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Consumer Protection
MLM Watchdog(tm)
ROD COOK
World's Expert At Keeping You
Out Of Trouble and Making Money
MLM is Good - the last hope for the "little" Person
HERBALIFE UNDER INVESTIGATION BY FTC
March 13, 2014 Herbalife disclosed that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has started a civil probe into its practices. opening an inquiry into Herbalife just a month after Mr. Ackman’s public presentation, the F.T.C. remained quiet until Wednesday. The commission confirmed the investigation only after Herbalife said it had received a letter from the agency.  Herbalife has previously disclosed that it was cooperating with an inquiry by the SEC.

Ur Editors Note: I am still mad about my investigation of Better Business Bureau (BBB) Herbalife complaints that indicated BBB fraud calls exploded after Ackerman started his attacks! That information was given to the SEC and my inside sources there say it was S_IT canned. Herbalife never responded. That was some real fraud!  See my investigation report below.

January 23, 2014: 6:44 PM ET: Shares of Herbalife (HLF) sank 13%  Thursday after U.S. Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said hecalled on the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the nutritional supplements company for running a pyramid scheme after receiving complaints from constituents. Markey said he decided to write the SEC and FTC "after hearing serious complaints of improper pressure and financial hardship, including from a constituent in Massachusetts who lost her entire retirement savings." One family in Norton, Mass., reported that it lost $130,000, including its entire 401(k), investing in Herbalife, Markey said.
investigation report below.

BELGIAN APPEAL COURT GREEN LIGHTS HERBALIFE
12/7/2013 Global nutrition company Herbalife (NYSE: HLF), welcomes the judgment by a Belgian Appeal Court that states the company's sales model is in full compliance with Belgian law.
This judgment overturns a previous ruling by the lower court, in response to claims brought by the Anti- MLM Belgian consumer organization Test-Aankoop, that Herbalife was operating a pyramid scheme. Herbalife always believed that the first judgment contained factual errors and was based on misinterpretations of its direct-selling sales method, and was confident that the original judgment would be overturned on appeal. Herbalife says, "we continue to focus on supporting our  independent distributors and their customers in Belgium, and the company remains committed to an open and transparent relationship with those distributors and customers, as well as regulatory authorities and all other stakeholders!"                                                                                                                  investigation report below.

HERBALIFE GETS MORE GRIEF!
4/10/2013 - Per the Wall Street Journal Herbalife Ltd. said it doesn't anticipate it will lose its stock listing on the New York Stock Exchange following KPMG's resignation as its auditor due to an alleged insider-trading scheme. Herbalife is poised to disclose today that KPMG will have to resign as the company’s auditor, KPMG disclosed late Monday that it had fired the partner, based in Los Angeles, for providing inside information to an unnamed individual who then traded in shares of several West Coast companies
investigation report below.

YOUR EDITORS INVESTIGATION ON SHORT SELLER COMPLAINT SCAM!

PER: FTC COMPLAINT LIST ON HERBALIFE
HOW TO SCAM THE FTC!!

The NY Times under the Freedom Of Information Act got a list of 192 complaints the Federal Trade Commission has on Herbalife.  When going through the FTC complaint list your editor found very disparate Data:

1. From 2007 through 2012 approximately 98% of the complaints were Do Not Call (DNC) complaints about unwanted phone calls no doubt from Herbalife Distributors using auto dialer machines. These complaints came from the DNC registry.

2. Complaints the FTC received against Herbalife for financial related activities (that might have pyramid implications) did not really begin until 2012. Weird huh?  The link is below go through and check it out and tell me what you think.

3. What smells is that the over 95% of the complaints starting in 2012 came through third parties.  Better Business Bureaus,(BBB) and very few Attorney Generals (many of which referenced  Better Business Bureaus). Why the suspicion on third parties?   If a complaint comes directly to the FTC via email or phone they log the IP address and phone information. The same with IC3 the government complaint site.  Plus if you are trying stack the deck with complaints against a company the manipulator doesn't want to mess with the FTC directly because they could end up in deep trouble for lying to the FTC and they would not be happy -jail time?

4. A large number of complaints came from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in Colton California (San Bernardino area) which is way across the valley from Torrance, CA where Herbalife is.  In fact the two closer BBB’s (to Herbalife) are Culver City and Long Beach.  All three BBB’s are under the LA BBB, but why did just Colton have all the complaints for California?  Question for BBB LA!

5. The big question is what led the NY Times to do the Freedom of Information query? Ackerman influence?

6. Most (many) of the complaints given on the FTC list were too well typed for complaints from the general public.  The Watchdog has gotten 1000’s of complaints over the years in general they were full of typo’s and misspellings especially if people are mad and their hands are shaking!  Very - Very suspicious!  The Better Business Bureaus capture phone numbers but there is no solid verification if the complainer is using a phoney name and address! = NO SOLID VERIFICATIONS!

7. It would not take much $ money to set up a team that paid different folks (with different phone numbers) money to call in complaints against Herbalife to the  BBB's

8. Editors Note: I have dealt with the FTC many times (and several of their folks are on the watchdog mail list) and I think the reason that the FTC hasn't jumped on these complaints is their analysis is of this complaint list is similiar to mine.  They have pulled the list down WHY!!??
NOW A DEAD FTC LINK http://www.ftc.gov/foia/frequentrequests/1301herbalifecmpts.pdf

CLICK HERE TO GIVE YOUR ANALYSIS
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PERSHING SQUARE OWNER-ACKMERMAN ATTACK ON HERBALIFE TURNS OUT TO BE FLAKY OR WORSE THAN THAT!
YOUR EDITOR ROD COOK, A REAL MLM PAYPLAN EXPERT, DIGS INTO THE 342 PAGES PRESENTED
Rod Cook your editor is one of the leading compensation plan designers in the world your Editor found some real flaws in the Ackerman presentation.  His analysist should have bought one of the my best selling MLM Complan books off of Amazon! Also there should have been lot more research done on history and how the entire Industry operates.

1. Ackermans Slide #245 - top 1% of Distributor Commissions as a % of total commissions is just a flat error.  It starts out with a company that uses a Unilevel pay plan, mixes in a Matrix plan and then GOES TO GENERATIONAL pay plan with NuSkin and Herbalife.  Of course the percentages go up because Generational plans require a lot of hard work, but produce higher incomes.  The stupid Analyst like many neophytes looked at the different plans but did not have any understanding of how they worked.  They should buy my MLM Complan book on Amzon.

2. Ackermans slide 310 - on Return % doesn't indicate really how the "clawback" affects indications of retail activity.  I run complaint central here at the MLM Watchdog and have never had any Herbalife distributors complain about clawbacks. I know of some cases (not Herblife) where Distributors "buy their checks by ordering product in their downliness names to reach qualification for contests and awards.  One thing is clear is that Herbalife has a one year return policy for all Distributors.  If a new person joins Herbalife and after almost a year they can get 100% of their money back when they return the inventory.  Not many businesses in the U.S. the average person goes into has a favorable return policy like that.  Rule #1 for stupid analysts is learn how compensation pay plans work! Rule #2 for Stupid Analysts is to study the company policies and proceedures!

Rule #3 for stupid analyists is not to follow the swan song of anti-mlm critics like Fitzpatrick and Taylor with their perpetual lies about MLM-Network Marketing.  Ackerman's analysts cut his own throat because they followed that bias about the industry.  A question here is did his analysts inform him about the Medifast case pertaining to those theories?  Did they inform them about the short selling attacks they were part of with the Fraud Discovery Institute and Barry Minkow who is now back in jail.  Actually Ackerman may be the sucker here pulled in by his analysts!  OR where the analysts lazy and just went and pulled Fraud Discovery Institute from the way-back machine on the Internet??


3.  Ackerman Slide 312 - Drove me up a tree with the comparison to Equinox!  As editor of the MLM Insider Magazine we worked on getting Equinox featured on ABC's 20/20 (which got the FTC's attention).  Why?  Equinox's most favorite package was $30,000 and they fought tooth and nail never to give any money back.  NOW THAT WAS A TRUE PYRAMID!  There is no resemblance between the two companies!  It is like the person doing the slide wanted to throw mud in hope it would stick!  For the Ackerman Analysts busy puking in their boots I suggest they do a hard core Google Site Search Of  www.mlmwatchdog.com on the Equinox case.

4. Ackerman slide Herbalife Vs. Avon is total B.S. back to #1 above Herbalife is a generational compensation pay plan and Avon is a modified Unilevel.  Once again to Ackerman analyst go get my Complan Book off of Amazon and learn there is a big difference!  She did not understand the difference between Generations and Levels in two totally different MLM complans.  (Never hire the uneducated and untrained when going to war)

5. # 2 above Slide 310 we find that is a fraudulent statement !  Digging into Hearbalife Policies and Proceedures we find out the Hearbalife has a 100% return policy that is good for a year.  What business could you join and get 100% of your money back after a year?  Once again there are lies and liars.  In Ackerman he dependend on his anaylysts.  He should shot them for the massive lawsuit that is coming their way.  Ackerman was stupid in choosing his information analyst sources. And not someone knowledgeable like myself Rod Cook!

6. When Herbalife drags Ackerman into court I want to see under oath what material the so called analyists read, pulled, saw, studied, spoke to who, read, looked at, played with, interpreted, read standing on their head from the Fraud Discovery Institute Operations, even including the MLM Watchdog Website and the Fraud Discovery Institue.  Which was an illegal operation ran by Barry Minkow who is back in jail.  In digging through the over 300 slides I just see too much information that is similiar. Plus Material promoted by Fizpatrick and Taylor who where involved in the Fraud Discovery institute ran by Barry Minkow who is back in jail.

Editors Note: No I didn't buy stock should have.  Is Herbalife a favorite of mine? Nope! I have busted them here on the Watchdog several times for some marketing tactics distributors have pulled.  I think this money raid was unethical.   Seems there are more folks agreeing with me - see below.

      http://seekingalpha.com/article/1107021-herbalife-s-analyst-day-sheds-light-on-the-brand?source=feed

MLM COMPETITORS RUNNING GOOGLE ADWORDS
FOR HERBALIFE DISTRIBUTORS/LEADERS! !
CLICK BELOW THEN YOU HAVE TO CLICK  AGAIN TO GET PERMISSION TO ACCESS THE ACKERMAN WEBSITE BELOW THAT JUST WENT UP
Last Week 20 Dec 2012  Flanked by one of Pershing's analysts and one of its lawyers, Activist Investor Mr. Ackman spent more than three hours stating his case from an auditorium in midtown Manhattan. He said Herbalife's distributors--or sales people--make more money by recruiting other distributors than selling the company's diet and nutritional products. That, he said, is a key clue that the company is a pyramid scheme.  He hit the audience with a 342 slide show presentation that lasted 3 hours.

Pershing Square analyst Shane Dinneen, who spent one year delving into Herbalife's books, explained the company's complicated system of recruitment and financial rewards and incentives. Since its founding in 1980, Mr. Ackman said, some 1.9 million sales people have failed to make any money selling Herbalife products, costing them roughly $2,000 each in the process for supplies, training and sales leads, for a total net loss of $3.8 billion over that time.

http://factsaboutherbalife.com/
Earlier this year! HERBALIFE TAKES MASSIVE STOCK HIT AFTER HOT CONFERENCE CALL
1 May 2012 - Herbalife shares plunged 23% Tuesday after a U.S. hedge-fund manager, David Einhorn, sought details from the Network Marketing company about its disclosures, sales sources and distributor rewards as it reported its first-quarter results.  Einhorn is known for bearish bets on companies he views as overvalued!

WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORT ON THIS HERBALIFE STOCK DIVE
Fraud Discovery Institute Retracts ALL Herbalife Accusations
SHOWS CONSUMER AWARNESS INSTITUTE (CAI) FRAUD

LOS ANGELES, Aug 22, 2008 (from PR Release below) -- Herbalife and the Fraud Discovery Institute announced today that the Fraud Discovery Institute retracts its accusations against multi-level marketer Herbalife.

Upon further investigation (under heat) by convicted felon FDI founder Barry Minkow, the Fraud Discovery Institute became convinced that Herbalife employs systematic internal controls, including the use of outside, independent laboratory testing, which ensures their products are manufactured safely and in compliance with California law. It is evident to the Fraud Discovery Institute that Herbalife produces products that are safe, and that the company strives for continuous improvement in product quality.

The Fraud Discovery Institute immediately withdrew accusations against Herbalife, including any Proposition 65 flaky allegations Minkow made related to Herbalife products and any criticism against the Herbalife business model.

Ur Editors strong opinion: So this means all the documentation about MLM and Herbalife produced by the CONSUMER AWARNESS INSTITUTE was a lie too!  Jon Taylor and Robert Fitzpatrick proven to be producing fraudulent material and statements about the MLM - Network Marketing industry.  So here is a summary of this Editors strong opinion:

THE MLM INDUSTRY THANKS BARRY MINKOW FRAUD DISCOVERY INSTITUTE
THANK YOU BARRY MINKOW FOR RE - INFORCING THE FACT THAT MLM IS A GOOD BUSINESS MODEL AND THAT THE CONSUMER AWARNESS INSTITUE IS A FRAUD!  IN FACT WE MIGHT SUM IT UP....... THE FRAUD DISCOVERY INSTITUE GOT CONNED BY THE CONSUMER AWARNESS INSTITUTE RAN BY JON TAYLOR AND ROBERT FITZPATRICK.

Here is the boring press release from Herbalife

HERBALIFE = MINKOW, TAYLOR & FITZPATRICK LIARS
Ur Editors opinion note: Last November (see below) the Fraud Discovery Institute alleged that Herbalife was running a pyramid scheme in China.   It is now evident that FDI (fraud discovery institute) just created this myth to drive down the price of Herbalife stock (short selling).  The Chinese government has hung people (yes, really) for running pyramid schemes in China.  Another FDI myth disproved.   The Watchdog has issued opinions that the Fraud Discovery Institute has engaged in "ILLEGAL SHORT SELLING."  See (opens new window): MLM lies and myths Minkow, Taylor & Fitzpatrick

Herbalife Receives Approval for Five Provincial Direct-Selling Licenses in China
LOS ANGELES, Jul 20, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Herbalife Ltd. (HLF) , a global nutrition and direct selling company, announced that China's Ministry of Commerce has granted five additional licenses for the company to conduct direct-selling business in the provinces of Beijing, Guangdong, Shandong, Zhejiang and Guizhou. All licenses are effective immediately, except Beijing which will be activated after the company opens service outlets.
Herbalife received its first direct-selling license in China in March 2007 for the cities of Suzhou and Nanjing in the Jiangsu province. An additional license was granted in July of the same year to conduct business throughout the entire province.

"We are honored to receive these additional licenses from the Chinese government," said Herbalife Chairman and CEO Michael O. Johnson. "We appreciate this opportunity to expand our business in this important marketplace."
The company today also announced the opening of its store in Shanghai. Herbalife now operates 91 retail stores in 30 provinces in China.

About Herbalife Ltd.
Herbalife Ltd. is a global network marketing company that sells weight-management, nutrition, and personal care products intended to support a healthy lifestyle. Herbalife products are sold in 65 countries through a network of more than 1.8 million independent distributors. The company supports the Herbalife Family Foundation and its Casa Herbalife program to bring good nutrition to children. Please visit Herbalife Investor Relations for additional financial information.

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,  Minkow, and his Anti-MLM team Robert Fitzpatrick and Jon Taylor Phd (pud) all caught in a pack of lies...

READ ON: BARRY MINKOW = WAS FRAUD DISCOVERY INSITUTE AND THOSE ASSOCIATED
WORKING ON PULLING AN ILLEGAL STOCK SCAM?
ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES OF THE FRAUD DISCOVERY INSTITUTE?


HERBALIFE DEFENDS ON CNBC'S MAD MONEY
May 21 2008 --Jim Cramer host of "Mad Money" stock show goes on a rant about Herbalife and then the CEO of Herbalife comes on the show and does a good defense of Herbalife about Minkow, lead and Spain problems.
scroll down page a little for video
Cramer's Mad Money CNBC Video

HERBALIFE ATTACKED ON LEAD IN PRODUCTS
X-con Minow Attacks Herbalife Again!
May 21 2008 --The Fraud Discovery Institute (FDI), run by convicted felon Barry Minkow, a financial fraud watchdog group, released an alert May 19 alleging dangerously high levels of lead found in six common Herbalife (NYSE: HLF) products. FDI's investigation included product analysis by an FDA-registered lab and a review of medical literature, Herbalife’s product literature and various peer reviewed medical journal articles of Herbalife products and possible hepatoxicity.  Minkow is trying to create a drop in the price of the stock because he has “shorted” the stock.

Herbalife fired back this reply, “It is irresponsible to equate Prop 65, which concerns disclosure, with the safety of our products.” The company explained Prop 65 is a consumer disclosure and labeling statute requirement, which mandates disclosure of the presence of any of approximately 800 specified chemicals (including lead) under certain circumstances. “Our products fall within FDA-suggested guidelines for the amount of lead that consumers can safely ingest through their diet and the FDA sets specific limits on lead content in certain foods,” the company countered. “Our products include natural ingredients, and trace levels of naturally occurring lead is present in virtually all natural ingredients.” Herbalife added this is not a question of contamination resulting from the manufacturing process or unsafe handling, noting several common foods, such as chocolate, have come under question of Prop 65 in the past. The company further stated: “We follow established written quality assurance and quality control procedures. We stand behind the safety of our ingredients and products.”
http://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/hotnews/herbalife-tangles-with-prop-65--testing-compa.html


HERBALIFE UNDER ATTACK BY EX - CON AGAIN!
X-con Minow Attacks Herbalife Again!

24 April 2008
Ex-con who claims to have turned fraud fighter ‘Barry Minkow’ has released a press release attacking Herbalife (NYSE: HLF). The convicted felon called the company a "financial crime in progress," he wrote about the "Top Ten Red Flags of Fraud at Herbalife."

Minkow says that the venerable Herbalife is, "a global network marketing company that sells weight-management, nutrition, and personal care products intended to support a healthy lifestyle," but Minkow says it is a fraud.

Minkow wrote about a number of Corporate Executives dumping stock and share repurchases he thinks are indications that the company's business model is not sustainable. He also hired a private Investigator that discovered Gregory Probert, the president and chief operating officer did not have an M.B.A. as he claimed.

Editors Note: In the report Minkow wrote that "Herbalife's expansion has reached over 80 percent of the world's population".  Ed. Note: I bet Herbalife wishes this were true!

Minkow disclosed he has a short position in the stock and reported that  "In April of 2008, Mr. Minkow once again had an in-person meeting at the Los Angeles office of the Securities and Exchange Commission and informed the Commission that he was now shorting Herbalife stock to finance the continued investigation of Herbalife in China and to produce You Tube videos of Herbalife victims.  He also said he gave the FBI and SEC copies of his trading account.

Last year, Minkow pulled a similar trick with Usana Health Sciences (NASDAQ: USNA), another MLM company. The SEC looked and it and dropped it’s investigation NO action. However USANA shares  dropped from $40-$50 bucks a share down to $20-30 despite the fact first Quarter earnings 2008 were above first Quarter 2007.  At the time of this writing Herblife has dropped from about $46-50 bucks a share to $44-48 not bad.

Tags: barry minkow, BarryMinkow, herbalife, HLF, Minkow, Usana, USNA

Minkows Press Release with his normal hype to get stock to go down:
http://www.eworldwire.com/pressreleases/18389

BARRY MINKOW (WITH SHADY PAST) ATTACKS CHINESE OPERATIONS
Attacks Herbalife operations China claiming they are in violation of their agreement with the Chinese Government.  Minkow is the guy that slammed USANA and is being sued by them.  Minkow is famous for his junk bond scandal of that put him in jail (actually Club Fed). 

Edited: HERBALIFE PRESS RELEASE REPLY

LOS ANGELES, Nov 05, 2007 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- HLF  Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) issued a statement in response to a letter written by Barry Minkow of the Fraud Discovery Institute.

We have confidence in our direct-selling business model, our integrity and transparency as a NYSE-listed company and the fundamentals of our business. With regard to our business in the People's Republic of China, the Chinese government thoroughly reviewed our company, our global operating model and our specific operating plan in China as part of the licensing process. We received our first direct-selling license in China in March 2007 and subsequently received an expanded license in July 2007, which further validated the legitimacy of our operating plan in China. We believe our China marketing plan is compliant with all applicable laws, as are our marketing plans and business practices worldwide.

Barry Minkow states in the footnotes to his letter, he is hoping to use video gathered during his investigation as a stepping stone to a weekly television show that will benefit him financially. Minkow is a convicted felon trying to create a sensational story by drafting a 90-page letter, cobbling together one-party consent undercover video and calling it "evidence."

We stand behind the integrity of our company
.
Link to full relelease: http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/786843/

BARRY MINKOW (WITH SHADY PAST) NEXT COMMENT
“In fact, if the company can demonstrate that no less than 90 percent of its distributors actually do not fail within 12 to 14 months after starting an Herbalife business, then FDI will recant all of the reports’ findings, take down the doomed by design Web site, stop filming the documentary and write a formal apology to Mr. Johnson and the Board - but the reason no specific answers were given in writing in defense of the company fundamentals - which is the very motive for our report, is that Herbalife knows over 82 percent of all the compensation paid to distributors goes to less than 1 percent of its 1.5 million ‘doomed to failure’ distributors.”

DID MINKOW PULL A COUPE BY SHORTING HERBALIFE STOCK?  LIKE USANA?
Don't think so!  Dip not a Dive!  Click Below
http://finance.yahoo.com/charts#chart1:symbol=hlf;range=1d;charttype=line;crosshair=on;logscale=on;source=undefined


.Tags: Ackerman, Short selling, fraud, barry minkow, BarryMinkow, herbalife, HLF, Minkow, Usana, USNA, Fitzpatrick, Taylor