ED Magedson – Founder
Global Bank AcademyNationwide USA
Jim Piccolo and Cheri Tree of Global Bank Academy d/b/a GBA, BANK, Global XTS LLC, BEST Technologies LLC, BANK Code Technologies LLC, James P. Piccolo, Jim Piccolo, Pic, Cherianne Tree, Cheri Tree, Phil Lechter, Jenny Luetkemeyer, Dave Cole Lie, manipulate,cheat and intimidate! Scottsdale Arizona Nationwide
My purpose and intent in posting this report is to give those who are considering doing any business with James (Jim) Piccolo, Chairman, Cherianne (Cheri) Tree, Founder & Creator, of and dba: Global Bank Academy (GBA), Global XTS LLC, BEST Technologies LLC, and BANK Code Technologies LLC, a perspective and fair warning based on my first hand experience and knowledge of the company and it’s principals. Whether you are considering doing business either as a customer, vendor or Independent Business Owner (IBO) with this organization, I strongly suggest you do a deep dive into the background and character of the founders and ultimate decision makers of this company before you actually hand over your money. Jim Piccolo is a calculated manipulator and liar who has been convicted of fraud (1.usa.gov/186sUXh). Jim Piccolo hides behind the good reputations of others such as Phil Lechter, recently named CEO but Jim Piccolo actually controls EVERYTHING in this company with a 55% majority share (which is held in a “straw man” entity in Peoria, IL. He’s also suspiciously missing from their “team” on the website at bankcode.com). Working together with Cheri Tree, these two are willing to lie and stretch the truth in exchange for getting your money, so be forewarned!
A few of the many complaints I have with Jim Piccolo, Cheri Tree and the GBA organization include:
My name is Patricia. I am a career entrepreneur who has founded and built several successful companies, two in the commercial Real Estate sector and one in manufacturing that collectively employed thousands of people over a twenty six year span. I have enjoyed an impeccable reputation as a traditional business builder. I believe in doing what’s right and with integrity at all times for the health and wellbeing of the organization, its stakeholders, and most of all the employees. This is why I am so disappointed and disgusted to discover who Jim Piccolo and Cheri Tree really are after drinking the GBA “kool-aid” and getting heavily involved with my time and money. Jim Piccolo and Cheri Tree are both deceptively charming when recruiting for representatives and selling their products then turn nasty and forgetful after they have your money.
When I was introduced to GBA, I immediately recognized the benefits the training methodology could bring any business with sales and service staff. The methodology is very compelling, although according to a prominent PHD professor and expert consultant in this area stated that it looks shockingly similar to other personality assessments. Jim Piccolo actually tried to hire this prominent consultant and went so far as to make public announcements that this consultant was going to be heading up a validation study of the GBA sales training methodology. The truth was the consultant ultimately would have nothing to do with it or them after Cheri Tree failed to answer even basic, simple questions as to the origins and invention of her methodology. Rather unusual for someone who “invented” something! Take a look at these similar methodologies for yourself at truecolorsintl.com and colorcode.com.
The first time I meet Cheri Tree, founder, “author” and “creator” of GBA’s sales training methodology and Jim Piccolo, chairman of the board, both had a compelling presentation of this “new” sales training methodology that was “divinely inspired” (as they claimed) and they were looking to share it with the world through their new company, Global Bank Academy (GBA). I accepted an invitation to become one of the “founding members” (non equity based) prior to the official launch of the business. This required writing a $10,000 check in “good faith” the business would actually launch and they would deliver the GBA PHD training product being promised. The PHD training product was finally delivered 10 months later in December of 2014 but NOT with the curriculum promised. Instead what they delivered was a six day long sales and money grabbing pitch masquerading as business training. It was despicable to watch and sit through as they lined their pockets again off the backs of the IBO community.
As time went on, my decision to become a member of the GBA organization proved to be a profoundly disappointing and eye opening experience. I would soon discover GBA was founded and headed up by individuals plagued by bankruptcies (bit.ly/1E26mzC) and lawsuits (1.usa.gov/186sUXh) with reputation management issues that included prior felony convictions for fraud (*copy and paste in your browser*) (azcc.gov/Divisions/Securities/news_releases/2011/feb17-11.pdf) and (gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-idd-1_10-cv-00642/pdf/USCOURTS-idd-1_10-cv-00642-0.pdf), misrepresentation, default on agreements with vendors, commissions not paid, and breach of multiple contracts and agreements with the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) as well as the National Sales Directors (NSD) (yes two different NSD’s), just for starters. Others have posted warnings in the past about the same people running GBA now. Take a look here: (unhappyfranchisee.com/category/franchisor/bizzibiz/) and(unhappyfranchisee.com/bizzibiz-franchise-founder-jim-piccolo-responds-to-criticism/).
Later, I discovered that Jim Piccolo and Cheri Tree have done business together in the past and it ends when they sue each other (bit.ly/1E283gx ). Many were burned in Jim Piccolo’s previous company called Nuevo Riche (bit.ly/1aYPZwY ) in addition to Jim Piccolo’s long list of other failed businesses (PiccoloUniversity, Five Star Capital, Bizzibiz, Extreme Franchise Marketing, I Wizard, Tru Dynamics, Real Estate Worldwide). Today these two are back together, this time as the founders/owners and executive team of the companies I listed in the opening paragraph. Cheri Tree often refers to Jim Piccolo as her “best friend and partner in crime”. This is an interesting choice of words to say the least.
Before the official launch of the company, I attended an IBO membership gathering where we were reassured by both Jim Piccolo, and Cheri Tree, as they explained away their “past history” that was in question with compelling stories as to why their reputations were fraught with so many concerning events. At this point, no one knew of Jim Piccolo’s fraud convictions and multiple business failures fraught with angry, upset vendors and customers. Jim Piccolo and Cheri Tree, both charismatic individuals with skills of persuasion and “storytelling” second to none, had the majority of the room in tears by the conclusion of their “explanations” and personal stories. This would become a predictable pattern of manipulation. Over the next year, I witnessed how they would paint themselves as heroes and simultaneously pick pocket those they brought to tears.
Convinced by their “stories” and explanations as to what they have learned and how they were changed by their past, I moved forward and identified an opportunity to exhibit as a GBA representative at a prestigious national event for entrepreneurs. This event cost me upward of $20K. As a result of this event, Jim Piccolo was introduced to a prominent top national leader in the direct sales and marketing space which resulted in a contract negotiation to bring her on board with GBA as the National Sales Director (NSD). This was a person who had an impeccable reputation and track record as a #1 earner in the top tier direct sales industry second to none. The executive team, lead by Jim Piccolo, was ecstatic to have landed such a prestigious representative as the NSD for their organization. I watched this leader set every sales record for the company including $140K in her first 10 Days, in addition to tirelessly train, support and coach the field of IBO’s.
What I witnessed going forward was unfathomable as I watched Cheri Tree bring her fiancé and GBA’s International Sales Director (ISD), Ester Wildenburg, back from Europe and announce she would be developing the North American market currently lead by the NSD, yet she had zero experience or creditability in this field and only 40K in sales BUT a ring on her finger. I personally warned Jim Piccolo and Cheri Tree that nepotism would diminish the credibility of their leadership with IBO’s in addition to creating resentments. Cheri said she “did not care what others thought, they would either respect her and her finance or they could get out, this was her company”. In addition, the nepotism caused a political problem, for Cheri was committed to keeping her fiancé happy and needed to oust the NSD regardless of the consequences. Jim Piccolo on the other hand, had an iron clad contract with the current NSD for several more years. Cheri Tree pushed forward by engaging in calculated, backstabbing behavior to systematically undermine and destroy the efforts and reputation of the NSD. I watched Cheri Tree fly to Miami to meet with a prominent prospect of the NSD’s and unceremoniously steal that prospect for herself to avoid paying commissions on multiple sales to the NSD. Cheri Tree convinced this prospect into believing that the NSD was defaulting on a contract with GBA, thereby discrediting her, when in fact it was GBA that defaulted on the contract. Another interesting fact to note, GBA is operating illegally in Canada, actively recruiting and selling, knowing they are NOT registered to do business there as a Direct Sales Company. The NSD voiced her concern when she discovered this significant legal issue but they chose to ignore it.
This relationship, between Cheri Tree and the NSD, became increasingly stressed as the on going childish antics on Cheri Tree’s part continued to undermine the credibility and efforts of the NSD over the next several months. It got worse as a series of “stretched” statements and lies made publicly by Cheri Tree and Jim Piccolo were being questioned by the NSD when she refused to participate in claims where she publicly misrepresents a product in any way. One point of contention was the claim that GBA was being studied “by” UC Berkeley for the purpose of validation of the GBA training methodology. The truth is that a student named Daniel Silver, a PHD candidate (we were told?) at UC Berkeley and employee of Jim Piccolo’s, was doing his doctoral research on the GBA training methodology in his program. In addition, the NSD confirmed with a major internationally renown consultant that Cheri Tree, Jim Piccolo and GBA associates could NOT make the claim “increase your sales by up to 300%” without any data to back up that claim. When the NSD requested information from Jim Piccolo to provide to Facebook for an ad campaign, she was rebuffed by Jim Picollo with “we can’t release the Berkeley study yet”, when in fact no study EVER existed. This is a prime example of how Jim Piccolo and Cheri Tree are more than willing to stretch the truth and lie to create illusions of credibility to promote their sales while jeopardizing their IBO’s reputations by having them repeat these wrongful claims to prospects. In a fact based world, Jim Piccolo and Cheri Tree have no data, facts or studies to back up their claim “increase you sales by 300%”. For the last year, GBA leadership has knowingly made these false claims in all its product brochures, websites, and training materials and at events. Another example of false claims, I heard Cheri Tree tell her audience on the GBA radio program that GBA has a prominent former NFL player involved as an IBO with them. The truth is, months before she made this claim, he had resigned and wanted nothing to do with GBA and Cheri Tree was well aware of that fact. I know because he was in my organization but Cheri Tree chose to tell a blatant lie to impress prospects listening to her on the radio. Really Cheri? REALLY??
To continue, there are major issues in this company over defaulting on contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with vendors as well as two of their own NSD’s. The current NSD was not being paid as agreed on her contracts and forced to retain legal counsel in an effort to get paid. As a result, I too have suffered untold financial damages in my GBA business because the NSD was part of my team under my organization, which directly impacted my revenue. Jim Piccolo’s unwillingness to pay her (even though he admitted directly to me that he owed her money) was a devastating financial blow to my business. I found Jim Piccolo’s comments and behavior toward the NSD repulsive in that he threatened to “go on a witch hunt” and to “ruin her” for daring to retain legal council to get paid. I was personally disgusted to observe first hand the unprofessional and threatening behavior on display by the “real” Jim Piccolo. Not many people are in the position of knowing and understanding much of the factual detailed information about this company and its executive team that I have been. As a result, I felt obligated to forewarn others and to no longer be associated with such an unethical and devious organization.
Another example of GBA’s lack of integrity, they launched a new “free” to attend lead generating event recently called “Linkedin Power Days”. I attended the very first one and was astounded to witness a fellow IBO, Dave Cole, plagiarize and present the training curriculum as his own. It was disgraceful when in fact what he presented was trademarked intellectual property of the NSD for GBA. Jim Piccolo and Cheri Tree are behind this campaign and I watched them use to their benefit the NSD’s trademarked programs and content, rip it off and spin it to enrich GBA’s training content. Why? Because they are unscrupulous and greedy! I know for a fact that Dave Cole has received a Cease & Desist demand from the NSD’s attorney but he and GBA seem to be of the same opinion, that stealing is fair game as they are promoting this “LinkenIn Day” currently around the county, disgusting to say the least!
As I mentioned earlier, Jim Piccolo has a pattern of criminal behavior and a dubious history including two convictions for fraud and multiple failed businesses…All due to deceptive and illegal practices. He has made significant efforts to bury and hide his seedy past and who he truly is. One of Jim Piccolo’s face book profiles quotes him as saying “he believes in building relationships and treating people fairly and with respect” and that “this philosophy has served him well”. My experience and observation of Jim Piccolo does not come close to this statement nor does he practice his “belief”. Frankly speaking, it’s a 180 degree contradiction. I have witnessed and experienced first hand the calculated, manipulative and conniving actions of Jim Piccolo, and Cheri Tree, all to serve and benefit themselves at the expense of others. These two are back on the street and just getting started ripping people off to line their pockets AGAIN!
Jim Piccolo’s and Cheri Tree’s arrogance and demeanor can be extremely intimidating for most and is very effective in “silencing” and shutting down anyone who dares to speak out with the truth or to question any of GBS’s business practices. I have personally received warnings from members of the GBA community to be careful not to say anything negative or that could be perceived as negative for it could cost me my business with GBA or they would “blackball” me as I was told by Jenny Luetkemeyer, GBA’s President. It became clear to me, members of the GBA community are fearful and paranoid for good reason as this is indicative of the corporate culture created. Anyone that questions or raises a concern in this company is made out as an enemy of the company and will soon be eliminated. An example, GBA’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), a very experienced marketer in this industry, had raised some questions to corporate about the compensation ledgers and the lack of transparency for commissions he knew he was owed. Jim Piccolo refused to acknowledge or answer his questions and within a short period of time he was ousted from the company. In addition, corporate took over his daily “BANK Deposit” radio show that he brought to GBA. He was kicked to the curb, disrespected and disregarded!
Once they have your money it will be impossible to recover it even if you have the rightful claim to it. Recently, an IBO in my organization purchased one of GBA’s $7,000 up sell products for a domain city name/website template at a GBA PHD training event in December. She cancelled that order within 48 hours while still at the event. For over 2 months, she got the run around through multiple calls to GBA’s corporate office claiming they are going to refund her money but never do. Finally, she resorted to filing a dispute through her credit card company to have the charges removed. GBA responded by claiming the charges were good and her account was charged the $7,000 again! That’s when she reached out to me for help. I have since sent three emails to GBA through the proper channels to assist in rectifying the situation but they refuse to reply or respond. In my opinion, this is out right stealing from my team member which is inexcusable. I found this to be a regular pattern of behavior from GBA and I urge you to think twice before joining them as an IBO, consultant or speaker.
This company hides behind their lack of transparency. For example, as an IBO, you are not given access or any reporting pertaining to sales information within your own team’s organization. As a consequence, you are not able to verify, validate or track any sales taking place in your organization other than a PHD sale. This is absurd! This means you rely on the company to be “honest” about the sales. In my opinion, this allows for skimming of sales and manipulation of the compensation plan. I have questioned corporate as to the lack of reporting and the only response I ever get from Jim Piccolo himself is “our system is never wrong”. I have heard this over and over again, like a broke record. The question is has this “never wrong” system ever been wrong? We have no way of knowing. Here’s what I believe… This is coming from a man twice convicted of fraud and too many lawsuits to count, enough said! What I have experienced is that this “no fail system” does crazy things. For example, recently a large part of my team organization completely disappeared from my back office, a total of 158 people. When I inquired to find out why, Jim Piccolo personally responded to me with “yes we are aware we have a problem, go check it now it’s fixed”. REALLY?! If I had not demanded and explanation as to what happened, I wonder if my organization would have shown back up. Then, I remembered “this system is perfect and never wrong”, according to Jim Piccolo, what a relief! Actually, what a joke! In addition, I find it mathematically impossible not to have received one single pass up sale in almost six months, yet the majority of the top current sales from IBO’s are coming from my organization? This is VERY suspicious, but without sales data to track or inquire into, it’s impossible to know or verify what the truth is. This should be of great concern to all potential and current IBO’s. This lack of accounting makes it very easy for an organization to “skim” off sales into their own coffers with no one the wiser. Just saying…
GBA’s highest level is called PHD, which currently cost $11,999 and entitles you to all the training they offer. PHD is suppose to deliver content and training using the GBA training methodologies to “dominate market share” in your industry. BUT what they actually deliver has nothing to do with any business you might be in EXCEPT their business, as one of their IBO. In addition, those who purchased PHD training were promised after completion that they would be “certified” to speak in front of others to present and sell the GBA products, especially in the B2B marketplace. But what actually happened was another money grab where they mandated you spend several thousands more dollars to “train” through them in order to be eligible to be a speaker. This is another example of agreement & promises broken. There are too many to mention in this category.
As I wrap up, I think there is one important fact to be aware of if you chose to become a GBA IBO. I estimate that at least 95% of all the IBO’s who actively “work” with GBA as a business have yet come close to breaking even. Every time you turn around, this company creates another 2, 4, 5 thousand dollar “money grab” before you have an opportunity to make your initial investment back. Some IBO’s have handed over thousands in additional money for up sell products over and above their initial $10K plus. I know for a fact, the company has cash flow issues, indicative of priorities to fund their lifestyle choices instead of cash reserves for the company, but to solve that problem on the backs of the IBO’s is despicable. As an example, I personally had upward of 50K invested in GBA not to mention my time and I was the number three sales earner in the WORLD at a whopping $17,358 in commission. It was a shocking revelation for me that you could be number three in the world with this organization with such a paltry result in earnings! This confirmed for me what I had suspected in that very few people are actually making decent money in return for what the company is extracting from them. It also told me volumes about what Jim Piccolo and Cheri Tree are really up to and what they care about most, themselves and THEIR EARNINGS certainly not the IBO’s they continually hit up for money!
In closing, there’s so much more to this story but impossible to cover in this document. Lastly, you should know I met in person with Jim Piccolo one last time on February 26th 2015 to advocate not only for myself but for the others in my organization for whom money is owed. My request was simple, “Are you willing to pay or make restitution to those you owe money to, yes or no?” He responded by saying “I would consider it. I need to think about it.” I said, “It’s a simple yes or no, not much to think about when doing what’s right, but go ahead and take a day I’ll wait for your answer.” As of March 20, twenty two days later, I have yet to hear a word back from Jim Piccolo. I guess the answer is NO, he’s not willing to do the RIGHT thing. Jim Piccolo and Cheri Tree both operate from a place of arrogance, entitlement and ego that is beyond my comprehension. They act as though they are exempt from playing by the rules (even their own rules) regardless of the devastation and carnage they cause.
In conclusion, I felt the BEST choice was to officially resign as an IBO and sever any business connection I had with GBA and I did so as of February 28, 2015. Now I am able to share my story and forewarn others. To do this required that I walk away from a significant amount of future revenue, but it’s definitely the RIGHT thing to do.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/20/2015 06:37 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Global-Bank-Academy/nationwide/Jim-Piccolo-and-Cheri-Tree-of-Global-Bank-Academy-dba-GBA-BANK-Global-XTS-LLC-BEST-T-1217173. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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