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Fortune High-Tech Marketing Slammed in USA Today

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Fortune High-Tech Marketing is back in the news again and gets raked over the coals by USA Today. You can check out the FHTM MLM Blog coverage and reader comments from back in March when they got shut down in Montana here. The fact is – 30% of Fortune representatives make nothing, and 54% of those with earnings average just $93 a month. Where’s the fortune in that?

Marie Richardson of Daytona Beach, Fla., has never been as excited about a business opportunity as she is about her new work for Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing. In her first week and a half as an independent sales representative this summer, she earned $800 in bonuses for recruiting four customers who agreed to pay a fee to become salespeople and buy or sell products.

Kimberly Asper of Missoula, Mont., however, says she sometimes has to feed her family cereal or ramen noodles for dinner since she was laid off from a job and spent thousands trying to build a business through Fortune. She soon realized it was all about “signing people up.”

Richardson was one of several thousand salespeople who gathered here last month for a Fortune conference to learn how to recruit people and sell products including cellphone service and private-label vitamins for the company, which Fortune’s top money earner, Ruel Morton, calls “the most lucrative financial opportunity in the history of the country.” Asper, meanwhile, was one of the Montanans whose complaints led to a lawsuit filed by the state securities commissioner and settlement that required Fortune to tell current and new representatives that no compensation will be paid for recruitment. Fortune paid $1 million to settle the charges, including $840,000 to reimburse Montanans, but did not admit wrongdoing.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Class Action lawsuit filed against Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing claiming RICO violations

    A class action lawsuit was filed against Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing (FHTM), its officers, directors, Presidential Ambassadors and all National Sales Managers claiming fraud, pyramid scheme and RICO violations in the Eastern District of the Federal Courts on September 2, 2010

    Defendants listed in the lawsuit include:
    Paul C. Orberson, Jeff Orberson, Thomas A. Mills, David Mills, Billy Stahl, Simon Davies, Ruel Morton, Todd Rowland, Ashley Rowland, Todd & Ashley, Inc., Mike Misenheimer, Steve Jordan, Joel McNinch, Chris Doyle, Ken Brown, Jerry Brown, Bob Decant, Joanne McMahon, Terry Walker, Sandi Walker, Sherri Winter, Trey Knight, Kevin Mullins, Scott Aguilar, Molly Aguilar, Nathan Kirby, Dwayne Brown, Aaron Decker, Susan Frank, Ramiro Armenta, Angelina Armenta, Alexis Adame, Teresa Adame, Darla DiGrandi, Matt Morse, Matt Barrett and Roberto Rivera

    This is an action by plaintiffs on behalf of themselves and those similarly situated to recover damages caused by the defendants’ operation of an inherently fraudulent pyramid scheme. The pyramid scheme is fraudulent because it requires the payment by participants of money to defendant Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing, Inc. (“Fortune”), in return for which participants receive (1) the right to sell products and (2) the right to receive in return for recruiting other participants into the program rewards which are unrelated to sale of the product to ultimate users.

    This action is brought on behalf of a national class of persons who serve or have served as independent representatives for Fortune, pursuant to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1961-1968 (“RICO”), the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act, KRS Chapter 367, and the laws of Kentucky.

    Under the Compensation Plan utilized by Fortune until at least July 1, 2010, IRs are able to earn compensation from two sources: (1) bonuses for recruiting and sponsoring new representatives; and (2) commissions from sales of products and services by themselves and by recruits in their “downline.

    Fortune operates as an illegal pyramid scheme because this compensation plan affords IRs the right to receive in return for recruiting other participants into Fortune rewards which are unrelated to the sale of products or services to ultimate users outside of Fortune. Fortune’s compensation plan involves an elaborate set of bonuses which are effectively the only way to earn money in Fortune and which are all tied not to real sales to outside customers, but rather to recruitment of new IRs.

    To perpetuate the fraudulent pyramid scheme described above, Fortune claims to have special relationships with or to be a “partner” of several large major national companies whose products and services Fortune offers. These companies include, but are not limited to, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, Dish Networks, General Electric Security (“GE Security”), DuPont and Home Depot. Fortune has used the trademarks of these and other companies in marketing materials and business presentations in order to convince prospective customers that Fortune is a legal business. In reality, Fortune does not have any sort of special relationship with these companies. Fortune is not a “partner” with Dish Networks. Rather it is a third-party independent contractor authorized to sell Dish Networks service. There are numerous other such third-party vendors of Dish Network.

    All of the defendants in this action collectively form an “enterprise” under RICO, 18 U.S.C. § 1962, in that they are a group of individuals and entities associated in fact, although not a legal entity.

    The defendants’ promotion of an illegal pyramid scheme is a per se scheme to defraud under the mail and wire fraud statutes; thus, the defendants have committed racketeering acts by promoting an illegal pyramid scheme by using and causing others to use the mail and by transmitting and causing others to transmit, by means of wire in interstate commerce, writing, signs, signals, pictures and sounds, all in furtherance of and for purposes of executing a scheme or artifice to defraud, namely an illegal pyramid scheme.

  2. It is so unfortunate that the FHTM reps who claim Paul Orberson is a GOD just cannot see through the smog to get to the truth. He preaches so many fallacies that its hard to figure out what is real and what is BS.

    Let me address some of these known facts.

    1. Orberson was in Excel and is the SELF-PROCLAIMED highest paid rep in that company. There is absolutely no proof of this claim other than the BS story he himself tells.

    2. Orberson did not come out of retirement to clean out the industry and create a company for reps. He did move back to Lexington and start Fortune because his first wife caught him cheating on him, divorced him and took most of his millions. His lifestyle suffered and he needed money.

    3. How can one claim that he puts God first as a true Christian when he got a divorce because he couldn’t keep his thing in his pants and was spanking another woman?

    4. Nobody that gets into FHTM today has the same opportunity to make the kind of money the top 6 do because those guys were paid big bucks, got special deals, ownership interest and brought their down-lines from Excel.

    5. Forbes said FHTM was a fast growing company 8 years ago. What they never said is FHTM was a legal company. Forbes has never evaluated MLM’s for legitimacy.

    6. Orberson has done a great job of buying articles in 2nd and 3rd rate magazines to make himself look like a guru when he is merely a crook.

    7. Why has GE threatened FHTM with a trademark infringement lawsuit if they didn’t remove their coveted logo from the FHTM Office assistant and literature. According to the FHTM rhetoric GE is a partner of FHTM. WOW, how can that be? Same happened with DuPont. Was it all a big lie to make them look legitimate? Isn’t that how the story from FHTM reps goes, “All of these major fortune 100 companies wouldn’t do business with fortune or partner with us if we were illegal”? That is a crock of crap!

    8. The washed up has been ex AG’s that FHTM recently hired couldn’t find their way out of a box – let alone determine if FHTM has a legal or illegal compensation plan. If the ex-Reagan assistant AG (Hammerschmidt) didn’t know they were illegal from the beginning, why have others overheard her say they are illegal and Orberson paid her in equity to shut her up?

    9. Bottom line – they are ILLEGAL PYRAMID SCAM. They haven’t been shut down yet because most states dont have the money to investigate after being burdened with Bank and Mortgage fraud.

    10. Two class actions in one year, multiple AG’s investigating their pyramid scheme….Not a good sign for these guys. Just my two cents from California.

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