We have all read about the extraordinary deception carried out by swindler, Bernard Madoff. He disguised a classic pyramid scheme as a "hedge fund". He claimed the money he paid his investors came from profitable securities trades when, in fact, he was only transferring later investors' money to earlier ones, while keeping a lot for himself. When the Recession caused some investors to ask for their money back his fraud was finally exposed - after running more than 15 years.
Government regulators never even investigated the scam despite repeated warnings and alerts from whistle-blowers. Only when Madoff failed to return funds did the investors realize that their money was gone. In reality, they had lost their money the day they invested. All the story about trades and profits and the quarterly statements detailing their accounts had been a hideous lie.
Eric Scheibeler, who was a high-level distributor for Amway for nearly 10 years, tells a story of deception carried out by the Amway Corporation and its top promoters that makes Madoff look like an amateur. For any consumer wondering about the income promises of Amway or any other "multi-level marketing" company, Scheibeler's book, Merchants of Deception will shock, amaze and educate.
Whereas Madoff ran a fake business disguised as a legitimate one, Scheibeler describes how Amway runs a fake business in full view and convinces its victims that the pyramid scheme (paying earlier investors with money from new investors) is legitimate, legal and viable. Madoff concealed his pyramid. Amway trumpets and parades its pyramid and dares its victims to question the plan. Wherease Madoff hid from regulators, Amway hires them. But while Amway openly flaunts a pyramid recruitment program - with virtually no retail revenue, just a steady stream of investor capital from new distributors - it does engage in Madoff-style secrecy and coverup.
At the heart of the recruitment program is one BIG LIE that requires audacious deception at all levels and in countless ways, as Scheibeler's book painfully shows. The BIG LIE is the claim of an "income opportunity" for the new recruits. Scheibeler's chilling story boils down to revealing false claims, false promises and a huge cover-up about the income opportunity that Amway promises new recruits. When the FTC prosecutes multi-level marketing schemes, this type of BIG LIE is classified as "business opportunity fraud." That is what Scheibeler's book is all about.
Ironically, it was the Recession that brought Madoff's scam down. In Amway's case, the Recession drives even more consumers into pyramid money traps.
Amway's scheme and Amway clones will collapse not by an external economic force, but only by the power of the truth and proper law enforcement. Eric Scheibeler's courageous account of his insider experience, matched with painstaking research, and now backed by signed testimonials from thousands of others who were similarly harmed in the Amway "system" thunders the truth, stops the spin, and reveals the emperor with no clothes.
No consumers and no government regulators can ever again claim they did not know what was really going on behind the facade of "direct selling." The whistle has been officially and defiantly blown.