• Report: #137181

Complaint Review: Market America

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  • Submitted: Fri, April 01, 2005
  • Updated: Sat, October 06, 2012

  • Reported By:Sunnyvale California
Market America
marketamerica.com/ Fremont, California U.S.A.

Market America ripoff Fremont California

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Your informaion isn't quite right

*Consumer Comment: Core false and misleading claims of Market America: READ before you get involved!

*General Comment: Market America is no scam, it takes work

* : NO ACCOUNTABILITY

*Consumer Comment: The business works

*Consumer Comment: The business works

*Consumer Comment: The business works

*Consumer Comment: The business works

*Consumer Comment: Here are questions I have for any unfranchised

*Consumer Comment: Wow!

*Consumer Comment: They're The Real Deal

*Consumer Comment: They're The Real Deal

*Consumer Comment: They're The Real Deal

*Consumer Comment: They're The Real Deal

*Consumer Comment: They're The Real Deal

*Consumer Comment: From one who was there

*Consumer Comment: SEC filed a complaint against them

*Consumer Suggestion: Market America is a scam

*UPDATE Employee: Market America Info They are very open with their company information.

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Is Market America is a real deal? I found very little information regarding them on this site. Anyone got more info to share ?

Thanks.

John
Sunnyvale, California
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/01/2005 11:58 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Market-America/Fremont-California/Market-America-ripoff-Fremont-California-137181. 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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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Your informaion isn't quite right

AUTHOR: PiedmontTriad - ()

Hi friend, JR didn't buy SHOP.com from Microsoft.  Microsoft's Gill Gates was one of the original investors as were many others.  Microsoft did not own SHOP.com.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Core false and misleading claims of Market America: READ before you get involved!

AUTHOR: Truth seeker - (U.S.A.)

Market America may be a legitmate MLM, but it makes a number of false and misleading claims, and it hides the fact that most people in it end up losing money or making peanuts. Here are a few core examples of MA's lies and misleading claims:

1. MA claims that you don't have to be good in sales to succeed in their MLM UnFranchise. This is stupid. Of course you have to be good in sales. The product has to be SOLD, or else there is no revenue for your commissions. Duh! MA's commissions don't grow on trees! And you have to recruit people and train them to sell as well. So you got to be a good recruiter and trainer as well, not only a good salesperson. All this for a venture where 95 percent of people fail. (See stats below) Is that really worth it? Think about it.

2. MA claims that it is not an MLM, simply because it repackages its downline structure and commission plan differently. That is baloney too. Look at the definition of an MLM as defined in Wikipedia. You will see that MA fits it to a T.

From Wikipedia's entry on MLM:

"Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of the other salespeople that they recruit. This recruited sales force is referred to as the participant's downline, and can provide multiple levels of compensation." 

That's what an MLM is, and MA fits that to a T. Just because they shuffle around their commission plan or downline structure to make it look different, and use their own unique "terms", doesn't change the fact that it's still an MLM in the way that it operates at the nuts and bolts level. The reason they tell you that they are not MLM is because MLM has a bad rap and negative public image, which is well deserved, so they need to get away from that and try to appear "special". But it's all smoke and mirrors.

3. MA implies to you that most people in it are making money and doing well. That is a total bald faced lie. Every stat says that most people either fail or break even or make peanuts. Here are a bunch of stats taken from Wikipedia's entry on MLM's. They are all sourced if you go to Wikipedia's website. As you can see, they show the exact opposite of what MA claims.

"Several sources have commented on the income level of specific MLMs or MLMs in general: 

* The Times: "The Government investigation claims to have revealed that just 10% of Amway's agents in Britain make any profit, with less than one in ten selling a single item of the group's products."[24] 
* Scheibeler, a high level "Emerald" Amway member: "UK Justice Norris found in 2008 that out of an IBO [Independent Business Owners] population of 33,000, 'only about 90 made sufficient incomes to cover the costs of actively building their business.' That's a 99.7 percent loss rate for investors."[25] 
* Newsweek: based on Mona Vie's own 2007 income disclosure statement "fewer than 1 percent qualified for commissions and of those, only 10 percent made more than $100 a week."[26] 
* Business Students Focus on Ethics: "In the USA, the average annual income from MLM for 90% MLM members is no more than US $5,000, which is far from being a sufficient means of making a living (San Lian Life Weekly 1998)"[27] 

USA Today has had several articles: 

* "While earning potential varies by company and sales ability, DSA says the median annual income for those in direct sales is $2,400."[28] 
* In an October 15, 2010 article, it was stated that documents of a MLM called Fortune reveal that 30 percent of its representatives make no money and that 54 percent of the remaining 70 percent only make $93 a month. The article also states Fortune is under investigation by the Attorneys General of Texas, Kentucky, North Dakota, and North Carolina with Missouri, South Carolina, Illinois, and Florida following up complaints against the company.[29] 
* A February 10, 2011 article stated "It can be very difficult, if not impossible, for most individuals to make a lot of money through the direct sale of products to consumers. And big money is what recruiters often allude to in their pitches." [30] 
* "Roland Whitsell, a former business professor who spent 40 years researching and teaching the pitfalls of multilevel marketing": "You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone making over $1.50 an hour, (t)he primary product is opportunity. The strongest, most powerful motivational force today is false hope."[30]" 

In any case, the inherent nature of MLM's guarantees failure for the majority of its followers, for this simple reason that Robert Fitzpatrick, America's leading expert on MLM's, explains in a USA Today article on MLM's(2/10/2011):

"Robert FitzPatrick, who runs PyramidSchemeAlert.org and works as an expert witness in lawsuits against multilevel marketing companies, says state and federal government officials simply can't or choose not to police multilevel marketing companies as much as he believes is necessary. FitzPatrick says "virtually all" consumer salespeople who work in multilevel marketing lose because the recruitment-based marketing can only bring in so much money. Each level always has to be bigger than the last level, and the "vast majority always have to be at the bottom."" 
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#3 General Comment

Market America is no scam, it takes work

AUTHOR: Ron - (United States of America)

I became a distributor with MA after three months of poking holes in the plan; the more I researched, the more I was impressed. The people expressing this is a scam obviously have NO IDEA what they are talking about.

First, when you become a distributor, you are buying a franchise; what franchise do you know of doesnt take work to build your customer base? The products are of the best quality and in areas which are extremely lucrative, i.e. health supplements, cosmetics and skincare, webcenters, weight loss, auto care and pet care, financial advisors, etc. The goal is to build an organization of people who understand this takes hard work. I DO NOT talk to family or friends about this, only those who ask how I am making this much money, only then do I invite them to a presentation.

The trainings are so your team has a uniform path to succeed, and BTW, they are around $15 which is to cover the venue costs. The downline referenced is made up of those people who dont mind hard work, this is a 2 to 3 year plan; there is no "pie-in-the-sky" "get rich tomorrow" talk. Your distributorship includes your own shopping portal with over 4000 partner stores from Nike to Macys and everything in between! Last year we bought SHOP.com from Microsoft; what company is expanding in todays market? Consumers earn 2-50% cashback on all purchases; which is monitored by your portal and gives them a tally whenever they logon. The money in sent to your accounts monthly and if you build it right over the 2-3 years, you'll see significant revenues, around $187K annually (there are several thousand distributors making this amount and more) 

MA is in 6 countries and growing b/c of the opportunities presented and there are many many millionaires in the company outside of the management team. We have names such as Scottie Pippen (designed our bone and joint formula) Eva Longoria, Kim Kardashian, La La Anthony, Gloria Estafan, Serena Williams, the list grows every year; who would lend their names to a scam?

I suggest you know what you are talking about before you bash something; people like to talk trash to try to show they are superior; most times its a loser who didnt listen or just likes to tear things down. The amount of time it took to bash MA, you could've gone to a $5 dollar presentation and learned how to make money instead of noise, cluttering minds.
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#4

NO ACCOUNTABILITY

AUTHOR: Gardner - (USA)

Their reps can tell you anything they want to get your check and there is nothing you can do to hold them accountable except threaten a lawsuit. My rep finally gave my money back for failure to perform but Market America kept $2,200. for doing absolutely nothing. William Jenkins

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#5 Consumer Comment

The business works

AUTHOR: Rj - (U.S.A.)

Like many, I was very skeptical when I was approached regarding the Market America business. I'd never heard of this company but was quite certain I "knew the deal" when it came to businesses like this. Keeping an open mind but promising myself I would walk away when they started the high pressure thing, I went to a Market America meeting. I tried like heck but could not poke holes in the business plan. I continued to do my research after the meeting and was impressed to find an A+ Better Business Bureau rating. Eventually I became what is referred to as an Unfranchise Business owner. Two months after beginning to work our Market America business we (my wife and I) received our first $300.00 check. We continue to earn commission checks and just four months into working our business we have been compensated five times. The smallest commission check received by any distributor is $300.00. We are just beginning to build our business and find it to be rewarding and potentially, very profitable.
As a previous poster stated, this buiness is not for everyone, but then, neither is owning a hardware store or a hot dog cart for that matter. If you feel comfortable talking to people and enjoy representing a quality line of products, you may be a candidate. We own a "traditional business" as well and I can say this with great confidence. Four months in, and our Market America business is already running in the black. We have no employees, no insurance, no payroll taxes, very little overhead and no headaches which are commonly associated with traditional businesses. We enjoy managing our Market America business and we do so ethically and with great pride. I've often said that those who refer to Market America as a scam either know little to nothing about the business or, worse, failed in Market America due to lack of effort and refusal to follow the standardized training. If you are researching this company, ask all the tough questions of the person that has approached you. They should be able to answer them effortlessly, because, quite simply, Market America works if you follow the proven business plan, and it works quite well for many.
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#6 Consumer Comment

The business works

AUTHOR: Rj - (U.S.A.)

Like many, I was very skeptical when I was approached regarding the Market America business. I'd never heard of this company but was quite certain I "knew the deal" when it came to businesses like this. Keeping an open mind but promising myself I would walk away when they started the high pressure thing, I went to a Market America meeting. I tried like heck but could not poke holes in the business plan. I continued to do my research after the meeting and was impressed to find an A+ Better Business Bureau rating. Eventually I became what is referred to as an Unfranchise Business owner. Two months after beginning to work our Market America business we (my wife and I) received our first $300.00 check. We continue to earn commission checks and just four months into working our business we have been compensated five times. The smallest commission check received by any distributor is $300.00. We are just beginning to build our business and find it to be rewarding and potentially, very profitable.
As a previous poster stated, this buiness is not for everyone, but then, neither is owning a hardware store or a hot dog cart for that matter. If you feel comfortable talking to people and enjoy representing a quality line of products, you may be a candidate. We own a "traditional business" as well and I can say this with great confidence. Four months in, and our Market America business is already running in the black. We have no employees, no insurance, no payroll taxes, very little overhead and no headaches which are commonly associated with traditional businesses. We enjoy managing our Market America business and we do so ethically and with great pride. I've often said that those who refer to Market America as a scam either know little to nothing about the business or, worse, failed in Market America due to lack of effort and refusal to follow the standardized training. If you are researching this company, ask all the tough questions of the person that has approached you. They should be able to answer them effortlessly, because, quite simply, Market America works if you follow the proven business plan, and it works quite well for many.
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#7 Consumer Comment

The business works

AUTHOR: Rj - (U.S.A.)

Like many, I was very skeptical when I was approached regarding the Market America business. I'd never heard of this company but was quite certain I "knew the deal" when it came to businesses like this. Keeping an open mind but promising myself I would walk away when they started the high pressure thing, I went to a Market America meeting. I tried like heck but could not poke holes in the business plan. I continued to do my research after the meeting and was impressed to find an A+ Better Business Bureau rating. Eventually I became what is referred to as an Unfranchise Business owner. Two months after beginning to work our Market America business we (my wife and I) received our first $300.00 check. We continue to earn commission checks and just four months into working our business we have been compensated five times. The smallest commission check received by any distributor is $300.00. We are just beginning to build our business and find it to be rewarding and potentially, very profitable.
As a previous poster stated, this buiness is not for everyone, but then, neither is owning a hardware store or a hot dog cart for that matter. If you feel comfortable talking to people and enjoy representing a quality line of products, you may be a candidate. We own a "traditional business" as well and I can say this with great confidence. Four months in, and our Market America business is already running in the black. We have no employees, no insurance, no payroll taxes, very little overhead and no headaches which are commonly associated with traditional businesses. We enjoy managing our Market America business and we do so ethically and with great pride. I've often said that those who refer to Market America as a scam either know little to nothing about the business or, worse, failed in Market America due to lack of effort and refusal to follow the standardized training. If you are researching this company, ask all the tough questions of the person that has approached you. They should be able to answer them effortlessly, because, quite simply, Market America works if you follow the proven business plan, and it works quite well for many.
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#8 Consumer Comment

The business works

AUTHOR: Rj - (U.S.A.)

Like many, I was very skeptical when I was approached regarding the Market America business. I'd never heard of this company but was quite certain I "knew the deal" when it came to businesses like this. Keeping an open mind but promising myself I would walk away when they started the high pressure thing, I went to a Market America meeting. I tried like heck but could not poke holes in the business plan. I continued to do my research after the meeting and was impressed to find an A+ Better Business Bureau rating. Eventually I became what is referred to as an Unfranchise Business owner. Two months after beginning to work our Market America business we (my wife and I) received our first $300.00 check. We continue to earn commission checks and just four months into working our business we have been compensated five times. The smallest commission check received by any distributor is $300.00. We are just beginning to build our business and find it to be rewarding and potentially, very profitable.
As a previous poster stated, this buiness is not for everyone, but then, neither is owning a hardware store or a hot dog cart for that matter. If you feel comfortable talking to people and enjoy representing a quality line of products, you may be a candidate. We own a "traditional business" as well and I can say this with great confidence. Four months in, and our Market America business is already running in the black. We have no employees, no insurance, no payroll taxes, very little overhead and no headaches which are commonly associated with traditional businesses. We enjoy managing our Market America business and we do so ethically and with great pride. I've often said that those who refer to Market America as a scam either know little to nothing about the business or, worse, failed in Market America due to lack of effort and refusal to follow the standardized training. If you are researching this company, ask all the tough questions of the person that has approached you. They should be able to answer them effortlessly, because, quite simply, Market America works if you follow the proven business plan, and it works quite well for many.
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#9 Consumer Comment

Here are questions I have for any unfranchised

AUTHOR: Steve - (U.S.A.)

Okay, I talked to someone last month (Dec 08), okay.

Now by the looks of the postings its hard to say exactly about Market America but when I looked on another site where everyone in the world goes to, something just doesn't seem right.

You have to be a member to by paying x amount of dollars. Then you see products you like and you try to sell them to whom you can and you try and build up people whether its family, relatives, or any friends and explain to them.


The first thing in their mind is MLM. The second thing in their mindset is, "Oh its AMWAY, but in the 21st century.

Next, you have to wait to get a check for x amount of dollars.

Well then, from what I have been thinking of your working for a company.

I have my own candy machine business and it has ups and downs.

I don't have to wait for a check.

Just go in and talk with everyone and collect the money.

Do I get paid to talk to people?

No!!

So, why is it that for this company I have to.

I can make a youtube video for what I am doing and make money that way.

You don't have to do anything just be yourself.

Something I am just trying to figure out.


Look me up under Wanderful for Vending in Philadelphia and I want to talk to someone who is doing it and successful. Not someone who doesn't understand.
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#10 Consumer Comment

Wow!

AUTHOR: Tsalazarma - (U.S.A.)

The reason your not finding anything about Market America on "RipoffReport" is probably because Market America isn't a rip off. It's like looking for a good word on God on an antichrist website. I know, I expect too much out of people sometimes. By the way, if your looking for a good home based business solution, you probably shouldn't check Rip Off Report. :p
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#11 Consumer Comment

They're The Real Deal

AUTHOR: Horomoto - (U.S.A.)

Yes, they're for real. Not only is the company not a scam, it's pretty incredible. I closed my own market america business after almost 2 years, but because sales and marketing is just not my field, and to be successful at anything you have to like what you're doing (I'm an artist - need to do my thing). You also have to work for it - it's a real business - their products are wonderful, especially the health and nutrition line which has some products that are, quite frankly, revolutionary. This really is an amazing company and an awesome opportunity for those who really want to succeed in business - and are willing to hussle and work for it. I have seen several distributors hit the six figure pay scale after only a couple of years - the products really are that good, and the business model is better. I don't work for them, and I'm not a distributor anymore, so this is an honest report.
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#12 Consumer Comment

They're The Real Deal

AUTHOR: Horomoto - (U.S.A.)

Yes, they're for real. Not only is the company not a scam, it's pretty incredible. I closed my own market america business after almost 2 years, but because sales and marketing is just not my field, and to be successful at anything you have to like what you're doing (I'm an artist - need to do my thing). You also have to work for it - it's a real business - their products are wonderful, especially the health and nutrition line which has some products that are, quite frankly, revolutionary. This really is an amazing company and an awesome opportunity for those who really want to succeed in business - and are willing to hussle and work for it. I have seen several distributors hit the six figure pay scale after only a couple of years - the products really are that good, and the business model is better. I don't work for them, and I'm not a distributor anymore, so this is an honest report.
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#13 Consumer Comment

They're The Real Deal

AUTHOR: Horomoto - (U.S.A.)

Yes, they're for real. Not only is the company not a scam, it's pretty incredible. I closed my own market america business after almost 2 years, but because sales and marketing is just not my field, and to be successful at anything you have to like what you're doing (I'm an artist - need to do my thing). You also have to work for it - it's a real business - their products are wonderful, especially the health and nutrition line which has some products that are, quite frankly, revolutionary. This really is an amazing company and an awesome opportunity for those who really want to succeed in business - and are willing to hussle and work for it. I have seen several distributors hit the six figure pay scale after only a couple of years - the products really are that good, and the business model is better. I don't work for them, and I'm not a distributor anymore, so this is an honest report.
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#14 Consumer Comment

They're The Real Deal

AUTHOR: Horomoto - (U.S.A.)

Yes, they're for real. Not only is the company not a scam, it's pretty incredible. I closed my own market america business after almost 2 years, but because sales and marketing is just not my field, and to be successful at anything you have to like what you're doing (I'm an artist - need to do my thing). You also have to work for it - it's a real business - their products are wonderful, especially the health and nutrition line which has some products that are, quite frankly, revolutionary. This really is an amazing company and an awesome opportunity for those who really want to succeed in business - and are willing to hussle and work for it. I have seen several distributors hit the six figure pay scale after only a couple of years - the products really are that good, and the business model is better. I don't work for them, and I'm not a distributor anymore, so this is an honest report.
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#15 Consumer Comment

They're The Real Deal

AUTHOR: Horomoto - (U.S.A.)

Yes, they're for real. Not only is the company not a scam, it's pretty incredible. I closed my own market america business after almost 2 years, but because sales and marketing is just not my field, and to be successful at anything you have to like what you're doing (I'm an artist - need to do my thing). You also have to work for it - it's a real business - their products are wonderful, especially the health and nutrition line which has some products that are, quite frankly, revolutionary. This really is an amazing company and an awesome opportunity for those who really want to succeed in business - and are willing to hussle and work for it. I have seen several distributors hit the six figure pay scale after only a couple of years - the products really are that good, and the business model is better. I don't work for them, and I'm not a distributor anymore, so this is an honest report.
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#16 Consumer Comment

From one who was there

AUTHOR: Susan - (U.S.A.)

I am a proud distributor with Market America and have been for 9 years.

First I would like to comment on the SEC case. J.R Ridinger's mistake here, was trusting the wrong people when he decided to take the company public. Since this is not his area of expertise, he chose someone who was to handle it, whom he thought trustworthy. This person, whom he entrusted, also played games when taking a number of other companies public around the same time. None of those companies got sued by the SEC because they had all gone out of business.

Market America was the only legitimate company which was actually running a business. In retrospect, J.R. would have chosen more wisely and been more hands on in the the process, but he was instead focusing on building the company. When the situation arose, and he had to decide whether to fight the charges or settle, he took it to the field, i.e. the independant distributors who in effect are the company, and let them decide.

Overwhelmingly, they told J.R. to settle and allow us to get on with business. Overwhelmingly, the thousands of distributors expressed their confidence and belief in J.R. and that he had done nothing wrong, except for chosing the wrong person to take the company public. J.R.'s wealth was not the deciding factor, it was the wishes of the people in Market America. We know him to be a man of the highest integrity.

As to his selfish interest in wealth, when he was offered many millions more to sell the company, he could have done so and had no worries. Instead he refused, feeling that to do so would sell out the distributors and the work they had put in building a future for themselves and their families.

As for the company being a pyramid, nothing could be futher from the truth. The person making that comment does not know what a pyramid is. First of all, pyramid schemes are illegal, and if this was one, it would have been out of business long ago. The attorney general of North Carolina commented severaly years ago, that Market America is what a network marketing company should be, and run by the highest standards and compliance to federal regulations governing such enterprises.

To Winston: As a Market America indepenant distributor, I do not sell to other distributors! My customers are not my "downline"! My customers are not distributors and I have to document that quarterly. If a customers becomes a distributor, they are no longer my customer, and they are required to build their own customer base. We expand distribution by sponsoring new distributors, but without retail sales to the end consumer, there is no distribution to expand. Please get your facts straight. If you attended any trainings, you must not have been paying attention!

Market America is a legitimate business with real potential for those who follow and work the business system. Those at the bottom can far out-earn those at the top. It all depends on what you put into it, not unlike any other legitimate business. If you bought a retail store, and never showed up to open the doors, do you think you would make any money. Of course not. So to, if you buy a Market America unfranchise and just sit and expect the money to roll in, it won't. However, following the proven business system, you can reach what ever goal you set for yourself.

There is great satisfaction knowing that you are helping others with high quality, safe and effective products that people want and need, and also in helping others reach their financial goals. This business is not for everyone. If it is not your cup of tea, if you do not like interacting with and helping people, then it is not for you. However, that does not mean that it is not legitimate and that you should tear it down. (And Market America did not send me as their "minion" to say that!)

Susan
Knoxville TN
((( ROR REDACTED PHONE FOR SECURITY PURPOSES )))
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#17 Consumer Comment

SEC filed a complaint against them

AUTHOR: Lola - (U.S.A.)

SEE THE BELOW LITIGATION AGAINST MARKET AMERICA....SEEMS MARKET AMERICA TRIED TO SELL PHONY STOCK ...WHAT'S THAT ALL ABOUT? AND DON'T TRY TO SAY IT WAS ONE OF THEIR DISTRIBUTORS, IT WASN'T -IT WAS JAMES RIDINGER!



UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 16131A / May 4, 1999

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION v. GILBERT A. ZWETSCH
AND JAMES H. RIDINGER, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia,
Civil Action Number 99-1088 (LFO) (May 4, 1999) (D.D.C.)

SEC CHARGES GILBERT A. ZWETSCH AND JAMES H. RIDINGER WITH
ILLEGAL SALES OF MARKET AMERICA STOCK; CEASE-AND-DESIST ORDER
ISSUED AGAINST MARKET AMERICA AND RICHARD D. HALL, JR.

The Securities and Exchange Commission today filed a Complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against Gilbert A. Zwetsch ("Zwetsch"), 59, a former stockbroker from Spokane, Washington, and James H. Ridinger ("Ridinger"), 47, of Greensboro, North Carolina. Ridinger is president and CEO of Market America, Inc. ("Market America"), a North Carolina direct marketing company. The Complaint alleges that the two defendants violated the antifraud and other provisions of the federal securities laws in connection with an unregistered distribution of Market America stock and other activities.

Both defendants, without admitting or denying the Complaint's allegations, consented to final judgments permanently enjoining them from future violations of the antifraud, securities registration and reporting provisions of the federal securities laws, and requiring them to pay a total of more than $2 million in disgorgement, interest, and civil penalties. Both also agreed to Orders prohibiting them from participating in any future offering of penny stock. In a related matter, the Commission issued a Cease-And-Desist Order against Market America and Richard D. Hall, Jr. ("Hall"), Ridinger's attorney, issued pursuant to offers of settlement submitted by Market America and Hall, in which they neither admit nor deny the findings contained in the Order. The Cease-And-Desist Order found that Hall was a cause of violations of the antifraud and registration provisions of the securities acts for having substantially assisted in effectuating transactions which were part of a fraudulent unregistered distribution of Market America stock, and that Market America violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934's ("Exchange Act") reporting provisions for having filed periodic reports with the Commission which failed to disclose Zwetsch's and Ridinger's respective interests in Market America stock.

The Complaint alleges the following:

Zwetsch arranged a series of fraudulent "blank check" public offerings to create shell companies that would appear to have securities that could be publicly traded without registration under the federal securities laws. Specifically, on six occasions between 1989 and 1994, Zwetsch formed shell companies with no appreciable assets, and had family members and acquaintances serve as nominee officers and directors. He had these shells file materially false and misleading registration statements with the Commission that, among other false statements, failed to disclose that Zwetsch owned all the stock and controlled the companies. Once the registration statements became effective, Zwetsch conducted sham initial public offerings as a result of which the shells appeared to have freely trading shares. Zwetsch sold both the nominee director/officer shares and the "public" offering shares to persons seeking a corporation with publicly tradable shares. Zwetsch's proceeds from the sale of three of the shells, and from his efforts to register a fourth shell, totalled $341,475.

With regard to Market America, instead of selling the shell for cash, Zwetsch agreed to provide half of the stock of a shell styled Atlantis Ventures, Inc. ("Atlantis") to defendant Ridinger, who was to use the shell to take Market America public. Ridinger's attorney Hall negotiated the terms of an agreement between Ridinger and Zwetsch that provided, among other things, that a Ridinger "group" and a Zwetsch "group" would "fund" Atlantis. The monies that Ridinger provided to fund Atlantis in August 1993 were used to close Atlantis' initial public offering. The agreement also stated that, after a contemplated reverse merger between Atlantis and Market America, the two defendants would have an interest in all of the stock of the surviving corporation. Zwetsch and Ridinger also agreed that once Market America obtained an NASD Bulletin Board listing and began trading, Zwetsch would handle the sales of their free trading stock, and divide the proceeds with Ridinger.

Hall assisted Ridinger in establishing an offshore trust (AAA Plus Trust) to hold the free trading Market America shares in which Ridinger had an interest. Zwetsch, with Hall's assistance, concealed his and Ridinger's interest in Market America's stock from the NASD in order to obtain a Bulletin Board listing. Zwetsch and Ridinger stimulated interest in Market America's stock among Market America's distributors through presentations at a Market America "leadership conference," at a Market America convention and through publications disseminated to Market America distributors. Zwetsch also paid the author of an investment newsletter to promote the stock. Zwetsch and Ridinger did not disclose to prospective investors or others their interest in all of the stock that would be available for purchase or their agreement pursuant to which Zwetsch would handle the sales of their stock and split the proceeds on a dollar for dollar basis. Market America's Commission filings likewise failed to disclose those facts.

When Market America's stock began trading on August 3, 1994, Zwetsch immediately began selling the stock through accounts he had established at Canadian broker-dealers. Partly as a result of the interest the defendants had generated, as well as an agreement between them pursuant to which Zwetsch would be the sole source of supply for the stock, Market America's stock increased sixfold by the close of the second day of Bulletin Board trading. Between August 1994 and December 1995, Zwetsch sold approximately 1.8 million shares of Market America stock through Canadian broker-dealers, sharing the proceeds as contemplated by his agreement with Ridinger. Between October 1994 and February 1996, Zwetsch sold 217,500 additional Market America shares for his own account.

Zwetsch and Ridinger both consented to the entry of final judgments enjoining them from future violations of Sections 5 and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 ("Securities Act"), Sections 10(b), 13(d), 13(g), and 16(a) of the Exchange Act, and Rules 10b-5, 13d-1, 13d-2 and 16a-3 thereunder. Additionally, Zwetsch consented to an injunction against future violations of Rule 10b-9 under the Exchange Act, and Ridinger consented to an injunction against future violations of Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act and Rules 12b-20 and 13a-1 thereunder, and to an Order not to participate in any future penny stock offering. Zwetsch also consented to the entry of an Order pursuant to Section 15(b)(6) of the Exchange Act barring him from participating in an offering of penny stock. Zwetsch further agreed to disgorge $996,580, to pay prejudgment interest of $409,360, and to pay a penalty of $250,000, for a total payment of $1,655,940. Ridinger agreed to disgorge $235,498, to pay prejudgment interest of $69,196, and to pay a penalty of $100,000, for a total payment of $404,694.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Hall agreed to the entry of a Cease-And-Desist Order finding that he was a cause of violations of Securities Act Sections 5 and 17(a), Exchange Act Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. Without admitting or denying the findings, Market America agreed to the entry of a Cease-And-Desist Order finding that it violated Exchange Act Section 13(a) and Rules 12b-20 and 13a-1 thereunder. The Commission ordered Hall and Market America to cease and desist from further violations of these provisions.
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#18 Consumer Suggestion

Market America is a scam

AUTHOR: Winston - (U.S.A.)

Market America is a typical pyramid scam. It's an Amway clone which instead of focusing on product sales, focuses its attention on the recruitment of "downline" distributor customers. In fact, there are NO customers aside from the "downline". Yeah, sure, join MA and knowingly rip off people for ZERO returns and put up with constant harrassment to attend pointless seminars and meetings (which you pay for), with the added bonus of alienating all your family and friends.

Sorry, Libby, you are dead wrong....but nice to see MA sends its minions to post propoganda on " unfriendly" websites. Don't waste your time and $$$ on this garbage
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#19 UPDATE Employee

Market America Info They are very open with their company information.

AUTHOR: Libbie - (U.S.A.)

I am a Distributor for Market America. They are very open with their company information. I would suggest contacting your distributor and attening a company meeting. People in the company that did not do well are usually people who did not follow the plan. Many of the ones I spoke to were very open about their mistakes. In my eyes, the only mistake you can make is quitting. You can always get "better" :-)
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