Egg-Themed Domains Used To Promote HYIPs That Flushed Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars Go Missing — Plus, An Update On Data Network Affiliates Amid Suggestion Thyroid Cancer Sufferers Can Benefit From Product Called ‘O-WOW TurboMune’
The domains — including one that redirected to an HYIP site known bizarrely as Cash Tanker, which used an image of Jesus Christ to promote a purported payout of 2 percent a day — first were promoted on the pro-AdSurfDaily Surf’s Up forum by a poster who used the handle “joe” in December 2009.
The egg-themed promo featured a pitch that HYIP participants were wise to spread risk by not keeping all of their eggs in “ONE BASKET.” It also hawked Gold Nugget Invest (7.5 percent a week); Saza Investments (9 percent a week); and Genius Funds (6.5 percent a week).
Despite an active criminal investigation into the business practices of ASD President Andy Bowdoin and alleged co-conspirators — and despite a RICO lawsuit filed by members against Bowdoin and repeated warnings from various regulators about the dangers of HYIPs and autosurfs — the egg-themed promo claimed in all-caps that “I MAKE 2000.00 A WEEK” and directly solicited ASD members to part with their money.
One Surf’s Up member dissed critics of the promo, calling them “dead wrong.”
“I also make a lot of money from those four and your remarks tell me you don’t know anything about them,” the member claimed. “[T]hey are very reputable [companies] who have been around for years….and the money is NOT made from ‘new’ people’s money….google them and look at various forums and see what others have to say about them….I don’t even know Joe, but I can vouch for the programs!”
A series of spectacular collapses that consumed each of the HYIPs then followed over a period of just weeks, demonstrating that spreading risk across multiple HYIPs by putting eggs in multiple HYIP baskets was spectacularly poor advice that had produced a recipe for financial disaster.
In July, FINRA said that Genius Funds cost investors about $400 million. The regulator launched a public-awareness campaign, one component of which was an ad campaign on Google designed to educate and inform the public about HYIP fraud.
“Open the cyber door to HYIPs, and you will find hundreds of HYIP websites vying for investor attention,” FINRA said. “It is a bizarre substratum of the Internet.”
Records show that the government of Belize had issued a warning about Gold Nugget Invest nearly a month before the egg-themed promo had appeared on Surf’s Up and at least two members had vouched for the program.
FINRA also pointed to criminal charges filed by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in May against Nicholas Smirnow, the alleged operator of an HYIP Ponzi scheme known as Pathway To Prosperity that fleeced more than 40,000 people across the globe out of an estimated $70 million.
Gold Nugget Invest (GNI) collapsed in early January 2010, about a month after the egg-themed promo had appeared on Surf’s Up. Surf’s Up went offline just days prior to the collapse of GNI, which was explained in bizarre fashion.
Using baffling prose, a purported GNI manager claimed the program ended after it had attempted to gain “a crystal clear vision of our financial vortex” during the fourth quarter of 2009.
After the collapse of the programs in the original egg-themed pitch on Surf’s Up, the domains then were set to redirect to other HYIPs.
Some ASD members later turned their attention to promoting MLM programs such as Narc That Car/Crowd Sourcing International (CSI), Data Network Affiliates (DNA) and MPB Today. CSI and DNA purport to be in the business of paying people to write down the license-plate numbers of cars for entry in a database. MPB Today purports to be in the grocery business.
DNA, which once instructed people of faith that it was their “MORAL OBLIGATION” to hawk a purported mortgage-reduction program offered alongside the purported license-plate program, now appears to have morphed into a program known as One World One Website or “O-WOW.”
An email received by members of the O-WOW program this weekend purported that a man suffering from terminal thyroid cancer had derived benefit from an O-WOW product known as “TurboMune” and that members somehow can earn “24% Annual Interest on their money” by giving it to O-WOW.
If members don’t pay O-WOW before Nov. 30, they’ll earn a lower rate of interest (18 percent), according to an email received by members.
Like DNA, O-WOW is associated with Phil Piccolo. During a radio program in August, Piccolo threatened critics with lawsuits and planted the seed that he could cause critics to experience physical pain. DNA has an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau. So does CSI. So does United Pro Media, a company formerly operated by MPB Today’s Gary Calhoun.
See the PP Blog’s Dec. 4, 2009, story on the egg-themed pitches on the Surf’s Up forum.