'Amway' - an extra-long con with ordinary folk as its marks
As you know, American confidence tricksters are known as 'grifters' in their own jargon. Their victims are known as 'marks.' Grifters have been generally divided into two main types: small-timers who specialize in 'short' or unsustainable 'cons' (who mainly target ordinary folk), and big-timers who specialize in 'long' or more-sustainable 'cons' (who invariably target wealthy individuals, and/or institutions). However, there is a third type of grifter who has specialized in extra-long cons. These reality-inverting racketeers have steadfastly pretended absolute moral and intellectual authority (waving the Stars and Stripes with one hand and carrying the Bible in the other), whilst targeting ordinary folk whom they have also tried to prevent from complaining.
History proves that, in the end, no confidence trick can be sustained indefinitely. You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.
By simply using his latest marks' cash to pay-off his earlier marks, Bernie Madoff illegally-acquired absolute control over several billions dollars. In this way, he managed to sustain a counterfeit 'hedge fund' con for more than 30 years, until his absurd lies were exposed when too many marks demanded their non-existent 'profits.'
In his counterfeit 'half-price perfect fake money' con, the French grifter, Chrisophe Rocancourt, just took his marks' cash and then relied on the fact that, in order for them to complain to law enforcement agents, they first had to confess that they had agreed to commit a major federal crime.
The extra-long 'Amway,' or counterfeit 'perfectly-legal business opportunity,' con, has so far been sustained for more than 50 years and it has generated billions of dollars; yet, essentially, it has been no different to what Bernie Madoff and Christophe Rocancourt got caught doing.
In all these three cons, marks were shown a fantasy world where money miraculously grows on trees. Once seduced by this Utopian fiction, marks were then essentially told that they too could have exclusive access to the miraculous money tree - provided they were prepared to hand over some of their own cash. In the 'Amway,' con, the cash has been taken in relatively small, regular amounts by the grifters themselves and by various (apparently independent) individuals and corporate structures, from millions of constantly-churning, relatively-poor marks, whereas in the Rocancourt and Madoff cons, it was mainly taken by the grifters themselves (although Madoff also used apparently independent 'feeder hedge funds') in large amounts, from fewer, but far more-wealthy, individual marks and institutions.
In the 'Amway' con, marks have not just been induced into handing over their cash. They also been tricked into handing over their absolute belief in the authenticity of the miraculous money tree andin the means (i.e. the 'Exact Duplication of a Multilevel Marketing Plan') of achieving exclusive access to it.
Thus, even after they have wasted their time and money, most 'Amway' marks have remained silent, convinced that they only had themselves to blame. The few 'Amway' marks who have worked out that the miraculous money tree doesn't exist, and that 'MLM' can never work, and who have tried to complain to law enforcement agents and the press, and/or warn the public themselves, have illogically described themselves as 'Independent Business Owners.'