Sunday, 1 March 2015

'Herbalife (HLF)' 10K - Once Upon Time

Once upon a time, a handsome, but poor, young Prince called Mark Hughes dreamt of building an Empire called 'Herbalife' where he would be Emperor and where, under his benign rule, there would be endless health, wealth and freedom for all folks - so long as they just kept buying, and swallowing, his exclusive, magic economic, and medical, potions and recruiting others to do the same. Mark's potions could not only make fat folks thinner, and thin folks fatter, but they could also cure sick folks and protect them from all illness whilst transforming the deepest believers into millionaires.

Some very wicked and jealous people (called regulators and journalists), began to suspect that what Mark Hughes offered was far too good to be true, but Mark replied that he'd not been lying at all, it was only some of his naughty followers. From that day forward, Mark promised that he would make sure that everyone in the magic Empire called 'Herbalife, would only tell the truth.

Many years later (after Mark Hughes had died), lots more wicked and jealous people (this time, called critics and short sellers) again began to say that 'Herbalife' was far too good to be true; for another well-rehearsed ruler, called Michael Johnson, had come along and had again insisted that there would still be endless health, wealth and freedom for all folks - if they ignored all voices of doubt and just kept buying, and swallowing, 'Herbalife's' magic potions and recruiting eveyone they knew to do the same

Meanwhile back in the adult world of quantifiable reality, the 'Herbalife' racketeers have just been forced to admit to the US Securities and Exchange Commission that belief in their once profitable, self-perpetuating fairy story is rapidly diminishing all over the globe, and that almost everyone who has ever signed up for 'Herbalife' has left the organization.

'Our results in 2014 reflect our ongoing transition to a more consumer-focused organization. 

Our transformation, which first began in 2008 and will continue through 2015, is creating a stronger, more consumer friendly Herbalife and one that is evolving and getting better every single day.

Critical to our transformation has been the focus of Herbalife and our members on daily consumption as well as our emphasis on bringing new sales leaders into a company in a more sustainable way than in the past. This more gradual path to becoming a sales leader is working. As all of the data show that these leaders are more productive and stay with Herbalife longer. 2014 saw record-breaking retention rates for our sales leaders. We achieved what we believe is an industry leading and impressive retention rate of 54.2%, that's up from 51.8% in 2013.

We are continuing to grow our customer base and have more customers in 2014 than any time in our 35-year history, and we reported record net sales for the year of $5 billion.'

When translated into plain English, in Michael Johnson's most-recent thought-stopping propaganda broadcast, he now pretends that most of 'Herbalife's' adherents (who were once all labelled 'Distributors' in the fairy story, but who are now all re-labelled 'Members'), were really only temporary 'customers' travelling through the magic Empire, and who never expected to make any money. Therefore, according to Michael Johnson: even though Mark Hughes' magic potions have never cured anyone of poverty or illness, no one was ever tricked in to buying them and, consequently, 'Herbalife' is not a lie.

Yet if you apply common sense and remove all the arbitrary thought-stopping definitions and confront the simple fact that virtually no one who has not been under contract to 'Herbalife' has been buying anything from this organization (based on value and demand), then you immediately realize what has really been occurring.

In this unoriginal cultic racket, a closed-market swindle has been dissimulated behind effectively-usaleable products, and the reality-inverting term 'customer' has lately been hung round the necks of victims in order to obstruct investigation and continue to commit the same fraud.

This, in a nutshell, is the sustainable racket that US law enforcement agents and prosecutors ought to have been be addressing right from the outset of the 'Herbalife' fairy story.

David Brear (copyright 2015)

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Sebi bars Agri Gold Farm from raising funds from public

Continuing its crackdown on illicit realty investment activities, Sebi on Thursday barred Andhra Pradesh-based Agri Gold Farm Estates India from raising fresh capital from the public with immediate effect.
Besides, it directed the company not to launch any new scheme.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) found that Agri Gold Farm Estates India Pvt Ltd (AGFEIPL) was running 'collective investment schemes (CIS)' without obtaining registration from the regulator.
The company was inviting investments from the general public through its various schemes for the purchase and development of land.
"I find that the schemes operated by AGFEIPL...Are in the nature of a CIS," Sebi Whole Time Member S Raman said in an interim order.
Accordingly, Sebi directed AGFEIPL and its directors --Venkata Rama Rao Avva, Avva Venkata Seshu Narayana Rao, Avva Hema Sundara Vara Prasad, Savadam Srinivas, Moganti Bhanuji Rao and Emmadi Sada Siva Vara Prasad Rao--"not to collect any fresh money from investors under its existing schemes".
It has also asked them "not to launch any new schemes or plans or float any new companies to raise fresh money."
Additionally, the company and its directors have been directed not to dispose any assets obtained from funds collected, while the entities also cannot divert money raised from the public.
Further, the entities have been asked to "immediately submit the full inventory of the assets including land obtained through money raised by " as well as furnish withing 15 days details related to the scheme.
These directions shall take effect "immediately and shall be in force until further orders in this regard." 
SEBI would have banned Agrigold when Corporate Frauds Watch sent letters to SEBI more than half a decade back against the illegal schemes of Agrigold to avoid the accumulation of over Rs. 6,000 crore (Sixty billion) in its coffers. Now the company enjoys the money without repaying its depositors on the pretext that SEBI banned the liquidation of its assets. 

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Food Safety and Standards of India directs Amway to withdraw six products from market

* Nutrilite cal-mag-D, Nutrilite natural B tablets, Nutrilite Iron Folic tablets, Nutrilite Bio C, Positrim Vanilla and Nutrilite Kids Drink Mixed Fruit flavour are the products directed to withdraw from the market. 
* These products contain more than permission quantities of minerals and vitamins which are not safe as per the ICMR and NIN.
* Mohammad Shahid Sharif, president of Anti-Adulteration Consumer Society lodged the complaint.

NAGPUR: Following directives from the Food Safety and Standards of India (FSSAI) the state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the M/s Amway Enterprises Pvt Ltd to withdraw six of its products from the market in the state. These products were found to contain more than the permissible quantities of minerals and vitamins as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute for Nutrition (NIN).
In Nagpur, Amway has a warehouse in Wadi and a showroom in Eternity mall. "After we received a directive from Uday Wanjari from our headquarters FDA (Food) we issued a letter to the company here on January 30 to withdraw the six products within seven days, by February 6," said joint commissioner FDA (Food) in city S Desai speaking to TOI.
The FSSAI's 'product approval' committee had rejected these six products which include Nutrilite cal-mag-D, Nutrilite natural B tablets, Nutrilite Iron Folic tablets, Nutrilite Bio C, Positrim Vanilla and Nutrilite Kids Drink Mixed Fruit flavour as per a letter written by Sandhya Kabra, dated December 31, 2014 who is director of the approval committee. Amway had asked for approval from FSSAI as per a letter dated June 21, 2012. In reply to this letter Kabra's predecessor Pradip Chakraborty had written to Vinay Kumar of Amway at Delhi on May 23, 2013.
But apparently, despite many reminders, the company did not withdraw the products and therefore FSSAI has now asked for action against the company across the country. On Monday Mohd Shahid Sharif, president of Anti-Adulteration Consumer Society in the city raised the issue with the collector office on 'lokshai din' when common people's complaint are heard. "I produced a bill of some of these products from the Eternity mall outlet named M/s Micropark Infortrade of Rs1,164.00 dated November 6, 2014. I have raised the query how it was being sold in city under eyes of local FDA," he said.
Assistant commissioner of FDA (Food) NR Wakode, who too was present when Sharif said no one would be spared. But the administration will take action only after the warning period till February 6 is over. In Mumbai, however, the order for withdrawal was issued on January 28 while it reached Nagpur FDA on January 30. "We inspected both the Wadi and Eternity mall outlets and issued warnings in writing," said Wakode.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Big Bazaar into big racket

The Future Group, which owns Big Bazaar, the biggest retail market chain in the country, has launched ‘Profit Club Card’ with an eye on making easy and quick money throwing the legalities to the wind. The new scheme intends to mobilise deposits from the customers for the goods to be supplied in future, which is nothing but violation of various laws.
It may be recalled that the Newlook Retails Private Ltd also known as NMart launched similar scheme in the past and collected nearly Rs 1,500 crore from public. However, it ran into rough weather after the police filed criminal cases against the company. Its chief Gopal Singh Shekhawat was put behind bars and the company was closed.
A glance at the Profit Club Card brochure reveals its true nature of violating the law of the land. An adult could become a member of the Profit Club to acquire its card by paying Rs 10,000 plus Rs 100 as admission fee. In the second type of Card, a member needs to deposit Rs 5,000 plus Rs 100 as admission fee.
The Cards could be used to purchase every month ‘selected’ products worth Rs 1,000 on Rs 10,000 Card for 12 months and Rs 400 on Rs 5000 Card for 15 months. The Card is valid only to purchase products in Big Bazaar, fbb and Food Bazaar of the Group and not other sister-concerns.
Mastan Vali, an advocate of the Hyderabad High Court, opined that deposit was defined in Sec 2 (b) of Andhra Pradesh Protection of Depositors Act, 1999. As per the Act 'deposit' means the deposit of a sum of money either in lump sum or instalments made with a financial establishment for a fixed period, for interest or return in any kind. The definition for deposit under the RBI Act and SEBI Act are different to definition of deposit under the AP protection of Depositors Act. As per the RBI Act and the SEBI Act, advance for sale is not deposit whereas in Depositors Act, there is not such exemption in the definition. As such, any person collects deposits with a promise to return in any kind falls within the definition of the Depositors Act. Hence, he opined that the government should suo motu enquire into this matter under the provisions of the AP Protection of Depositors Act, 1999 before any cause of action or grievances at large has taken place, he added.
The Profit Club Card also attracts the provisions of the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978 as it intends to mobilise deposits through its direct selling agents. A senior police officer also opined that it was an outright violation of the law of the land.
As per the General Terms and Conditions of the Profit Club brochure, one could be enrolled as member through direct sales agents/agencies duly appointed by Future Group. It also absolves its own liability to fulfil its obligations if there is change in law. More, The Future Group sets a condition that in case of disputes, the Mumbai Courts have exclusive jurisdiction. In essence, if anybody wants to file a suit against the Future Group if it fails to fulfil its obligations, one has to go to Mumbai to file the suit. Practically, it is not economically feasible to an ordinary customer.

It is high time that the law enforcing agencies took initiative to curb such illegal activities. 

Thursday, 1 January 2015

The Full text of the RBI warning alerting people against joining MLM schemes

ूेस ूकाशनी PRESS RELEASE
संचार ��वभाग, क��ि��य काया��लय, एस.बी.एस.माग��, मुंबई‐400001
DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION, Central Office, S.B.S.Marg, Mumbai‐400001
फोन/Phone: 91 22 2266 0502 फै��स/Fax: 91 22 22660358
भारतीय ��रज़व�� ब��क
वेबसाइट :
Website :
इ‐मेल email:
January 1, 2015
RBI cautions Public against Multi Level Marketing Activities
The Reserve Bank of India has cautioned the public against Multi-level Marketing (MLM) activities so that investors do not fall prey to unscrupulous entities. 

Explaining the functioning of these entities, the Reserve Bank stated that MLM/Chain Marketing/Pyramid Structure schemes promise easy or quick money upon enrolment of members. Income under such schemes majorly comes from enrolling more and more members from whom hefty subscription fees are taken rather than from the sale of products they offer. It is incumbent upon all members to enroll more members, as a portion of the subscription amounts so collected is distributed among the members at the top of the pyramid. Any break in the chain leads to the collapse of the pyramid, and the members lower down in the pyramid are the ones that are affected the most.
The Reserve Bank has advised that members of public should not to be tempted by promises of high returns offered by entities running Multi-level Marketing/Chain Marketing/Pyramid Structure Schemes. The Reserve Bank has reiterated that falling prey to such offers can result in direct financial losses and they, in their own interest, should refrain from responding to such offers in any manner.
The Reserve Bank has also said that acceptance of money under Money Circulation/Multi-level Marketing/Pyramid structures is a cognizable offence under the Prize Chit and Money Circulation (Banning) Act 1978. Members of public coming across such offers should immediately lodge a complaint with the State Police.
Alpana Killawala
Press Release : 2014-2015/1383 Principal Chief General Manager

Don't fall prey to promises of multi-level marketing firms:RBI

Cautioning investors against multi-level marketing firms promising easy and quick money, 
RBI today asked public not to be tempted by such offers. 
"MLM/Chain Marketing/Pyramid Structure schemes promise easy or quick money upon enrolment of members. 
"The Reserve Bank has advised that members of public should not to be tempted by promises 
of high returns offered by entities running Multi-level Marketing/Chain Marketing/Pyramid 
Structure Schemes," it said in a statement. 
There have been a spurt of such schemes in the recent past while various regulators are 
taking actions such entities. 
Advising caution, RBI said investors should not fall prey to these kind of unscrupulous 
entities as the pyramid structure mandates all members to enroll more members. 
"Any break in the chain leads to the collapse of the pyramid, and the members lower down 
in the pyramid are the ones that are affected the most," it added. 
It said falling prey to such offers can result in direct financial losses and they, in 
their own interest, should refrain from responding to such offers in any manner. 
Further, RBI said that acceptance of money under Money Circulation/Multi-level 
Marketing/Pyramid structures is a cognizable offence under the Prize Chit and Money 
Circulation (Banning) Act 1978. 
"Members of public coming across such offers should immediately lodge a complaint with 
the state police," it added.

This statement by the RBI could be understood as warning against joining the schemes of Amway India and other IDSA members as the Hyderabad High Court conclusively stated that the business model of Amway is illegal.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Biz Bazaar launches illegal scheme a la NMart

GREED always overwhelms people. There is no other explanation for the Future Retail Ltd, the largest conglomerate which runs chain of Big Bazaar supermarkets and other businesses, launching an illegal business proposal to make easy and quick money.
The Big Bazaar group has launched Profit Club card to enroll members into its illegal money circulation scheme with the promise of huge returns of about 22 per cent interest in the coming 12 months.
The Big Bazaar launched the scheme recently. It is offering Profit Club membership card by collecting Rs. 10,000 from the prospective members. After payment, the members are given a card in which Rs. 12,000 is loaded. The members can purchase 'certain' goods specified by the Future Retail Ltd management in the next 12 months at the rate of Rs. 1000 every month.
Sounds familiar. YES! This is the modus operandi of NMart which launched its membership drive and ended up facing criminal cases throughout the country.
It may be recalled that another group New Look Retail Ltd indulged in similar racket and finally its chief Gopal Singh Shekhawat ended behind bars for considerable time. The AP CID recently attached its properties and bank deposits situated at various places and banks. Its modus operandi is simple. Pay Rs. 5,500 and become a member to avail of 48 coupons each worth Rs. 200 to be exchanged with the goods in the NMart retail stores in the next 48 months. If the members enrolled more members into the scheme, they are paid Rs. 200 per membership. The NMart was not given any relief by any high court in the country and it was finally closed shop.
Exactly, it is going to happen to Big Bazaar too.
It is high time, authorities concerned take note of the illegal activities of the one of the biggest conglomerates in the country and nip it in the bud.