Usana as
    a Preferred Customer! Then upgraded her status to Associate later.
    Here’s a question I’d love for Mr. Minkow to answer on YouTube: If this particular ex-distributor
    is a “victim” who was “doomed to fail” before she even joined Usana, then why are there several
    other profitable distributors within the same geographic area – including one of Usana’s most
    successful Gold Directors?
    Point 5 – Eighty-five percent of distributors are losing money, 74% will fail within their first year.
    The hub of FitzMinklor’s Wheel of Misfortune when it comes to virtually all MLMs is this claim of
    great failure rates among distributors. Almost every spoke of their anti-MLM argument leads
    here. And in this case, they’re right.
    The large majority of MLM distributors don’t succeed in even making a profit.
    But to use a couple of phrases that Minkow seems to be in love with (which, I admit, I also like),
    this is the “skin of the truth, stuffed with a lie”. Let’s look “below the iceberg”.72
    First, I had no choice but to invoke the name FitzMinklor again because Minkow’s data specific to
    Usana comes directly and entirely from the “expert” reports by Robert FitzPatrick and Jon Taylor,
    the latter of which appears to have done the most data torturing. I mean, number crunching.
    As is Taylor’s style (whose PhD is in Psychology), his arguments make sense on the surface, but
    when exfoliated one thin layer deep his logic completely falls apart. For example, in determining
    his “failure rate” he must, of course, make up numbers. I’d call them “educated guesses” except
    that Taylor’s only practical experience in MLM is one year in an old-school break-away program
    16 years ago (which had a completely different pay plan and qualification system than Usana).
    70 The Builder rank had an average annual income of $1,194 in 2005.
    71 A new distributor gets a position in the hierarchy at no charge, but then must achieve higher monthly product
    volume quotas to be paid higher commissions – much like every commissioned sales position in history!
    72 Ironically, the image of an iceberg Minkow references in his first footnote is fraudulent. See:
    http://www.snopes.com/photos/natural/iceberg.asp.
    20
    Taylor assumes that the average Usana rep buys $180 per month in product to remain qualified
    for income.73 For an “active” distributor, that’s probably not far off.74 But then he takes a wild
    guess that every rep also spends $150 per month for additional products (which would only be
    purchased for retailing at this point since the rep has already met their quota), training (which
    most MLM companies offer for free, as does Usana), and sales materials (which Usana has lost
    money on in two of the last three years)75. If we can’t count extra products purchased for retail,
    since they supposedly don’t exist (and actually provide a profit to the rep, so it makes no sense
    to factor it in when you’re trying so hard to show losses), and training is actually free, then do
    Usana reps really spend $150 per month on sales aids? No. They spend an average of $53 per
    year. How do I know this when Usana only reports net “Other Income” (I’d need the gross
    amount to determine this average expense)? Well, I dug down deep and did some really
    sophisticated investigating. I emailed Usana and asked them. But no sense confusing the issue
    with things like facts! Let’s continue with Taylor’s guesses.
    Next he pulls a figure of $750 per month out of his… thin air, and calls this a “very conservative”
    estimate of “operating expenses”, with “very little travel”. Taylor makes no attempt to justify
    this figure, other than to say it was about half of what he spent monthly during his “one year
    test” of MLM years earlier. Which probably explains why Taylor failed in that venture76. I can’t
    even begin to rationalize this number as an ongoing monthly expense (gas, phone bill, what
    else?). There is simply no rational justification for anyone but the most active, successful, full
    time distributor spending this much on their business. But let’s drudge on.
    So Taylor assumes Usana reps spend a total of $12,960 per year on their business. Based on
    Usana’s publicly disclosed commission-by-rank breakdown, he says, only those at the “Gold
    Director” rank and above would earn a profit (see chart below). That would be .32% (one-third
    of a percent) of all distributors. He then tortures this data a little more by assuming that only
    one in ten of these people will stay active in Usana for ten years, so he takes that figure further
    down to .032% (1/30th of a percent).
    First, let’s completely forget that last line because it’s completely arbitrary and makes absolutely
    no sense (if someone was earning $50,000 to $300,000 per year in residual income, I’m
    guessing more than 10% will keep doing that for ten years). Also, as the chart below77 shows
    there are many people within the four ranks under Gold Director who are also making a profit
    (check the Max column). He’s also taking a percentage of all distributors, not just those who are
    active (more on that in a minute). There’s also no mention anywhere of the tax savings an MLM
    rep can achieve by starting a legitimate home business.
    He also surmises that, conversely, “99.95% lose money and are likely to leave the program.”
    But this assumes all those at each rank are fixed and constant. This is not the case! This chart
    would be in a constant state of flux, with yes, people dropping out, but also with those at the
    bottom moving up the ranks. In fact, every single one of those top earning “Diamond Directors”
    were once down there among the bottom rung of this ladder.
    73 Half activate one business center, half activate three business centers.
    74 Taylor also states that this $180 is the minimum to be “active”. It is not. Active status is maintained by achieving
    100 CV, or Commissionable Volume (about $115) monthly.
    75 Chart F-3 in their 2006 10-K.
    76 In Taylor’s previous works he claims he was one of the most “successful” distributors in that company, thus cannot
    be accused of holding a grudge against MLM for that reason, yet paradoxically also claims he lost money. No attempt
    is ever made to reconcile these diametrically opposing claims.
    77 At the time of this writing Usana had just published their 2006 commission data chart, but all references in the
    Minkow report and Taylor addendum are to the 2005 chart. There is no material difference between the two charts.
    21
    Arguably the most egregious misrepresentation by Taylor is to assume all active distributors are
    spending almost 13 grand a year on their business. Taylor does eventually acknowledge that this
    expense “is for fairly aggressive and ambitious recruiters who recruit primarily in the area in
    which they reside”, and “higher level Associates who travel extensively on recruitment
    campaigns are likely spending several times that amount.” Granted Taylor gave MLM a try back
    in 1991, but that’s no excuse to not know about things like the internet, or email. Or for that
    matter, fax machines, regular mail, and telephones! These are now almost exclusively how
    organizations are built and supported in the 21st century. High level distributors who travel
    extensively typically do so to train and support their existing organization, not to personally
    recruit in new areas. Jon Taylor’s depiction of how multilevel marketing works today is severely
    outdated. His comparing the operating budgets of more successful distributors with those who
    are extending essentially no effort at all appears disingenuous and desperate. Taylor is correct in
    that aggressive and ambitious distributors may spend this much on their business, but they tend
    not to be the one’s on the lower “part time” half of the chart! At least, not for long. This point
    will be covered extensively in the next section.
    This whole argument also assumes these highly pessimistic expense estimates are ongoing. Not
    only are they not, this is perhaps the greatest, most highly touted, benefit of building a network
    marketing business! Once the income is developed, and you have a layer of leadership under
    you that will maintain it, it becomes completely residual! Even those 7,220 “Builders” (BLDR)
    don’t need to expend a penny more than what ever it takes to maintain their 200 CV monthly
    22
    quota to earn that average $1,271.88. In fact, the majority of those “Part Time” participants
    could easily be making a profit!
    To demonstrate: I served as an expert witness in a wrongful termination case78 a few years ago
    where I testified as to damages. The distributor was earning about $4,000 a month in gross
    commissions (and another $400 in retail, but I keep forgetting – that doesn’t exist), and zero
    net profits. I explained to the jury that, other than a $100 monthly sales quota (which those
    non-existent retail customers could have easily covered) they need not spend another dime to
    continue to earn that $4,000 every month – for the life of the distributorship. Since the company
    naturally promoted the “residual income potential” of the opportunity this was easy to justify.
    The defendant’s expert, a CPA with 30 years experience and 150 business appraisal cases under
    his belt, tried to make pretty much the same case Taylor is making. The jury got it. The plaintiff
    was awarded $650,000.
    Although many more people are making a profit in Usana than Taylor and Minkow would like you
    to believe, there are certainly many who are not. Most, actually. Maybe even 85%. No one
    knows because no one truly knows what each person’s expenses are. Even those who are not
    earning enough to cover their monthly 100 or 200 CV commission qualification my still be
    earning a profit depending on how much of it they retail and their tax savings. Technically, even
    the inventory they don’t resell, or use as samples, are still an asset on the books. And if this
    product is personally consumed then yes, technically it’s an expense. But an expense the same
    way your cost for a carton of milk is an expense. You have “lost money” on the transaction, but
    you gained an asset in return. If Usana reps were spending about $230 (200 CV) every month
    on nothing (just to “pay to play” as Taylor calls it), then this would truly be a net loss, and
    Usana would indeed be an illegal pyramid. But, of course, this is clearly not the case.
    It’s surely a lesser number, but let’s go with 85% are losing money just so we have a number to
    play with. Eighty-five percent do not lose money because the market is saturated. Eighty-five
    percent do not lose money because Usana (or MLM) products can not be retailed. Eighty-five
    percent do not lose money because of a flaw in Usana’s (or MLM’s) business model.
    Eighty-five percent of distributors lose money because 85% of distributors don’t do what they’re
    suppose to do to make money!
    People who spent $1,000,000 for a Taco Bell franchise typically take their business pretty
    seriously. People who spend $20 for a distributor kit do not. People usually spend 4-8 years and
    tens-of-thousands of dollars preparing for their career. For those who join a network marketing
    venture to eventually earn a living income (92%)79 this would essentially be a career choice. Yet,
    most will make this decision based on nothing more than a compelling “opportunity call” or a
    jazzy online flash presentation. Sure, a few really do their due-diligence, work hard and give it
    their best shot and still fail, as is true in any business. But the vast majority of those who enroll
    as an MLM distributor do little more than tell a couple friends about it, who decline, and they’re
    done. Many don’t even do that much. Some may even give it a good effort for a month or two,
    then not understanding the commitment level necessary to succeed they either drop out, or
    more likely hop from one “better” MLM program to another. Over and over and over. Much like a
    marathon runner who repeatedly stops at the one mile marker and returns to the starting line,
    then stands their scratching her head wondering why she can’t “succeed”. Then finally, as most
    ex-MLMers do, they walk away disgusted, blaming their failure on their shoes, the course, the
    race officials, the weather – everything but themselves.80
    78 Fugo vs. Starlight, 2002, Superior Court of California, County of Monterey. Case no. M51539.
    79 MarketWave survey, n=6,600, 1991-2000.
    80 I actually had an ex-distributor I sponsored tell me her failure was because, based on her astrological chart, her
    “moon was in the wrong house”.
    23
    This is not the place for a primer on MLM psychology, but suffice it to say, as mentioned earlier,
    MLM seems to be the only form of free enterprise where no one ever failed because they just
    weren’t very good at, or didn’t do anything. There are many ex-MLMers out there who worked
    the business wrong, and then claimed the business is wrong when it didn’t work. And existing
    MLM distributors, in general, tend to be a very fickle, flighty bunch. The cash is always greener
    in some other MLM program (Of 422 recently surveyed active distributors representing many
    companies, the number of distributors who are trying to pursue more than one MLM program
    simultaneously is over 25%; the average number of years in MLM is 8.6; and the number of
    companies they’ve been involved in averages 4.7)81. There’s always someone to tell them how
    their deal will make them richer, faster, easier (although a minority of MLM practitioners, there
    are still too many that play this game – which is a challenge with MLM’s packaging, not its
    content). MLM-folk also tend to spook easily (as do, to a lesser extent, stock market investors).
    Every bump in the road is Mount Everest, every puff of smoke is a mushroom cloud. This is why
    credibility wrecking reports like Minkow’s can be far more damaging to an MLM company than to
    a conventional one. If you wanted to make money by shorting a stock, destroying the confidence
    of reps for a publicly traded MLM company (and their customers, prospects and investors) is by
    far the most effective, fastest way to do it (although in Usana’s case exactly the opposite
    appears to be happening – the second full week after Minkow’s report was published they had
    their best sales week ever, which also ended another record quarter).
    Minkow claims Usana is hiding their attrition and turn-over rates from investors, and overstating
    the success potential to new distributors (the “below the iceberg” numbers). You be the judge:
    “The number of active Associates may not increase and could decline in the future.
    Associates may terminate their services at any time, and, like most direct selling
    companies, we experience a high turnover among Associates from year to year.”
    – 2006 10-K (for investors)
    “The earnings portrayed in this literature are not necessarily representative of the
    income, if any, that a USANA Associate can or will earn through his or her
    participation in the USANA Compensation Plan. These figures should not be
    considered as guarantees or projections of your actual earnings or profits. Any
    representation or guarantee of earnings would be misleading. Success with USANA
    results only from successful sales efforts, which require hard work, diligence, and
    leadership. Your success will depend on how effectively you exercise these qualities.”
    – Online Presentation (for distributors)82
    “MLM ‘dropouts’ are consistently abysmal, based on their own reports.”
    Oh wait. That last one was from Minkow’s report. I was confused because he kind of made it
    sound like MLMers did disclose our high drop out rates. Actually, I just read it again and I’m still
    confused.
    While clearly grasping for every last proverbial straw he can find, Minkow further claims Usana is
    “misleading” distributors (not investors) by referring to their total income as “earnings”. As
    Minkow points out, in the “investing world” earnings usually refers to profits. He’s right. Except,
    this isn’t the investing world. It’s the network marketing world, where “earnings” is routinely
    synonymous with “total commissions and bonuses”. Another example of Minkow’s ignorance of
    the form of business he is attacking.
    81 MarketWave survey, 2001 to present. http://www.marketwaveinc.com/mlmdata. An earlier survey of over 6,600
    respondents (1991 to 2000) had almost 50% trying to build a sales organization in more than one MLM program.
    82 Presented in the same size font as the rest of the compensation related information.
    24
    Minkow claims newly enrolled MLM distributors are “doomed to fail” but don’t know it. I didn’t
    know that either when, in 1995, I joined an MLM company – which earned me a 5-digit monthly
    income by the end of 1997. I’m glad I was ignorant of my imminent failure. Clearly MLM does
    work for those who take their business seriously. Those who applied a laser beam focus on one
    good network marketing opportunity and committed to it long term are among those thousands
    of successful distributors who absolutely did, in fact, achieve “financial freedom”.83 Those within
    the “Director” ranks in the above Usana commission chart surely fit this description of success.
    Although Taylor and Minkow pretend to not see it, the right most column of Usana’s chart clearly
    shows the time commitment one should expect to make to reach each level of income – with the
    mid-range Director rank averaging over two years! Usana openly tells us that the top paying
    rank (where the income could be defined as “wealth”) takes an average of 5.6 years, and took
    some as long as almost 12 years!
    Of course 74% fail in the first year and quit – because 74% quit in their first year!
    Point 6 – Only 3% of Usana distributors receive 70% of all commissions and bonuses.
    Let’s say you were in charge of conducting a clinical trial on a new arthritis medication. You gave
    the pain reliever tablet to 100 subjects with the strict instructions to take it one hour before
    dinner (to avoid dilution) with an 8 ounce glass of water (a required activator). The next day you
    surveyed the pool of participants and found 10 of them took the tablet right after dinner.
    Another 5 forgot to drink a glass of water. Fifty, for what ever reason, decided not to take the
    tablet and discarded it. A total of 30 people received great relief from the medication.
    While analogous to new MLM distributors to an extent, one might argue that those who didn’t
    follow the instructions but at least tried the product should still be counted. Maybe. But if not
    counted the medication had an 86% success rate (30/35). If counted at full weight, at worse
    there was a 60% success rate (30/50). But surely no one would argue that the 50 who took the
    medication home but didn’t consume it should be counted, right?
    Wrong. FitzMinklor thinks we should.
    Much like doing a study on the effectiveness of gym memberships, Minkow et al believe we
    should factor into our “success” rate all those who paid their dues but never stepped foot into a
    gym (or did, but lifted a ten pound weight for two reps, walked on the Stairmaster for 30
    seconds, then walked out). Americans spend billions a year on gym memberships, the vast
    majority of which never succeed in getting in shape, but for some reason this gym membership
    scam gets a pass from Minkow and his experts.
    Based on the above chart there were 111,296 “total” Usana distributors in North America84 at
    the end of 2005, and an average for the year of 101,361 (which is the figure Taylor and
    FitzPatrick use in their calculations)85 although only 40,986 of them (37%) were “participating”
    in the compensation plan. Rather than actually check, the author simply assumes this 40,986
    figure represents the number of “active” distributors. Usana, like many MLM companies, defines
    “active” as having ordered or sold even a single product within the last three months. So Usana
    voluntarily counts all those who have not ordered or sold anything for over two months as
    “active”. And just placing an order sure doesn’t mean a distributor is seriously, actively pursuing
    their business. Usana used to count anyone who had ordered within the past year as active, but
    83 Anti-MLM zealots do occasionally acknowledge these successes, but those who do succeed are the “perpetrators”
    and those who fail are their “victims”.
    84 Both Taylor and Fitzpatrick repeatedly and erroneously refer to this chart as U.S. data only, when in fact it
    represent North America (U.S., Mexico, and Canada, which by Canadian law must be displayed separately).
    85 Although this Addendum is authored by Jon Taylor and Robert FitzPatrick, and this particular section title shows
    FitzPatrick as the author, the section oddly ends with a signature of “Steven R.” So it is unclear who is actually
    responsible for this data.
    25
    changed this in 2002. Taylor insinuates this was done to prop up activity rates to impress
    investors. I’m thinking it was done to provide investors with more accurate information! Clearly
    it would be inaccurate to count someone who has not ordered or sold a single product in eleven
    months as “active”. But the point is irrelevant since Usana did use the average for all distributors
    signed up in Usana for the year in their average income calculation. Had they used only their
    “active” number, that would have been the easily obtainable number of 82,00086, not the lazily
    assumed 40,986 figure. If only those who had placed even one order in the last three months
    were counted, the average annual income would be $1,090.24, not $802.62.87 Usana was
    actually being conservative.
    In Jon Taylor’s previously published anti-MLM manifesto he claims the percent who lose money
    in a classic pyramid scheme is 90.4% (9.6% make a profit), but 99.95% lose money in MLM. If
    we follow the asterisks to the fine print, we discover that his 9.6% figure came from a news
    report of a scheme called "The Original Dinner Party" and Robert FitzPatrick's personal
    participation in the "Airplane Game"88 over 20 years ago. That's it. Another asterisk leads us to
    where Taylor arrived at his so often cited "99.9% fail" figure. He picked six MLM companies (out
    of thousands) and analyzed "internal reports" along with SEC and FTC filings, even though only
    one is a public company in the United States. He also factored in (insert sarcastic tone here) the
    extremely reliable "reports from ex-distributors." But apparently his findings were still not to his
    liking, so he had to "correct" what he refers to as "deceptive data." First, he didn't care for the
    way MLM companies only report the earnings of those who are "active." Adding back in all those
    who made no money because they didn't do anything to earn it (signed up, bought a kit, and
    quit) sufficiently increased his "failure" percentage.
    One of my favorite Robert FitzPatrick leaps-of-logic is his statement that an MLM company he
    was denouncing “only counted the ‘active’ group when reporting average incomes… leaving out
    the larger group who never earns anything.”
    Perhaps they never earned anything because they were… inactive?
    Point 7 – Usana has an “untenable” business model destined to collapse due to saturation.
    In Jon Taylor’s report he recites the “100-10-1 rule” as told to him by a Usana rep, where out of
    100 people who hear a presentation, ten will sign up. Of those ten only one will do the business.
    Then just one in ten of those will be real “business builders”. So we’re down to 1% of all who
    sign up being “business builders”, which is already one-third of the number who achieve the
    highest incomes in Usana. But as is his usual modus operandi, Taylor must arbitrarily go one
    step further and declare that only one in ten “business builders” will even realize a profit. This,
    of course, completely contradicts his findings relevant to the above Usana chart, but let’s move
    on. Taylor accepts this 100-10-1-(1) rule as evidence of his 99.9% failure rate claim, rather than
    as a valid explanation for it. Taylor, who is the Master of the Misquote89, takes the Usana reps
    statement that, of the ten who sign up, only one will “do the business” and changes the meaning
    completely to ten doing the business and only one succeeded to build a business.
    The reason I am still belaboring this point is this: because so few MLMers even attempt to build
    their business, or apply so little effort towards it, is exactly why no MLM company ever reaches
    86 2005 10-K.
    87 Assuming the ratio of total distributors at year’s end to average distributors during the year (91%) is
    commensurate with active distributor totals (which it very likely would be), there would have been an average of
    74,620 active distributors during 2005 (91% of 82,000).
    88 A classic illegal pyramid scheme, and one of the most prominent in U.S. history.
    89 Jon Taylor personally interviewed me in the mid-90s, then proceeded to cherry pick, completely out of context,
    only those statements that could be folded, spindled and mutilated to support his point, and then completely
    misquoted me in his writings such that it dramatically changed the meaning of my comments.
    26
    saturation! Anti-MLM zealots never even attempt to reconcile these diametrically opposing claims
    (99.9 fail to build a downline, but MLM companies are destined to die of saturation).
    It’s funny, sort of, how when a less experienced (or ethical) networker describes a geometric
    progression down a set number of levels, a la 5-25-125-625-3,125-etc., anti-MLMers are quick
    to jump all over us for the absurdity of it. “It will never actually happen!” they howl. Oh, but
    when they need to demonstrate how MLM must inevitably reach saturation, what do they turn
    to? A geometric progression down a set number of levels – usually what ever number of levels
    are necessary to exceed the population of the Earth, which is exactly what Minkow does. This is
    one of the rare issues on which I and the anti-MLM zealots totally agree. It will never actually
    happen! So why use it to show what absolutely will happen?
    Taylor claims Usana is opening
    foreign markets only to delay the
    inevitably point of market
    saturation. Rather than point to
    examples of what Usana has done
    in foreign markets, Taylor instead
    points to Nu Skin, and how when
    they “moved into Asian markets,
    each market experienced a brief
    surge in sales… followed in short
    order by what I call de facto or
    market saturation.” This first begs
    the question, So why hasn’t this
    happened to Usana in the United
    States – after 15 years? What Taylor describes is actually accurate, but for completely different
    reasons. In any new market where an MLM venture opens there is always a gold rush mentality
    among the less serious, lazier participants. They flock to the “ground floor” or “prelaunch”
    opportunity looking to “get in early”. However, unlike a pyramid scheme, there is no inherent
    advantage to getting in first in a legitimate, product based MLM venture. So all those who came
    in only for this opportunistic reason either discover there is no free lunch, or most likely they
    blame their lack if success on “missing the wave” or getting in too late. They then scurry out as
    fast as they came in (in search for the next hot, start-up deal) leaving the opportunity to those
    that are taking the business more seriously, who got in due to a sincere affinity for the products
    and long term opportunity. Taylor doesn’t know all this because he never spent enough time
    actually in the business to see how it really works.
    It’s fascinating that there are still people in this country that believe the Earth is flat, the Moon
    landing was faked, and that MLM companies are doomed to market saturation. This argument is
    as silly as debating whether or not we should stop selling solar powered generators because the
    sun might go nova someday. It may, but it’s a pretty good bet it won’t happen in our lifetime.
    Besides being a 71 year old industry90 which was popularized half a century ago91, there are
    currently nine companies who have operated with a multilevel compensation structure for over
    40 years.92 There are dozens over ten years old and many are still growing. Usana has had 16
    consecutive quarters with a net increase in distributors after they were ten years old! Nu Skin
    has gained distributors three years in a row and they launched almost 23 years ago. Reliv has
    grown five years in a row in the U.S. and is 15 years old93. Mannatech has grown six straight
    90 The first legally recognized multilevel commission structure was introduced by Nutralite Corporate in 1936.
    91 Shaklee Corporation, launched in 1956.
    92 Shaklee, Amway (Quixtar), Avon, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Tupperware, Fuller Brush, Wachters, and NeoLife (now part
    of Diamite Corp.).
    93 American Life Investors, Inc. was incorporated in 1985 and became Reliv International in 1992.
    MLM Company Growth Phases
    Gold Rush
    Foundation
    Critical Mass
    Momentum
    Stability
    27
    years and is 13 years old. After 27 years of business, and after already accumulating 468,365
    distributors, Pre-Paid Legal still managed to add 173,000 more of them in 2006. And after all of
    these decades, and with millions of people already involved, and hundreds of MLM companies
    already in existence, companies like XanGo, Agel and Tahitian Noni, can still launch within the
    last few years and attract tens-of-thousands of new distributors.
    If the MLM business model is as “untenable” as Minkow claims, because of inevitable market
    saturation, which both he and Jon Taylor claim has already occurred, then why hasn’t it caused
    the demise, or even disruption, of even a single MLM company? Ever?
    Jon Taylor claimed he discontinued his “one year test”
    of MLM when he had an epiphany and realized, despite
    his own “success”, all those who he was trying to
    recruit would be “at the bottom” of the pyramid and,
    with MLM being a “zero sum game” and all, have no
    chance of achieving the same success. First of all, MLM
    organizations are not pyramid shaped. If you were to
    track the number of people on each level of a typical
    downline it would look more like a diamond, with the
    greatest number of participants falling within the middle
    levels. To assume that you have a pyramid shaped
    downline, with the widest point (most reps) at the base
    and not a single one of them have a downline
    themselves of even one person is, of course, ridiculous.
    To further assume that at some point these base level
    members all simultaneously build an even wider first
    level to themselves, thus a geometrically wider base to
    the pyramid, is now in the realm of absurdity. Yet,
    based on Minkow’s report,94 he actually does believe
    this is what happens!
    The greatest irony in the notion that MLMs are all pyramid schemes is that MLM is actually the
    only form of business whose structure does not form a pyramid!
    In fact, when plotted out graphically, downlines tend to look much more like the roots of a tree.
    It should go without saying that Jon Taylor was himself “at the bottom” when he first joined an
    MLM program, yet still managed to find “success”. In fact, literally every successful distributor,
    whether that meant earning an extra couple hundred dollars per month to pay bills, or earning
    millions per year to buy their dream home, were all “at the bottom” when they first filled out
    their distributor application. Then, like a root that had already penetrated deep into the ground,
    the new distributor placed near the tip of it proceeded to form a new branch off of that root.
    In 1995 I joined an MLM company that was already a year old and had about 4,000 members.
    My position was on the 112th level from the apex of the national organization. My partners and I
    proceeded to build a downline of over 10,000 people, and I always remained on the 112th level.
    However, I know for a fact there was someone who was three levels down from the company
    who had a very small downline.
    Anyone, anywhere, at any time in the history of an MLM opportunity can be among the 3% who
    earn 70% of the commissions paid. And they will have earned it!
    94 See the last three paragraphs of Section 5 (Minkow’s Usana report does not include page numbers).
    28
    Epilogue.
    Living 15 minutes from “The Strip”, I am fortunately not a betting man. But if I were, I’d lay
    Vegas Odds on the identity of Minkow’s “paying client” being:
    A competing MLM distributor: 500 to 1
    A competing MLM company: 50 to 1
    Another short seller of Usana stock: 20 to 1
    A disgruntled ex-Usana distributor: 15 to 1
    Pyramid Scheme Alert (PSA): Even
    The PSA’s president is Robert FitzPatrick. Jon Taylor is a board member. So is Doug Brooks and
    Tracy Coenen. The PSA, particularly Jon Taylor, has tried desperately to be taken seriously by
    federal regulators over the years and have so far failed. While Fitzpatrick seems content to just
    maintain his anti-MLM web site, write attack pieces against Amway, and assist in court cases
    against MLMs and pyramids (of which he makes no distinction), Taylor actively presents his anti-
    MLM manifestos to state and federal regulators, including the FTC. Then they ignore him.
    To get a flavor of the PSA agenda, here are a few sound bites from their web site:
    “No more denial, shame or embarrassment. No more confusion. No more blaming the
    victim. No more resignation. And absolutely no more fear.”
    “Pyramid Scheme Alert is the first consumer organization to confront the abuses and
    trickery of pyramid scheme perpetrators… Pyramid Scheme Alert is about ACTION --
    coordinated, informed, professional, and effective citizen/consumer action.”
    “Millions of people have been harmed. Enough! Families and friends have been divided,
    communities disrupted. Enough! Billions of dollars in savings have been lost. Enough!”
    “Misleading product claims, deceptive income promises, lawsuits, protest website -- we
    have seen enough, learned enough, and tried enough ourselves. It is time for people to
    come together to expose and prevent one of the most pervasive frauds and ethical abuses
    of our times.”
    Maybe someday they’ll open up and tell us what they really think about MLM. Here’s one more:
    “Pyramid Scheme Alert offers information about the deception and harm of multi-level
    marketing (MLM) pyramid schemes… State and federal Govt (sic) officials receive millions
    in campaign contributions from product based pyramid scheme companies and lobby
    groups. PSA has been formed to counter this imbalance at the national and state level,
    and to educate consumers directly of the fraud and abuse of MLM.”
    I would be remiss to not point out that, after 71 years, thousands of MLM companies
    (“perpetrators”), and tens of millions of distributors (“victims”), isn’t it odd that PSA is the very
    “first” consumer organization to confront this pandemic of fraud? Or that the number of anti-
    MLM zealots who make a point of “exposing” us to the true evil behind this insipid scheme can
    be counted on one hand and a toe, literally?
    Although there are several others involved in the PSA, only FitzPatrick and Taylor seem
    desperate to get the attention of federal regulators. When the FTC requested public comment95
    on their proposed new business opportunity rule96 last year over 18,000 people wrote in. Over
    95 http://www.ftc.gov/os/comments/businessopprule/
    96 #178 FTC Matter No.: R511993 16 CFR Part 437 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Business Opportunity Rule.
    29
    98% were heavily in support of MLM97 and 99% submitted only one response, as I did98. Robert
    FitzPatrick submitted two under his own name, and three more as “Pyramid Scheme Alert.” Jon
    Taylor submitted eight! All under the name “Consumer Awareness Institute”. When the public
    got their chance to send rebuttal comments to the FTC99, I sent one100 along with surprisingly
    only 23 other people. One was Jon Taylor – who submitted twenty-eight! Everyone else
    combined only submitted 25. Virtually none of Taylor’s or FitzPatrick’s submissions had anything
    to do with the proposed rule the FTC was requesting comment on (which was not exclusive to
    MLM at all). They simply had a chance to get their anti-MLM rants in front of an FTC staffer and
    they took full advantage of it. They utterly abused this public comment forum to forward their
    own personal agendas.
    I’ve spent a disproportionate amount of time on FitzPatrick, Taylor, and to a lesser extent Brooks
    and Coenen, in this Rebuttal Report because I firmly believe I am, in fact, rebutting the beliefs
    of these four more than I am Barry Minkow. As Minkow states “In fact, the statements in our
    original report are drawn from expert analysis of the (Usana) business model… Without their
    input, our original report would simply be the opinion of one person. With them, we have the
    opinions of several experts who support our findings and make a cumulative, persuasive
    case.”101
    These anti-MLM zealots are at least smart enough to only attack “MLM” in general, or those who
    have already been attacked. If you were a medical doctor and someone called all physicians
    “quacks”, you’d have a hard time making a case for slander. But if someone called you a quack,
    it’s on! So it’s safe to call MLM a scam, or even Equinox in particular, because they have been
    ruled as such.102 Otherwise, they’d be foolish to call a specific company, say, like Usana,
    fraudulent, or an illegal pyramid scheme. That would be slander, or libel if put in writing.
    Ah, but if you can find someone else to do your dirty work, and take the fall for you, then you’re
    free to assist by supplying requested “reports” and “analyses”. And if your mark happens to
    have some credibility with the FTC, IRS and SEC, you’ve struck gold! You can then piggyback
    your anti-MLM propaganda on his shoulders right into the offices of these federal agencies.
    Although it was certainly ill-advised to take a short position in a company whose stock you know
    you are about to trash, I’m not convinced that was Minkow’s primary motive. He claims he only
    had 200 to 300 puts on Usana103 (you’d think Minkow could estimate such a critical number with
    better than a 50% margin for error), which he allegedly purchased for about $20,000. That
    means he’s already made a substantial profit104, and that number will continue to rise as Usana’s
    stock drops. So sure, it certainly looks suspicious, as does Minkow’s well funded publicity efforts
    which are certainly bringing a lot of business to his for-profit FDI.105 But I’d be more interested
    in how much Minkow is being paid by his “paying client” and what their motive is.
    97 I randomly sampled 253 non-form letters, ten from each letter of the alphabet (incl. all 7 from the Z list), and
    actually found only two (1%) that were in favor of the new rule and made any negative comments towards MLM.
    98 http://www.ftc.gov/os/comments/busin...2418-12553.htm
    99 http://www.ftc.gov/os/comments/busin...rule/rebuttal/
    100 http://www.ftc.gov/os/comments/busin...2418-13244.htm
    101 Minkow’s response to the Usana libel suit.
    102 Similar to us not being able to call O.J. Simpson a murderer until after the second trial, when he was found guilty.
    103 http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...y+minkow&hl=en
    104 As of 4/13/07.
    105 On Minkow’s FDI web site you can purchase his 3 “Frauds Gone Wild” DVDs for $18 each, his two books, or his
    investigative services and seminars.
    30
    As a side note, Minkow says he’ll give back his puts if Usana will give back the millions they
    received from their distributors. I wonder, if Usana is found innocent, will Minkow give back the
    millions his report has cost Usana investors?
    There is now a conga-line of investor class action law suits filed by several law firms looking to
    exploit Minkow’s report based on face value. Some don’t even appear to have any class
    members yet. Law firms often times adopt the “If you build it they will come” tactic when filing
    class action suits. Now they will compete for class members. Eventually all the suits will be
    combined into one, then will likely be dropped or dismissed. Because there is no case.
    Barry Minkow is obviously passionate about defending his case against Usana. Unfortunately,
    he’s now dug himself into a position far too deep to ever emerge – the obviousness of his folly
    be damned. Ego is a powerful thing. If someone tries hard enough, long enough, to make a
    case that the sky is always red by focusing only on images of desert sunsets, they're stick to
    their case no matter how many times you force their heads upward in mid-afternoon.
    Usana has never even approached market saturation in over 15 years, nor has any MLM
    company in over half a century. Thousands of distributors succeed in reaching their income
    goals (what ever that may be), many with mature companies that have been around for decades
    – and all started at the bottom. The vast majority didn't exploit friendships, or hype their
    products. Products which they genuinely love, some with a passion, perhaps even at times to a
    fault. Most that failed did so due to poor, but completely voluntary business decisions. The
    legality of network marketing is well defined and based on decades of precedent, the model is
    sound, and to those seeking a home based business, the benefits are substantial. Evidence of
    this is everywhere, and easily obtainable – assuming you want to find it.
    Minkow describes learning from his own prosecution the importance of the words “relied upon”.
    Investors relied upon Minkow’s disclosures when investing in his fraudulent business. Minkow
    must now come to terms with what, and whom, he “relied upon” to form his Usana report.
    And now, ironically, he’s the victim of fraudulent information.
    ------------------------
    Leonard Clements has concentrated his full-time efforts over the last 17 years on researching and
    analyzing all aspects of MLM and is a court certified expert in the field of Network Marketing. He is the
    author of the controversial book "Inside Network Marketing" and the best selling cassette tapes "Case
    Closed! The Whole Truth About Network Marketing" and "The Coming Network Marketing Boom." Visit
    http://www.MarketWaveInc.com for more information.
    As long as it is acceptable for a person to beLIEve that he knows how god wants everyone on Earth to live, we will continue to murder one another on account of our myths. ~ Sam Harris, 'The End Of Faith'
    ~~~~~
    Christianity demands the crucifixion of the intellect.
    ~ Susan Kierkegaard

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    459

    Re: J. Taylor & R. Fitzpatrick linked to Minkow sc

    As a side note, Minkow says he’ll give back his puts if Usana will give back the millions they
    received from their distributors. I wonder, if Usana is found innocent, will Minkow give back the
    millions his report has cost Usana investors?

    Will Lenny give back al the money he made from the illegal MLM's he promoted over the years and the money the people scammed lost? :freak3:

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Northern, California
    Posts
    16,985

    Re: J. Taylor & R. Fitzpatrick linked to Minkow sc

    Quote Originally Posted by nomass View Post
    As a side note, Minkow says he’ll give back his puts if Usana will give back the millions they
    received from their distributors. I wonder, if Usana is found innocent, will Minkow give back the
    millions his report has cost Usana investors?

    Will Lenny give back al the money he made from the illegal MLM's he promoted over the years and the money the people scammed lost? :freak3:
    Once again, nomass makes nosense.:crazy1:

    Missed your meds today spanky?

    Kerry Hein:sun_smiley:
    As long as it is acceptable for a person to beLIEve that he knows how god wants everyone on Earth to live, we will continue to murder one another on account of our myths. ~ Sam Harris, 'The End Of Faith'
    ~~~~~
    Christianity demands the crucifixion of the intellect.
    ~ Susan Kierkegaard

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