Fred Kriss presents himself as a very personable "Franchise Guru", and has built up a network of seemingly legitimate peers (even accredited investor groups!) who speak highly of him...a cursory due diligence Google search produces only one negative report, an SEC violation in the State of Washington that he quickly explains "I was a victim of fraudulent business partners".
You want to give him the benefit of the doubt, he does not seem like a con-artist to a non-street-wise entrepreneur. You also see a huge list of companies he has supposedly performed services for, as well as many glowing testimonials (now on video). Even though you are unable to directly or eeasily contact any of them, you might reach a few that are still "under his spell" and are in the "blindly excited mode" and will speak very highly of him, as I once did early on. However, when you question why so many are hard to reach, he explains that many were unsophisticated dreamers who did not make it due to their own incompetence...or worse, they dumped Fred after they used him, got what they wanted from him, went out on their own and failed due to their incompetence, laziness, or simple lack of funds to pay for anything. By this time, Fred is your "buddy", you WANT to trust him, so you move forward with his plan, pay him anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 up front believing you are entering a win-win scenario and you are now on your way to Franchise $$Millions!
You sign his contract because it looks so "fair"--he actually shows where every penny of investor funds will be spent, and it all seems legit up front. If he were to actually honor his contractual obligations as written, he might be a worthwhile business consultant. Fred then evaluates your concept (whether in operation or just a concept) and totally convinces you that yur business is an excellent candidate for franchising, and that his group of seasoned and professionally staffed companies can perform all the steps necessary to draft an SEC-Compliant Private Placement Memorandum, secure Pre-Business Plan Seed Capital...then later write a Professional Business Plan (for $25,000!) and secure 6 or 7-figure Private Equity Funding to help make your Franchise System dream a reality. Yes, you can be a Millionaire in just a few short years!
So, Fred eventually (never on time, always late, always an excuse) produces what appears to be a well-written, professionally designed Executive Summary and PPM, then you get excited because now he PROMISES that getting seed capital will be "quick and easy" with your "great concept" combined with his professional & compliant paperwork. of course, you are not rich yet, so you cannot afford to hire a "top dollar" SEC Attorney to actually verify that all of Fred's paperwork is TRULY SEC-Compliant...
After many months, endless failures, excuses, broken promises and ZERO results, you begin to wonder "why the delay?", and Fred qickly explains that raising funds is "a process" and he "cannot guarantee" exactly when the investors will step up. He then says that paying him another $25k for a full business plan, plus paying him a retainer ($3k-$5k/mo depending on level of commitment) will help secure the funds, but of course you don't have the money to continue paying him up front with no investor funds. he then states that he cannot work for free, his time is very valuable, and he must be compensated for every minute he puts into your project. Otherwise, he has to move on to other projects who are actively compensating him. After all, he is not a charitable organization, and "he has to make a living, too".
You get angry, since he has produced absolutely ZERO results of any kind, you have sacrificed you valuable (and irreplaceable) time & resources on the "franchise dream",
while your day-to-day activities have suffered. he then gets defensive and blames YOU for failing to do your part, a complet about-face from his original "promise". He then rubs salt into the wound by lumping you into the other companies who "failed themselves" by not paying Fred the ongoing monthly retainer, plus the $25k for the business plan, and expecting to get the big investor funds!
You are now BEYOND LIVID, as you realize that you have been screwed out of your life savings! You really start digging deep on this guy, and you begin to realize that he has NEVER produced a successful franchise system in nearly 20 years, but HAS produce a list of nearly 100 "Corporate Carcasses", each of which had some level of engagement with Fred. You also find out that he was NOT a victim of the Washington State SEC violation, but actually a perpetrator who is still liable to this day for fines levied. You also find out that many claims on his various websites are blatantly false...Maverick Angels told me they banned him from further attendance soon after the 2006 posting still on his events list. Also, further investigation into the list of clients and/or franchise systems he is working with reveals that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM is out of business!! Yes, this includes FreeSki, EagleMotorcycleResort, HideawayInc, vMaps.com, HighwayOasis, ShoutFranchiseGroup, SilkysmoothFranchise, Fit3, Heartstation, 123Dineout.com, UltimateMusic and more!!
So, now you are convinced this guy is a total fraud and you want to get your money back. You hire an attorney, try to get your company info removed from his websites, then he grossly violates the law by refusing to remove your information. After all, he can use a phony story about the "success" he created for your company to lure in new & naive victims! Many of the listed companies are on the West Coast, so it is difficult for us Floridians to verify the information. Fred knows his game is a numbers game, and that a significant percentage of passionate entrepreneurs will hear what they want to hear from Fred, and trust him enough to not perform extensive due diligence.
The reality is that virtually all of Fred's previous clients have failed, many due to Fred taking their last dime on a broken promise. Most are unreachable with disconnected phones, dead websites and defunct emails. Anecdotal evidence points towards several of these victims losing everything and becoming homeless, since they gambled it all on Fred and lost. Fred's greedy, ego-driven & sociopathic behavior allows him to move on to new opportunities with total disregard for the damage he has caused in victim's lives.
Fred's powerful sales & motivational skills are why so many fall victim to his low-overhead "cash-generating machine". Fred feeds entrepreneurial dreams by telling new clients everything they want to hear, convincing them their concepts are "brilliant", "very franchiseable", have "amazing synergy" with his other projects, and, if they sign up with him now, he can "plug them into his successful franchise management group portfolio" to benefit from his "management efficiencies" similar to such restaurant groups as Brinker International.
The other reality you find out with your deep digging is that his claims of multiple offices around the countyr are completely false; his calims of "professional staff" are total lies unless you count his PET CAT and DRUNKEN WIFE as part of his "management team". His offices in Orlando are simply a PO Box, phones are voicemail systems or just his cell phone. NOTHING is real, including nearly all the information on his 4 or 5 websites. The only thing that IS real is his actual home address at 14022 King Sago Ct., Orlando, FL 32828 as listed above. He can run, but he cannot hide....
If you do actually have access to a genuine SEC Attorney (as my cousin did for me as a favor), you will find out that YOU will be liable for SEC Violations if you dare use his NON-COMPLIANT paperwork to raise even one cent of investor funds! Yes, you could be fined or worse if you use Fred's PPM...it was proven to be an obsolete boilerplate document which can never legally be presented to any investor!
So far, no one has been able to stop Fred from his nonstop, serial con-artistry for nearly 20 years. He has "succeeded" in creating a luxury lifestyle with funds obtained from his endless list of victims. This posh lifestyle includes a luxury wardrobe (alligator shoes & belts, custom-tailored suits, Rolex watches, luxury rental cars, 5-star hotels with nonstop drycleaning & room service charges, nonstop fine dining (just look at him!) and more...and he often charges one client for an entire expense report for the client's trade show or networking event, but in reality he juggles work for several clients during the event, diluting the productivity for which you are compensating him. He simply goes for the deep pockets client at the time to fund everything--sort of a "business consulting Ponzi Scheme" if you will.
You finally try to use the legal sytem to force Mr Kriss to refund your money when, as your attorney reminds you, Mr Kriss has no liquid assets to seize, no wages to garnish, and that you will likely blow tens of thousands of dollars suing him for Breach of Contract and collect nothing. You would then be in the hole even worse, with no recourse. Furthermore, Mr Kriss will likely countersue with a totally frivolous lawsuit, which will DESTROY your ability to raise capital from any legitimate sources. Fred knows he has ALL THE POWER to destroy your dream, since you must legally reveal ANY litigation to potential investors up front, which will, of course, scare them all away.
Yes, Mr Kriss is a Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde type, though you would never believe this at first...
So, the Bottom Line here? Tough lessons learned, a legal system that rewards criminals and punishes victims. Mr Kriss is a serial con-artist who has refined his craft so well he even convinces (deludes) himself that he is a great public speaker "the next Tony Robbins", and America's #1 Franchise Guru. The only positive thing that can come out of my experience with Mr Kriss is to post this story on RipoffReport, and, hopefully, save future victims from falling into his trap. Perhaps someone in the future will be in a more powerful position to actually report Mr Kriss to the local Orlando District Attorney to launch an in-depth investigation, which could finally derail his fraudulent operation once and for all. Good Luck out there to anyone who has the resources to FINALLY bring this serial criminal to justice!!