Friday, April 25, 2008

JPMorgan Chase Involved in Illegal and Fraudulent Loan Advice to Lenders- Robert Paisola Reports

If you’ve been following the reports on the Cay Clubs con, you’ve probably met Carisa and Craig Urban — two investors who got burned by Cay Clubs and one of its property managers, Phil Graham.

On Thursday, March 27, The Oregonian ran an article entitled “Chase mortgage memo pushes ‘Cheats & Tricks’,” in which reporter Jeff Manning exposes an incriminating memo that was being circulated amongst loan officers at JPMorgan Chase. The memo, called “ZiPPY Cheats & Tricks,” encourages loan officers to fudge facts and figures on loan applications, if necessary, to gain approval for loan applications that otherwise would be rejected by the bank’s automated underwriting system, ZiPPY.

(click above to see memo)

The main problem with this practice–in addition to being illegal–is that it deceived loan applicants into believing that they could easily afford payments on the loans for which they were applying. After all, most borrowers assume, “the bank certainly wouldn’t approve a loan if I couldn’t make the payments.” This is exactly what happened to Cay Clubs investors Carisa and Craig Urban, as they relate in their own words:

We are approaching the one year anniversary of our investment in a Las Vegas Cay Club condo, but there’s not much to celebrate. We have sunk into the real estate and mortgage fraud abyss like so many others. It has been a long and grueling process to find someone who will listen to our story, believe what we have said, and assist us in seeking justice.

We purchased our first investment property during the era of the “mortgage meltdown,” when mortgage fraud was on the rise. Recently, we came across a disturbing memo that has been linked to a former Chase Account Representative, Tammy Lish. According to JPMorgan Chase, this is not an official company memo, they do not condone the practices recommended in the memo, and they fired the Account Representative as soon as they discovered who was responsible for it. We don’t doubt any of these claims. From our experience with Chase, however, we do believe that the recommendation in this memo were common practice.

The memo provides detailed information on how to work around the company’s automated underwriting system – a system designed to function as a gatekeeper, rejecting loan applications when borrower do not meet the minimum requirements. Here are the recommendations that the memo contains:

Always select “ALTERNATE DOCS” in the documentation drop down.
Borrower(s) MUST have a mid credit score of 700.
First time homebuyers require a 720 credit score.
NO! BK’s OR Foreclosures, EVER!! Regardless of time!
Salaried borrowers must have 2 years time on job with current employer.
Self employed must be in existence for 2 years. (verified with biz license)
NO non-occupant co borrowers.
Max LTV/CLTV is 100%

The memo also provides step-by step instructions on how to gain favorable SISA (Stated Income, Stated Assets) findings; in other words, how to make an applicant’s income and assets look good on paper:

In the income section of your 1003, make sure you input all income in base income. DO NOT break it down by overtime, commissions or bonus.
NO GIFT FUNDS! If your borrower is getting a gift, add it to a bank account along with the rest of the assets. Be sure to remove any mention of gift funds on the rest of your 1003.
If you do not get Stated/Stated, try resubmitting with slightly higher income. Inch it up $500 to see if you can get the findings you want. Do the same for assets.
We find it interesting that there were so many similarities between what the memo stated and what our loan officer from Chase Bank, Ross Pickard, actually did to us and numerous other investors who purchased Cay Club properties. Ross Pickard simply followed the #3 recommendation and plugged in inflated numbers for our income and assets to get the loan approved. That’s mortgage fraud, plain and simple.

He also labeled our purchase as a second home instead of an investment property. When we questioned him about it he said, “We can label it as a second home because with the Cay Clubs lease back agreement you would have possession of the property 2 weeks out of the year.”

In talking with other professionals, we have since come to question many aspects of this transaction. At the time, however, we believed we were working with a legitimate developer and a legitimate loan originator and lender. After all, JPMorgan Chase is no mom-and-pop operation. We approached the transaction believing we could trust these professionals. Cay Club Resorts also offered to waive our first year of HOA fees if we used their preferred vendor, Ross Pickard. I guess this shows our naivety and inexperience as first time investors.

As a result of this fraud, many of us are left struggling to pay mortgages we cannot afford–mortgages that no lender would have approved if it had been given accurate facts and figures. Moreover, we now owe mortgages on properties that are worth less than we owe on them. We can’t even refinance or sell our way out of trouble.

We know that an employee in the loss mitigation department from Chase Bank has been assigned to deal with Las Vegas Cay Club loans, but many owners do not qualify for deed in lieu of foreclosure or a short sale, which would enable us to get out from under these properties without losing any more money.

So where does that leave us? Stuck in the mortgage fraud abyss! The ZiPPY Cheats & Tricks memo is blatant proof that shady transactions were going on behind the scenes.

There is a task force currently looking into Ross Pickard’s bad practices, and it is only a matter of time before the truth comes out. Chase played a major role in the acts committed. Now it is time for Chase Bank to right its wrongs and the deceptive practices of its loan officers.

~ Carisa & Craig Urban

Fortunately, when fraud can be proven to have been committed on a loan application, the borrowers can file a RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) complaint and actually force the lender to renegotiate the terms of the loan. Carisa and Craig Urban have an open and shut case, proving that fraud was committed in approving and processing their mortgage loan.

Our fraud busting team is currently working with the Urbans’. We have carefully audited their loan application and highlighted the specific incidents of fraud that were committed and are in the process of filing a RESPA complaint on behalf of the Carisa and Craig. We fully expect justice to be served and the Urbans’ to receive some long awaited relief.

Southern Florida Housing Crisis - Proof- Posted by Robert Paisola

Matt Sanchez reports live from Coral Gables Florida with video that shows that most every home on an upscale suburban street is either for sale or in Foreclosure, Video Courtesy of

Bank of America to ax Countrywide name, Posted by Robert Paisola

Thursday, April 24, 2008 - 11:47 AM HAST

Bank of America to ax Countrywide namePacific Business News (Honolulu)
Bank of America Corp. plans to drop the Countrywide Financial moniker after it closes on its purchase of the troubled mortgage lender later this year.

California's largest bank generally drops the name of an acquired institution. (Keeping the U.S. Trust brand last year was an exception.)

BofA may be eager to distance itself from the Countrywide brand, given the scrutiny its lending -- and collection -- practices are now receiving in the wake of the nation's housing bubble.

BofA (NYSE: BAC) CEO Ken Lewis told shareholders at that bank's annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C., of the plans to discontinue using the Countrywide (NYSE: CFC) name.

Earlier this week, the bank disclosed in testimony to the Federal Reserve that it plans to boost Countrywide's lending standards, eliminating altogether subprime loans and option adjustable-rate mortgages that include a feature in which the loan balance actually rises over time if borrowers routinely make the minimum payment permitted.

Lewis also reiterated his commitment to the Countrywide acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter.

BofA announced in January that it would buy Countrywide in an all-stock transaction worth about $4 billion. Later that month, Countrywide said 33.64 percent of its subprime mortgages were delinquent at the end of 2007. That was up from 29.08 percent in September and 21.22 percent in December 2006.

In August, BofA invested $2 billion in Countrywide, the country's largest mortgage lender. BofA's investment came in the form of a nonvoting convertible preferred security yielding 7.25 percent annually. The security can be converted into 16 percent of Countrywide's common stock.

San Francisco Business Times

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Utah Homes Sales Dropping , Robert Paisola Reports

Utah Homes Sales Dropping
Last Edited: Thursday, 24 Apr 2008, 8:07 AM MDT

SALT LAKE CITY -- Plummeting home sales along the Wasatch Front are finally starting to take their toll on selling prices.

The Salt Lake Board of Realtors says sales of existing single-family homes in Salt Lake County fell by 42.2 percent in the first quarter, compared with the same period last year. Median selling prices were virtually unchanged over that period, rising less than 1 percent, to $242,000. Just a year earlier, the increase was more than 20 percent from the previous year.

In Davis County, which had a 26.6 percent decline in home sales, median prices remained largely unchanged at $220,000.

Average prices fell in Tooele County by 6.3 percent, to $180,000, coinciding with a steep 45.5 percent drop in sales from last year.

Another Story

Foreclosure future grim for Utahns
By Jasen Lee
Deseret News
Published: April 17, 2008
Utah's housing bubble is forecast to burst in a big way, with one in 25 Utah homeowners projected to be in foreclosure in the next two years, according to a report released Wednesday by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
The report attributed the rise in foreclosures to subprime loans made in 2005 and 2006. In those years, 24 percent of home loans in Utah were subprime.

The outlook is grim in several other states, as well, including Nevada, where one in 11 homeowners are projected to be in foreclosure in the next two years, and Arizona, where one in 18 homeowners may face the same circumstance. Rounding out the five states with the highest projected foreclosure rates were California at one in 20, and Utah, which tied with Colorado at one in 25, or a 4 percent rate of foreclosure.

"Is the American dream slipping away?" asked Shelley Hearne, managing director of Pew's Health and Human Services program, in a letter introducing the report, titled "Defaulting on the Dream: States Respond to America's Foreclosure Crisis."

Because of foreclosures in their communities, 40 million homeowners could see their property values and their municipalities' tax bases drop by as much as $356 billion, largely over the next two years, said Hearne, a professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins University.

"The stakes are incredibly high. Homeownership is the primary vehicle through which American families build financial security," she said. "It also is an essential building block of state and local economies."

Jim Wood, director of the University of Utah's Bureau of Business and Economic Research, said that Utah's previous highest rate of foreclosures was about 2 percent in 2002, coinciding with the last recession. He noted that foreclosures are closely tied to unemployment rates and rapid home price appreciation, which Utah was able to avoid for the most part during the national housing boom, due to the state's strong, stable economy.

The Pew report's prediction of a 4 percent foreclosure rate "would be close to an all-time high," he said "It's quite pessimistic — double what we've been before."

He attributed the state's recent housing bubble to overly optimistic beliefs by those in the housing industry, combined with eager homebuyers and sellers, which prompted a home-building run-up during the past few years.

Hearne said that the Pew study is the first comprehensive look at what all 50 states and the District of Columbia are doing to try to address the subprime mortgage fallout. The study was a joint effort between the Pew Center on the States and Pew's Health and Human Services Program.

"Stronger standards from federal policymakers could have helped avert this crisis," Hearne said. "Future legislation must consider ways to strengthen standards to prevent more troubling loans from being made."

Fourteen states, including Utah, have created statewide foreclosure task forces to bring government, lenders, consumer advocates and experts together to address the crisis.

The Pew researchers analyzed two principal data sets: the Mortgage Bankers Association 4th Quarter National Delinquency Survey, and the Center for Responsible Lending's foreclosure projections and subprime spillover data.

The Mortgage Bankers Association quarterly data are based on survey sampling techniques and offer a point in time picture of loans in various stages of delinquency or in the foreclosure process, the report said. The MBA foreclosure estimates refer to all loans in the foreclosure process, as well as loans that are seriously delinquent, or more than 90 days past due.

The Center for Responsible Lending's estimates evaluate the total number of subprime loans disbursed during 2005 and 2006 and give the number of loans the analysts expect will be foreclosed upon. This estimate includes foreclosures that will occur in 2008, as well as subsequent years.

Wood said resets of variable-rate subprime loans have contributed to the increase in foreclosures, both nationally and in Utah.

"We will probably go well above the national average," he said, "but 4 percent seems high."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Money Laundering or Assistance with A Mortgage, Robert Paisola Reports

Below is an update on the Down Payment Assistance Front. Recently HUD stated that they were going to do away with the DPA. A DPA is where a seller contributes 3% of the purchase price plus an administration fee to the DPA and the DPA will gift the buyer the down payment.

This program works for FHA loans and that is why HUD is in the middle of it.

A buyer's down payment can be a gift, however the gift cannot be directly from the seller. So this clever little money laundering technique has benefited many of homeowners get a 100% loan but instead of it being a sub-prime adjustable type thing or an interest only for two years and kaboom. The buyer would have a nice 30 year fixed rate with low monthly mortgage insurance.

So here is the deal in action. Billy Buyer makes an offer on Sally Seller's home. The offer has an addendum that says that Sally will contribute 2.5% of the purchase price to pay for the buyer's closing cost. Then Billy Buyer will ask Sally Seller to contribute 3% of the purchase price + a $500 processing fee. So depending on the price of the home, the seller will contribute approximately 6% of the sales price on behalf of the buyer.

Usually the difference is split, meaning the sales price is increased by 3%. The seller agrees to the full 6% concession. SO the buyer gets 100% loan and finances the closing cost.

October 31, 2007


Gaithersburg, MD - United States Federal District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman today ruled in the case of AmeriDream v. Jackson that the Department of Housing and Urban Development cannot implement its regulation on downpayment assistance, which had been scheduled to go into effect today. AmeriDream, Incorporated, a 501(c)(3) charitable entity dedicated to helping low and moderate income families purchase their own homes through the provision of downpayment assistance and other services, had brought suit against HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson challenging the regulation, which would have reversed prior HUD policies regarding downpayment assistance.

Judge Friedman agreed with AmeriDream's position that there was a "substantial likelihood" that the regulation violated applicable law. Judge Friedman further stated that the regulation lacked a "reasoned analysis" and was based on "flimsy" support. Judge Friedman also questioned whether HUD acted appropriately in issuing the regulation in view of a published report that Secretary Jackson was committed to that course of action regardless of whatever public comments HUD would later receive. In view of those shortcomings and other considerations, Judge Friedman issued an injunction, effective immediately, preventing the regulation from taking effect.

Engenuity...Wealth Strategist? Rick Koerber? Posted By Robert Paisola



Best Cities For Bargain- With All the Real Estate Fraud- Utah is Number One, Posted by Robert Paisola

Best Cities For Bargain House-Hunters- Live from

Property sharks looking to take advantage of local housing slumps are doing their best to time the market, searching for the precise moment when prices bottom out before taking a bite.

They'd be smart to look for markets where job growth is strong, foreclosures are relatively low and inventory is high. With these factors in place, buyers can still dictate terms of sale and negotiate prices, but aren't as exposed to the economic and lending risk problems that have sunk many markets around the country.

Good places to look? Salt Lake City and Raleigh, N.C., where there are plenty of sellers slashing prices, but not because of a lending meltdown.
Complete List: 10 Best Cities For Bargain House-Hunters

Timing a market is tricky business, and prices alone may not be the best way to determine a bargain opportunity.

What you need is a buyers' market, where there is healthy job growth and more houses available than people to buy them. This is not due to foreclosures and economic downturn, but to overbuilding that should balance out in time.

Related Stories
America's Most Overpriced Suburbs

America's Hardest-Hit Foreclosure Spots

These markets "are where you have high inventories but pliable borrowers, with lenders willing to deal," says Anthony Sanders, a professor of finance at Arizona State University.

This is what's happening in Houston. Compared to housing prices in other cities, Houston real estate has always been a bargain, which is part of why the population has expanded so much since 2000. Jobs are being added to the books at the sixth fastest rate of cities measured, and while the city has had more than a few foreclosures, especially in Harris County, it hasn't taken a huge overall hit. Based on inventory levels and construction projects in the works, buyers still have good standing to negotiate price.

Behind The Numbers
Our list includes 2006-2007 data on job growth, from the Bureau of Labor statistics; foreclosure data from RealtyTrac, an online database of foreclosures gleaned from multiple listing services, bank-owned properties, bankruptcy records, loan histories, tax liens and lender information; and ZipRealty, an online firm that tracks vacancy rates through multiple listing services.

In addition to Houston, Salt Lake City and Raleigh, what we found were soft markets such as Orlando, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., and Jacksonville, Fla., where the damage from risky lending isn't as drastic as other parts of the country, and where employment growth suggests inventory can burn off at a healthy rate.

Who is to blame for the subprime crisis? Weigh in. Add your thoughts in the Reader Comments section below.

Job growth matters, as it's a sign that people are moving to a city and that they're building the roots and wealth to buy a home. On this measure, we used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2006 to 2007 to calculate which markets are adding people to payrolls. The timing of the data also weeds out any places that saw their job growth explode in past years due heavily to housing or jobs that are now gone, and we excluded any city losing jobs from our list. Excess housing inventory and job loss don't pair well.

But fast job growth coupled with a high foreclosure rate points to a more volatile market, one where economic activity might be slowing, or where prices were untenable from the very beginning.

Kermit Baker, an economist at the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies, says that the equity problems that lead to foreclosures are more often than not "the result of economic conditions in the market as a whole," or "an overheated market."

Neither condition makes for a bargain because there's too much risk involved.

Sellers in subprime troubled markets, for example, might be anxious to sell to save whatever equity they have. Of course, this is more or less like being handed a grenade. If you bought a house in Stockton, right now, where there's one foreclosure for every 31 households, according to RealtyTrac, it's likely that prices will continue to plummet.

You won't be getting a bargain, you'll be buying cheap.

Instead, a bargain buy in an overbuilt market exposes you to less risk and comes with the satisfaction of not profiting at someone else's foreclosure misery.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Shammand "Sham" Maharj and The Buena Vista Corporation Threaten Investors, Robert Paisola Reports

Investors across the nation have been contacting our offices at Western Capital complaining of a man named Shammand "Sham" Maharj. We are told he has scammed millions of dollars from investors and this is a consumer and media site that is covering this story. He is the owner of the Buena Vista Corporation and The Orlando Sharks Soccer Team. Jail???

That was the headline that we brought to you last October when we first began to investigate Sham Maharaj and his "Buena Vista Corporation". Since then we have heard from jundreds of victims that have been silenced or threatened by Maharaj if they speak regarding any losses that they incurred as a result of their involvement with his companies.

We have spoken to large investment banks around the world, and have been told that the project that we were mainly interested in looking at called "Ruby Ridge: in Florida, was merely the tip of the iceberg for old Sham.

Well, we received a call today from a Real Estate Investor who has lost a substantial amount of money to Sham Maharaj and Buena Vista Corporation and he said that he received a letter from an attorney THREATENING him.

So, if you are a victim of Sham Maharaj and Buena Vista Corporation and have received a letter from their attorneys, or better yet, if you have been sued by their companies, we want to know immediately. Please send a copy of any demand letter that you receive to or fax our Los Angeles Office at 408-889-2415.

We will keep you advised on upcoming posts. If you are a member of the media, please feel free to contact


Robert Paisola
The Western Capital Foundation

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Homeowners in denial, By Donald J. Trump, Posted by Robert Paisola

It’s obviously a really tough time right now for homeowners who are trying to sell. The housing market is in a bad place, and all over the nation home values are showing incredible declines.

But don’t tell that to homeowners. According to a recent survey, more than three out of four homeowners still believe their own home has not lost value in the past year. More than one-third believe their home has actually increased in value.

Many industry analysts estimate that home values declined 5% on average last year, with many parts of the country showing much steeper drops.

So are homeowners not paying attention to news about the housing situation? Are they in denial about their home’s real value? Or are they just incredibly optimistic?

In many cases, it doesn’t matter. The good news is that unless you have a pressing need to sell right now or you’re trying to get a home equity loan, you shouldn’t be affected by the declining values.

We’ll eventually recover from the housing slump and you’ll see your home’s value rise again. Just sit tight and don’t panic.

INSIDE THE MORTGAGE CRISIS, From CNN, Posted By Robert Paisola

CNN teams with Fortune Managing Editor Andy Serwer to investigate how the housing boom went bust.

Homeowners: Can't pay? Just walk away
More and more borrowers are watching their house values sink while the cost of their loans skyrockets. What to do? Skip out on the mortgage all together.
By Les

NEW YORK ( -- Mortgage payments are set to jump. Home prices have plunged. "I'm outta here."

Homeowners are abandoning their homes and, more importantly, their mortgages, rather than trying to keep up with rising payments on deteriorating assets. So many people are handing their keys back to lenders that a new term has been coined for it: jingle mail.

"I stopped paying my mortgage in October, after shelling out about $70,000 in interest [over 15 months]," said one borrower, David, who doesn't want his last name used. "Now, I'm just waiting for the default notice."

The Los Angeles-based writer bought two properties in Hancock Park, west of downtown, using no-down, interest-only mortgages in 2006. He paid just over $1 million for both.

David had planned to sell them quickly but got caught in the slump. Soon his interest rate will jump by a few points, and his payments will go up by several hundred dollars a month for each place. He figures his properties have fallen in value by at least $60,000 each.

Current lending practices have created an environment where a measure as extreme as abandoning a home actually makes sense to some people.

Many buyers put little or no money down, so they don't have much invested in them. That leaves them with little incentive to keep making payments when a home's market value dips below the balance of the mortgage.

The most serious consequence is a tremendous hit to credit scores. For some, that's better than throwing away money they'll never recover by selling their home.

And while a mortgage default can savage a person's credit record, trying to pay off a loan they can't afford could be worse for borrowers if it leads to bankruptcy, said Craig Watts, a spokesman for the credit reporting firm Fair Isaac.

Credit scores are hurt much more by missing multiple payments - on credit cards, cars and so on - than by a single foreclosure.

"The time it takes to regain your credit score [after foreclosure] can be shorter than after bankruptcy," said Watts.

It typically takes three years of a spotless payment record after a bankruptcy before credit scores recover enough for someone to think about buying a home again, he said. After abandoning a mortgage, a person may be able to buy a new house in two years or less.

And now skipping out on a home is easier, thanks to the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007. Previously, if a bank sold a foreclosed home for less than the mortgage balance and it forgave the difference, the borrower had to pay tax on that difference as if it were income. Now the IRS will ignore it.

"That's going to help a lot of people," said Mike Gray, a San Jose accountant who runs the web site

The trend of walking away is most pronounced among real estate investors, according to Jay Brinkman, an economist with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

But families are doing it too. "If they have to stretch to make mortgage payments for a home that will not recover its value, then yes, they may walk away," he said.

Often they chose hybrid adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) that came with low initial payments. After a few years, interest rates on these loans reset higher. But buyers thought they could count on the increased value of their homes to refinance into affordable, fixed-rate loans.

Now, that may not be possible. Take Susan (not her real name), a client of, which specializes in arranging short sales. A short sale is when a bank agrees to accept the sale price paid for a home - even if it is less than the outstanding mortgage on it - as payment in full. An owner might sell a house with a $200,000 mortgage for $180,000, and then the bank forgives the difference. CEO Duane LeGate says that Susan's two-bedroom condo in Sonoma County is worth $340,000, but the mortgage balance is $380,000. She can't refinance and it's difficult to sell.

She's still trying for a short sale but, said LeGate, "She'll almost certainly end up walking away."

Beyond anecdotes, some statistics indicate that hard-pressed owners are deliberately courting foreclosure. An analysis by the consumer credit rating agency Experian last spring found that many borrowers were choosing to pay off credit card and other consumer debt before making mortgage payments. They were electing to put their mortgage at risk rather than their credit cards or auto loans.

Similarly, Richard DeKaser, chief economist for National City Corp., (NCC, Fortune 500) notes that while all credit metrics are deteriorating, mortgage delinquencies are rising disproportionately. "That makes sense if people are choosing to walk away," he said.

And now reports are emerging of homeowners skipping out on mortgages even though they can still afford to pay them.

Wachovia (WB, Fortune 500) CEO Ken Thompson described these people on an earnings call last month."[These are] people that have otherwise had the capacity to pay, but have basically just decided not to, because they feel like they've lost equity, value in their properties."

Lenders are afraid that borrowers may find it's worth the hit to their credit scores, if they can drastically reduce their housing expenses. Someone with good credit and a $600,000 home in a town with cratering real estate prices could buy a similar house nearby for $450,000, and then let the other $600,000 mortgage go into foreclosure.

The stage is set for this kind of thing particularly in California, where huge numbers of buyers used low or no-down deals to buy homes. The trend has even spawned at least one new business, San Diego-based, which for a fee of $1,000 purports to guide clients through the process of ditching their mortgages. It launched in early January, and says it has already signed up 180 clients.

California is a bit of a safe haven for these borrowers, since banks that repossess and then sell a foreclosed property for less than the mortgage that was owed on it cannot come after borrowers for the difference - as long as it's the initial mortgage, one that has not been refinanced. So if a borrower owes $200,000 and the bank sells the house for $170,000, the borrower comes out of it debt-free.

Westgate Resorts Timeshare, Hell On Earth, By Robert Paisola

I have a timeshare with westgate and I am totally frustrated. month after month we throw money away to make our paymenys, every year our maint, increases by $100 or more, and when we want to plan a vacation nothing is available. to make matters worse, we booked a trip august 2007 for aruba. two weeks before i suffered a miscarriage. i had taken out the insurance only to be told i needed medical proof of my alleged medical condition including doctors note, hospital info. what,are they kidding me? a total disgrace. i eventually after making 15 calls got someone at westgate to cancel this and only let us use the week at another time with a one year expiration. not to mention the so called insurance that covered up to $1000 didnt cover any of the plane tix, rent a car. anything,
I have decided to stop making the payments and wait for my notice to quit letter. I hope this does not appear on my credit report, as they did not run mt credit from day one to see if was even able to make the payments. i also have 2 trips booked for may 2008 paid for almost one year ago. neither with westgate ( staying at sheraton). as of now it says confirmed under my account history.....will this be honored or will they try to cancel these. like i said they were paid for quite a while ago.
please let me know what your thoughts are on all this.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

19 indicted in foreclosure fraud that reaped millions, Posted by Robert Paisola

19 indicted in foreclosure fraud that reaped millions

Federal prosecutors in Sacramento announced yesterday that 19 people have been indicted in a large mortgage fraud case that preyed on people close to foreclosure and stripped homeowners in two dozen states of millions of dollars in equity.

McGregor Scott, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, unsealed the contents of two indictments that detail a conspiracy to strip 115 people of $12.6 million in equity and their homes in cases that stretch from California to New York.

Two indictments - both citing Charles Head, 33, of La Habra, Calif., as the ringleader - allege a total of 18 counts of money laundering, mail fraud and conspiracy.

Scott called the cases an example of "unmitigated greed" and noted that his office has charged nearly a dozen others in continuing mortgage fraud cases.

"It is our duty to do all we can to restore faith and confidence in the marketplace by placing these thieves where they belong, which is in prison," Scott said.

Sheila Jones of Sacramento said she lost her home and its equity after dealing with one of Head's companies more than a year ago. After she was forced to move out, looters stripped the south Sacramento home to the studs.

She greeted news of the indictment with relief.

"Oh, my goodness," she said. "Oh, my goodness. Well, God is good."

Scott said that Head, the alleged ringleader, faces at least 20 years in prison if convicted. The 18 other defendants face 12 to 15 years, he said.

The case came to an FBI agent's attention when a victim reached an FBI economic crimes agent.

"[The agent] called Head, and based on call the agent believed there was something to this," Assistant U.S. Attorney Ellen Endrizzi said.

Scott detailed how the alleged scheme worked, starting in January 2004 and ending in November 2006, when investigators completed search warrants and froze the companies' activities.

The defendants reached out to people on the brink of foreclosure, offering them the chance to keep their homes and pay rent to the defendants while having their credit repaired.

Those who agreed were presented with a hefty pile of paperwork that included blank spaces that were filled in later, giving a "straw buyer" title to their homes.

The homeowners paid rent to one of Head's property management firms. The straw buyers paid the mortgage.

Then, Head and the co-conspirators refinanced the homes - often with inflated appraisals - and pocketed tens of thousands of dollars in equity at a time, prosecutors said.

After about a year passed, the victims "were left without homes, equity or repaired credit," the indictment says.

Endrizzi said FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents were in the sad position of breaking the news to victimized homeowners that their homes were no longer theirs.

Drew Parenti, special agent in charge of the FBI's Sacramento field office, said the defendants "duped innocent homeowners."

"It's unbelievable," Parenti said. "This is bad - you're almost destroying someone's life."

Prosecutors would not name the victims represented by the indictments.

Kevin Carlin, a New Jersey attorney who has spoken with about 70 victims of Head's alleged fraud, said the scam targeted elderly and disabled people facing financial strain after job loss and illness.

"I trust that some people will be leaping for joy today," Carlin said. "Even if they lost title to their house, Mr. Head may be required to pay for it with his liberty."

Carlin said one of Head's former employees testified in a deposition that Head took an entire office full of workers to Hawaii.

Endrizzi said agents seized Head's Mercedes convertible, $385,000 in cash, 50,000 shares of stock and exotic motorcycles. She said Head faces about 30 civil lawsuits filed from Hawaii to New Jersey.

Head was arrested in Orange County, Calif., on Friday and is being held in Santa Ana. He is to be brought to Sacramento's jail this week, Scott said.

Head, reached by e-mail in February, denied wrongdoing.

"The FBI/IRS has made no progress on this case at all. It's been over 2 years without a single charge...," he wrote.

Search warrant documents obtained by The Sacramento Bee listed 256 victims - more than twice those noted in the indictments - from Hawaii to Maine.

Endrizzi said prosecutors will be preparing cases based on many of those victims' cases in other federal districts.

Stop Foreclosure On Your Home NOW! By Robert Paisola

What is Foreclosure?

When homeowners fall behind on mortgage payments, a foreclosure may occur. A foreclosure is a process in which a financial institution repossesses or sells a piece of property because of a loan default. Mortgage lenders usually consider a mortgage to be in default when payments haven't been made in three months. When a mortgage loan is in default, the mortgage lender can start the foreclosure proceedings on the property.

There are basically two types of foreclosures: judicial foreclosure and non-judicial foreclosure. About a third of the states in the nation use judicial foreclosure. This type of foreclosure involves issuing a lawsuit against the homeowner. If the homeowner does not respond to the lawsuit, the mortgage lender wins the case and the home is put up for sale in an auction. A court official presides over this auction and sells the seized house to the highest bidder. The mortgage lender also puts in a bid during the auction. This bid amount can go up to the amount owed on the home loan. If no bidder beats the mortgage lender's bid, the mortgage lender gets the title to the home. If the bidding goes higher than this bid amount, then the winning bidder is issued the deed to the house.

A non-judicial foreclosure is a foreclosure that does not involve a lawsuit. The mortgage lender issues the homeowner a notice of default and a notice of its intent to sell the homeowner's property. The homeowner has a chance to stop the sale by paying the default amount owed or by coming to an agreement with the mortgage lender. This agreement may include setting up a repayment plan and being allowed the option of delayed payments for a specified amount of time. The homeowner can also stop foreclosure by filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If the homeowner fails to stop the foreclosure, the house is auctioned off in the same manner as a judicial foreclosure.

A foreclosure can also occur without a sale. In a strict foreclosure, the title of the house goes directly back to the mortgage lender without the need to go through an auction.

Once the mortgage lender has the title to the house, it can sell the house through a real estate agent. Proceeds from the sale of the house would go towards paying off the default amount of the former homeowner's mortgage loan. However, if the proceeds of the sale are not enough to cover the owed amount, a deficiency judgment is issued to the former homeowner. For example, if a home sells for $80,000 and the balance on the mortgage loan was $100,000, the former homeowner is still liable for the $20,000 difference. Deficiency judgments, as well as the foreclosure itself, could do severe damage to the homeowner's credit.

In other words, a homeowner will lose his home if it is foreclosed on by the lender.

How do you stop foreclosure?

Our company specializes in resolutions of mortgage delinquencies or home foreclosure claims on behalf of you, the homeowner. We perform a detailed financial analysis and work with you to determine your best alternatives. We review your lenders loss mitigation policies and your state's foreclosure law to make sure that we give you the best service within the context of your situation. By working with you and your lender we can tailor a resolution to meet your specific criteria and financial circumstance. We do all of this quickly and effectively because we have been doing this for 21 years and have thousands of satisfied customers.

How long do I have to act?

Time is of the essence when you are behind on house payments. Time is definitely not your friend in this situation. Each day that passes makes it that much harder to get an agreement worked out with your lender that you can live with. The home foreclosure process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months, depending on your state law and the method of foreclosure your lender chooses to use. We have encountered many homeowners who did not even know that they had already lost their house!

What is foreclosure? Common misspellings include: forecloser, forcloser,forclosure.

Home foreclosure is a process by which a lender regains a property which they have financed. Typically, this is because the borrower or homeowner is behind on house payments and is unable to catch up, often due to circumstances outside of his or her control. When the lender forecloses on the homeowner, the homeowner must move out of the house, therefore, losing all possession of the property and jeopardizing any possible equity that the homeowner may have in the home. There is a legal time frame, which varies from state to state, which determines how long the foreclosure process can take.

Stop Foreclosure with Loss Mitigation Programs

Loss mitigation programs were established by the federal government and the mortgage industry in order to stop home foreclosures. They help foreclosure victims in default on their mortgages to find alternatives to home foreclosure. Every homeowner's situation is unique and each lender has their own policies regarding the use of these programs to stop foreclosure. Our extensive experience and solid working relationships with mortgage lenders allows us help you avoid the common pitfalls that many homeowners encounter while trying to work things out directly with their lender. After performing a thorough assessment of your personal finances and analyzing your lender's loss mitigation policies our professional loss mitigators will negotiate with your lender to get you the best possible solution to your home foreclosure problem. We can help you save your home and credit history through a variety of loss mitigation options:


If you have incurred a short term financial hardship and your loan is two or more months past due, your loss mitigation specialist will also consider submitting a request for a payment plan to your lender for approval. Only after reviewing your financial situation will this option be considered. All clients must be able to show that they can afford this plan in order to be eligible.

(FHA loans only)(Type I and II)

If you have incurred a short term financial hardship and your loan is 90 days to 365 days past due, the loss mitigation specialist will also consider submitting a request for a special forbearance. A special forbearance is designed to provide you with more relief than is possible with a regular repayment plan. Typical approval can result in spreading the repayment over 12 to 18 months. Type II - can be utilized in an unemployment situation whereby the promise of future employment is present. We have done VA loans that resulted 27-month repayment plans.


If you have incurred a long term financial hardship, our office can assist you in supplying the appropriate information to lender to take the appropriate measures to modify the term(s) of your mortgage. This could lower the interest rate and/or extend the term of the loan resulting in lower payments. There are costs and fees associated with a modification that you will be responsible for. All property taxes must be current or you must be participating in an approved payment plan with your taxing authority to be eligible for a modification. Any additional liens or mortgagees must agree to be subordinate to the first mortgage. All requests are subject to your lender's approval.


A refunding is when the VA buys your loan from the lender. Refunding may give VA the flexibility to consider options to help you save your home that your current lender either could not or would not consider. When the VA refunds a loan under 38 U.S.C. 36.4318, the delinquency is added to the principal balance and the loan is re-amortized. Your new loan will be non-transferable without prior approval from the Secretary. If your interest rate was lowered and an assumption is approved, the interest rate will be adjusted back to the previous rate

(FHA mortgages only) (Some Freddie Mac Investor loans)

The loss mitigation specialist may assist in requesting a partial claim if you qualify. You may be eligible if your loan is 120 to 365 days past due. A partial claim results in placing your past due payments into a subordinate mortgage (2nd mortgage) between you and the Secretary of Housing Urban Development. The partial claim note will require you to start making payments when you pay off the first mortgage. There is no interest. The partial claim can be for no more than 12 months of past due payments.

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Live from First Business Morning News, Mortgage Brokers Gone Wild, Posted by Robert Paisola

"Refi-Bust: Mortgage Brokers Gone Wild" ex-mortgage broker David Lawrence Mortgage Fraud, investigations, David Lawrence, First Business Morning News

Rick Koerber and Franklin Squires Refuse to Be Interviewed LIVE by Fox News in New York, Robert Paisola Reports

To Our Readers Around the World,

Today, we received a call from a Private Investigator named Steve Maxfield. Steve is a person who has gone to battle in the past and is currently in litigation with Rick Koerber due to losses that his clients have faced.

We are very sympathetic to the victims of Rick Koerber, and this is why we are stepping up to the plate to continue to help you.

As many of you are aware, Fox News in New York City is doing a story on C. Rick Koerber and Franklin Squires. Until today, we were not aware of Steve Maxfields involvement with Franklin Squires.

As a result of the story that appeared in the Salt Lake City Weekly, as well as information on this and many other forums around the world, including The National Media is swarming to see the details of this story.

So, during our conversations with Mr. Maxfield, we are told that the only way to get Rick Koerber on the phone is to call his attorney. So that is what we did. We called an attorney in Utah named Blake T. Ostler. His office number is 801-575-5000 and his cell phone is 801-573-9756.

During the call we stated that we wanted to get Koerber and Gabe Joseph in line for the New York shoot, This attorney, who is supposed to represent Koerber was a complete ASS. He stated that there would be no interview with Koerber on Fox and hung up. Well, thank God you have us to spread your voice!

We relayed this to FOX and they are going to run the story without Koerbers input.

To this, we ask the Free Capitalist, "What in the hell do you have to hide?" Well, we are going to start to post all of the documents that we have received as a result of the investigation by Steve Maxfield.

Here is an interesting email that was just sent to us by a Koerber supporter that we have agreed to not name, as he is providing us with a plethora of information, and in in Koerbers Circle:

Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 13:34:29 -0400
Subject: Are you available to help?

March 25, 2008

I am working on a project today of very high importance. I am hoping
you'd be interested in helping make this an enormous success. Here's
what's going on.

Tonight at 7pm is when Republicans and Democrats in Utah will be holding
caucus meetings where delegates are elected in local precincts to attend
the County and State conventions. I am trying to get an extremely large
number of 'freedom and prosperity' minded individuals to

1) attend their caucus meeting and

2) get elected as a *State* delegate.

I cannot explain how important these positions are and sadly, many
Utahans just take local government for granted.

This is where real people and real politics meet. This is a simple yet
vital way to contribute to our community and to advance the agenda of
freedom and prosperity.

It is NOT difficult to do this, the hardest part is to get over the
anxiety of having not done it before. Here is how it works.

1. You identify the voting precinct where you live and where your caucus
will meet - look here.

For Utah County Caucuses.

For Salt Lake County Caucuses.

For other counties check with your County Clerk.

2. Work for the rest of the day today to bring as many friends and
supports as possible (even if its just family and friends in the
neighborhood) who live in the same precinct who will VOTE for you.
Remember you are RUNNING FOR OFFICE as a state delegate.

3. Prepare a short 2 to 3 minutes 'persuasive speech' to deliver at the
caucus meeting. The speech should be a summary of your views -
specifically related to the US Constitution, Freedom, Limited
Government, Prosperity etc.

4. Start right now calling everyone you know in your neighborhood,
inviting them to come.

5. Arrive at the caucus meeting early - say at least 6:30p.

6. When the time comes have someone nominate you (this should be
arranged in advance so the opportunity is not missed, generally you are
not allowed to nominate yourself).

7. Give your speech, when recognized, stand up and be calm, deliver your
message and be confident that by doing so you will get enough votes to
become a state DELEGATE.

8. *Email me* and let me know what happened and tell me briefly about
your success.

So, that's it. It is NOT difficult. BUT this is not something most
people do.

THIS IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT than just casting a ballot this November.
Like minded people have an opportunity to REALLY AFFECT their government
and their community.

We have an AMAZING opportunity and its TONIGHT!

*Will you help?* If you are willing to help, here is what I'm asking for.

1. Will you run as a delegate and do steps 1-8 above? (The only excuse
for not doing so is if there is someone else in your precinct who you
support as like minded and very capable).
2. Will you recruit others to come to your precinct meeting and vote for
you or the person you support?
3. Will you help me spread the word and get friends and like minded
associates in other PRECINCTS to do the same. This means using email,
making telephone calls and MAKING THIS A PRIORITY right now!
4. Will you keep me informed via email so I can track our progress and
in turn keep you informed.

Let's make a HUGE difference. Let's do something that matters.

Let me know if 'YOU'RE IN' by emailing me back and confirming your
intentions tonight.

I look forward to hearing back from you immediately.


C. Rick Koerber
Free Capitalist Project

So as you can see, C. Rick Koerber, the CEO and FOUNDER of Free Capitalist Project / Free Capitalist Foundation and Free Capitalist Enterprises, LLC is attempting to use the legislative system to hide the wrongs of the money that he stole. Hell, lets just have all of my followers run as delegates! I will even tell them what to say "Prepare a short 2 to 3 minutes 'persuasive speech' to deliver at the caucus meeting. The speech should be a summary of your views -specifically related to the US Constitution, Freedom, Limited Government, Prosperity etc" Drink the Cool Aid My Sheep!

We also just received information that Rick Koerber is re branding "Prosperity Quest" as the new Franklin Squires.

As many of you know, our servers are co-located around the world, including here in Mexico and all over in 21 different countries, so take this post and feel free to repost this around the world.

Finally, we want to again thank the many people who have provided us the information and data to essentially close Franklin Squires. Look at the photos at .... Oh, we mean "scale back" LOL

So, keep sending the information to and if you are a member of the media, please respond to and one of our representatives will contact you shortly.

Oh, and do our readers really believe that the message from the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that was read from the pulpit around the United States was a mere coincidence? Be real people, and as Rick Koerber himself says...

Turn on your brain, and look at the facts!

From Mexico with Love,

Robert Paisola
The Western Capital Foundation

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Los Angeles: Foreclosure Tent Cities Forming - By Robert Paisola

Where do you go if you have no money and you lost your house to foreclosure? How about a tent city! Such are springing up on LA's outer rim, and their numbers are growing, as seen in this BBC tv report. The American Dream, imploded.

60,000 Homes Foreclosed in California-- Just Last Month

If you are in a position like this, please see

Robert Paisola
Western Capital

Monday, March 17, 2008

All Hell Breaks Loose in The Miami Real Estate Market, by Robert Paisola

The LDS Church Responds Worldwide in Light of Franklin Squires Fraud, By Robert Paisola

Dear Mr. Robert Paisola

In my Church on Sunday, March 16, the following was read. My first thoughts when I heard it was that word of Franklin Squires had reached LDS headquarters. A link to the Deseret News article has more details:,5143,695261200,00.html

In the letter, the First Presidency says that “reports of fraud schemes and unwise investments prompt us to again counsel members with respect to prudence in managing one’s financial affairs.” They also stated that they are “concerned that there are those who use relationships of trust to promote risky or even fraudulent investment and business schemes.”

“We are concerned that some church members ignore the oft-repeated direction to prepare and live within a budget, avoid consumer debt, and to save against a time of need.”
“Consideration should also be given to investing wisely with responsible and established financial institutions. We are also concerned that there are those who use relationships of trust to promote risky or even fraudulent investment and business schemes.”

“While all investments carry an element of risk, that risk can be managed by following sound and proven financial principles: first, avoid unnecessary debt, especially consumer debt; second, before investing, seek advice from a qualified and licensed financial advisor; and third, be wise.”

This is a full copy of the Article including the First Presidency Message from NBC

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has sent a letter to its congregations, urging members to be wary of fraud.

In the letter being read in churches, the First Presidency says "reports of fraud schemes and unwise investments prompt us to again counsel members with respect to prudence in managing one's financial affairs."

"We are concerned that some church members ignore the oft-repeated direction to prepare and live within a budget, avoid consumer debt, and to save against a time of need," the statement reads.

"Consideration should also be given to investing wisely with responsible and established financial institutions. We are also concerned that there are those who use relationships of trust to promote risky or even fraudulent investment and business schemes."

The LDS Church did not elaborate beyond the First Presidency's statement, but state authorities who investigate financial crimes hope Utahns will "heed the message."

"I hope bishops have read them. It is real critical that they are being read," said Francine Giani, the executive director of the Utah Department of Commerce. "I hope people are listening."

Story continues below
Here in Utah, authorities said a majority of the fraud cases they encounter involve some level of "affinity fraud," which is an investment scam that preys upon members of a specific group — such as a religious or ethnic community.

"It is very prevalent," said Charlene Barlow, the Utah attorney general's section chief over financial crimes. "I have victims that sit here and they say, 'I can't believe I was so stupid. But you know, he was a church member. He was in my ward. He was my bishop.' So they check their skepticism at the door."

Affinity fraud is not limited to the LDS Church, but, obviously, many of the cases here are LDS-centric because it is the dominant faith.

"People that are going to perpetrate a fraud on a group of people, the issue of trust is important," Giani said. "That trust can come from a religious affinity."

Barlow said anecdotally, they find LDS connections do factor into a fraud scheme.

"You'll walk into their office and they'll have their Gospel Doctrine manual laid out there because they're preparing their lesson for Sunday," she said. "I don't know that all of the people are consciously trading on their church affiliation. I've often thought the first person a con man cons is himself."

Recently, the Utah Attorney General's Office filed fraud charges against an Ogden businessman accused of bilking hundreds of investors out of more than $140 million. State securities investigators have alleged that Val Southwick, 62, emphasized his LDS membership while soliciting investors in what prosecutors call a massive Ponzi scheme. Southwick is scheduled to be arraigned March 24.

Barlow said the weight of the LDS Church's statement may be lost on those perpetuating schemes, because they believe the "investment opportunity" will work this time.

"They won't think it applies to them because they're aren't doing it," she said. "They think, 'Yes, you should go after these bad guys, but I'm not one of them."'

Giani hopes those looking to put their money in someone's investment will listen and do their homework, making sure people are licensed and have clean records. Such information can be found by visiting the state's Web site at

"As a member of the faith, it is always a tragedy to me to uncover many of the details (of a fraud scheme). Frankly, I am much less tolerant of those kinds of situations, because technically we should know better," Giani said.

In its statement, the First Presidency urged its members to know the risks of investing.

"While all investments carry an element of risk, that risk can be managed by following sound and proven financial principles: first, avoid unnecessary debt, especially consumer debt; second, before investing, seek advice from a qualified and licensed financial advisor; and third, be wise."

Comments from NBC Television Viewers:

Reader comments: Leaders warn LDS against money scams

Wow | 12:09 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
What Moron is still falling for these scams?

Kudos to the first presidency though, for making this statement.
Anonymous | 1:17 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Why are we so vulnerable to fraud? It's a well known fact that many Utahns live beyond their means. Both parents work so they can lavish their children with all the called necessities...of life. Most teens today drive their own cars and have their own cell phones,all paid for by mom and dad. Pres. Monson has made the statement that most of us have "a year's supply of debt" instead of a year's supply of food and other necessities. We've lost our common sense and judgment.
I have no sympathy for losers | 2:13 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
The article quotes Charlene Barlow of the Utah Attorney General's office as saying, "I have victims that sit here and they say, 'I can't believe I was so stupid. But you know, he was a church member. He was in my ward. He was my bishop.' So they check their skepticism at the door."

Anyone who says this is stupid and I feel no level of sympathy for them. I'm as likely as the next person to be the victim of fraud but it won't be because I put aside my common sense and thought that a Church member, Ward member or Bishop couldn't commit fraud when there are members who commit rape, murder, robbery and all sort of crimes include fraud and child molestation.

Even Apostles have been excommunicated from the Church for committing egregious sins. Far to many people see those in the Church differently than they would see someone else and its wrong. This is why Utah's fraud rate is higher than a lot of other places and this has a correlation to idiots in the Church committing fraud and being dumb enough to allow another mother to defraud them. Shame on all of you morons.

Moron | 2:15 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Hate to say it but lots of people are falling for them. I also hate to say a lot of these multi-level marketing schemes masquerading as real businesses. I am not saying all MLM are bad, just that the model is used by many in a bad way. It's not secret that Utah is the capital of MLM and for the most part the claims of the products is pure hogwash, some of it is probably real hogwash.

SJ Bobkins | 2:17 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Many people who are victimized, made their choice to invest not on the basis of an unrealistic return but because they trusted their church friend, church leader, family member, and went along with whatever that person said.
I am LDS and was in a ward where one very outgoing and seemingly successful man persuaded enough people to invest in his company to gather $75 million dollars for himself. Eventually he was caught but not before destroying the trust of many others. Invest because it's a good investment not because you know that the person is an active member of his church and couldn't possibly be a crook. There are crooks in every church, every neighborhood and they prey on those they know and those who trust them. If your a crook where do you go to find suckers? Right at home

Trek | 2:46 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
You'd be surprised how deceiving they can be. After experiencing being the victim of identity theft, I've opened my eyes to these warning signs. NEVER, no matter what, give out personal information. That's the first step in stealing information/money out of your pockets. Do your homework how you can prevent being the victim to their schemes. You'll be glad you did because it affected nearly every one of us!

Timj | 5:15 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I wonder if there's a correlation between those who believe what they hear on talk radio and those who get scammed.
In any case, far too much gullibility going on. Too much trust and not enough thinking.

Jon | 5:17 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I think the bottom line is greed.

We know gambling is wrong because it's trying to get something for nothing. But we just don't get that the latest great scheme is akin to gambling. We are still trying to get something for close to nothing. I just don't understand why people think they can trust other members with their money. I have seen this happen soooo many times over the years and not just in the United States. I have lived by the mantra to NEVER get into business with family or members of the church. Nothing but trouble and bitterness awaits you. It has served me well while I have seen some good friends and family burned.

NY | 5:20 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Trading on religion is a very common scam and it amazes me that so many fall for it (I remember seeing "Christian" used car dealers when I lived in SC). It seemed to be especially rampant when I lived in FL. All it took was a slick talking huckster to join one of the local mega churches and it was off to the races. First of all, anyone who would use their faith to promote their business in any way should be very ashamed. Run the other way, this is a powerful sign that something is wrong -- regardless of the level of their church service/calling. I applaud the first presidency for making this statement, but I have always wondered why they have never warned about the snake oil/pyramid schemes that flow out of Utah Valley and target the world's poor. Few scams are so cruel and do so much damage.

GK from England | 5:28 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Despite the fact that my wife and I are debt free and very careful with our money, (we pay for everything with either a debit card or cash) I can see how easy it is for individuals, couples and families to get into debt without trying too hard. It seems here in the UK and from what I have read concerning the US economy, prices and bills e.g petrol (gas) utility bills, grocery costs, rates, childcare fees, mortgage or rental payments etc etc are continuing to increase at an alarming rate but wages are not keeping up with inflation. The counsel from the First Presidency to avoid fraudulent scams and keep out of debt is wise but concerning the subject of debt, they also need to understand that many people are trying to live within their means and avoid debt but find it soooo difficult to afford just the basics in life i.e. food and gas, and many of these people work hard and pay their taxes.

Formermormer | 5:40 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Great article,and all the good sense elements a person of any or no faith needs to protect themselves from fraud are there except,perhaps,one:

The thing that ultimately makes us vulnerable is
GREED. Miraculous returns appeal to that element of human nature,but common sense should tell us it likely isn't so. The green eyed monster,GREED rears its head,and rationality goes by the wayside.
You're primed to be a victim.

It's simple enough to state,but besides keeeping your skepticism about these 'special deals,just for us',your best insurance is to live within your means so you don't find yourself needy of these great opportunities. If your back isn't already up against the wall,you're not so likely to move forward with something you know in your heart doesn't make sense. Take it from one who knows.
mormon weakness | 6:22 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
One of the most blatant weakness of Mormons (especially Mormons in high mormon density areas) is that they believe that financial prosperity, even wealth, is necessary to both keep up with their fellow worshipers and to show that they too are "blessed". Thus they fall for get rich quick scams, pyramid schemes, and the likes. We have lost our financial modesty as a people. We think that the world drives 40,000 dollar cars so must we. We don't achieve wealth through hard work and long term education and investment any more. In a way we have betrayed many of those traits so perfectly exemplified by our forbearers. What happened to fix it up, make it do or do without? We should be known as the frugal, hardworking savers not the bottomless materialistic appetite crew! Our homes are too big, our cars are too expensive, and we work less and save even less than that....pride goeth before the fall!

Re Anonymous | 6:33 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
"It is a well known fact that many Utahns live beyond their means" Wow, I guess growing up my Dad should have known that fact. My senior year of high school I asked him for help with getting a car and he just laughed and told me to get a job.

Money scams are prevelant here in the state because those involved have such easy connections. They have their ward directory in one hand and their stake directory in the other. That is like 300 potentional clients or more. Whenever anyone in my ward approaches me with something relating to a new type of investment or new business I listenly kindley but tell them to beat it. Hopefully this statement by the 1st presidency will teach members of the church to not be so foolish in their decisions.
joe | 7:05 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I believe that many church members get others into their investments that are often very risky without disclosing that risk. I always live by the rule that the closer the person is to me, the more overboard I go in disclosing every conceivable flaw or risk (way beyond law to disclose). I never want to have someone close in my ward or my family think I duped them.

dave | 7:07 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008

Check yourself | 7:12 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
If you are involved in the "seminar" industry, call centers, most MLM, companies who use your credit, then you more than likely are in this group or work for one that preys on stupidity. If the success of your product or service is around 1 per 1,000 and requires people to front anything for "coaching" or "training" on how to be successful, then you need to check yourself and quit your job.
Don't be a part of it.

joe | 7:18 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
For some reason, too many Utahns have a blatant disregard for the law. It frustrates the heck out of me! Here we believe in being Honest in all our dealings, but we tolerate dishonesty as if it is not dishonesty!

1. Do you finish your basement without permits. if you do you are dishonest.

2. Do you allow your children to skate by on drivers license tests without driving the whole 40 hours?

3. Do you allow your children to drive after their license with other teens

4. Do you knowingly violate zoning laws.

5. Do you blatantly speed

6. Do you stretch the truth on credit applications (Utah has been in the top 5 fraud states for as long as they have kept records)

Stop being Dishonest!

Lisa | 7:19 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Here is one of the latest SCAMS!

Investors fraudulently inflate your bank account temporarily to allow you to qualify for a 2-4 Million dollar insurance policy. They then attempt to sell that to a hedge fund and give you 100K.

That is FRAUD People! Also, having some hedge fund preferring that you are dead isn't comforting either.
Robert | 7:25 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Perhaps we are going too far, but my wife and I make it a practice to not do business with ward or stake members. We have found that, over the years, when we do business with people we know in the church, more often than not they tend to take our business for granted. Also, when we are not happy with their work or services, we don't have to see them in church the next Sunday. We prefer to just do business on the basis of reputation without knowing the religious affiliation of those who we give business to. As I said, that may be going too far, but we are happier this way.
Anonymous | 7:31 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008

Using your membership of the church to get gain is akin to the priestcrafts in the Book of Mormon.

Mike Leach | 7:34 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Thanks to all. I never thought I'd see the day when so many Mormons would speakout on this particular issue.

Mahonri | 7:47 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
About time more comes from the Leadership of Utah, the Fraud Capitol of the Country.(Per the FBI)

Anonymous | 8:06 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Just remember the Brigham Young quote that relates to riches. Paraphrasing it he said that Members will get so rich and lead themselves to hell. Money is good if used wisely, but if not it is the root to all evil. Members need to be in the world but not of the world. I know so many millionaires that shop at dollar stores and live way below their means. The whole point is anything we get to easily we esteem to lightly. Thats why get rich quick schemes make ungrateful animals out of us and we continue to feed off of greed. Wow! Just dont use the religion to do your business, remember the people doing business in the temple? Jesus wasnt so pleased with them and he threw over the tables. Dont make sacred people and places unholy!

Idaho reader | 8:13 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Mahonri..."About time"? What do you mean? The leadership of the church has given the same sound advice for years and years. You can say "About time" when we dummies actually start to heed their warning and follow their counsel!

Roscoe | 8:16 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Since this seems to be a recurring problems with members of the church, maybe the church could design a ring to remind members that thrift is a virtue. Let's call it the "SIR" or "Spend It Right" ring.

Freeman | 8:18 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
At the root of the problem of excessive gullibility by members of the Church is the belief held by most that they can make decision s based on feelings. The notion that information can be obtained or proper decisions made as result of feelings is a sure fire recipe for disaster.

To mormon weakness and Mahonri | 8:23 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Recognizing you two haven't gotten out much, if you think people here live beyond their means, go to California or New Jersey. Further, the Church leadership has been saying the same thing for years so Mahonri's "about time" comment has no basis. Regarding the AG's comment, I would be surprised if many Bishops are defrauding their flock. High Priest Group Leaders yes, but when I was a bishop it was laid down in no uncertain terms that there would be no investment dealings with members of the congregation. most of the problems I've seen in my law practice have been with "brokers" moving in from California and the East Coast to prey on our people who are too trusting of other's motives and the schemes here are nothing compared to what I encountered in California and Virginia while working for the gov't there.
McKay | 8:24 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
When the deal goes bad or is late then it's suddenly called fraud? If you built a spec house and it is not selling, that is not called fraud. The market changed. If you did a risky deal then stop trying to blame other people and call it fraud. There is a lot of fraud out there, but everyone who is losing money didn't get scammed!!
Jed | 8:31 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Dont' you see the hypocrisy in your comments? "About time the leadership of the Church told us to beware of fraud!"

Did you have to wait around for the leadership of the Church to know you should beware of fraud?

This is EXACTLY the "I can't think for myself" mentality that makes the Mormon people so gullible in the first place! You trust only that which comes from Church leaders!

California LDS Transplant | 8:33 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I appreciate the first presdiency making a statement on this subject. It is embarrasing as a member of the Church to hear people losing their financial lives becuase of fraud by people within our Church who should no better. Those perpetrating fraud also leave a bad mark on those LDS members who are licensed and ethical to offer financial or real estate services.
When we lived in California and my father was looking for a new job, we were told time and time again by LDS men who were in positions of authority in their professions that they preferred not to do business with other members of the Church. The several ones making the comments had all moved to California from Utah (several from Utah County) and had seen too many examples of LDS members taking advantage of one another when working together.
So, once and for all, let's weed out the MLM'ers, politely decline their invitations, as well as anyone offering you the chance to make lots of money without working.
Let's have the state of Utah prosecute these people to the fullest, and have their memberships taken away. Too many times these people find other victims.
Brandon | 8:40 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Part of the problem is the church's HUGE emphasis on having kids and having the women stay home to raise them. Unless you're making over 75k that's just not possible these days with housing/gas prices etc...Many members are trying to make a quick buck so that their wives can stay home and raise the kids, we don't live in the 50's and 60's anymore, the church needs to come out and say that if the women has to work it's not the end of the world.
AINO | 8:46 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I agree with Robert. When it comes to working with other church members...AINO: Always Inspire, Never Offend. So, we don't do business with each other.
Ernest T. Bass | 8:47 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
The culture breeds dupes.
Rita | 8:48 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
It is sad that so many mormons are victims of scams and so often the perpetrators are church members and neighbors. What makes the mormons so vulnerable is their willingness to accept things at face value without question. Too much of this comes from church learning.
Formermormer | 8:50 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
While this problem is pandemic in Utah,church members have nothing like a monopoly on it. The credit card mentality is espoused and promoted by every manner of business,and even our federal government,so goes from top to bottom. Perhaps its not too over simplified to say that we as an entire society need to readjust our priorities and move back to a sound footing fiscally. As it stands,this nation is a house of cards and the winds are rising. Are temporal riches today worth the impoverishment that must inevitably follow the dedicated pursuit of Mammon?
To Brandon | 8:51 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Children are a blessing. Having said that; the emphasis is do what you can to have the mother stay home. If you can't by that I mean that it is necessary to have the mother in the work force then that is what you do. They emphasise not to have the mother work outside the home to pay for the boat, the fancy cars, the luxury vacations. In other words spend within your means. That is just common sense.
Rathje | 8:56 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
This stuff doesn't happen because Mormons are inherently more gullible than other Americans. It happens because they've got a ready-made social network - the ward, the stake, etc. It's easier for scams to flourish among networks of personal relations, than among people who don't know each other. That simple.
Amen to Monson | 9:02 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I am also a CA transplant. I moved hear for the good things and am not one who wants to change Utah. But, there are so many people that live hear that would not touch a drop of coffee, miss a sunday meeting, and would tell you about each time they go to the temple, and then, steal you blind. We live in an area of Highland that has such large homes. Fancy cars, nice things placed on the roofs of homes, motorized toys in the 5 car garage. My wife an ai have been ridiculed because we don't have a gigantic house, drive cars that are paid for, and drink a lot of Pepsi, and miss an occasional meeting. and oh yes, don't tell people how many times we go to the temple. We are a stupid people, we are a dishontest people, and uour leaders have been telling us this for years. Gon are the days of thrift, hard work, prudence. Shame on those members of the church who are living a lie.
What the...? | 9:05 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
What do suppose is deep in Mormon culture that makes them so susceptible to fraud?
JS | 9:10 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
To Brandon: My family of five lives very modestly on less than 60K. We drive old but reliable cars, live in a 1600 sq ft house, live debt-free and cable-TV free, raise a big garden and are VERY happy. I personally know of many families living less than 40K (keeping Mom at home) and are doing well. I believe the late Larry Burkett called it defensive spending - if you don't have a great offense (income), keep a good defense on the field (low expenses).

Living under 75K is more than doable. If there is a will there is a way.
Utah=Fraud Capital | 9:15 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Utah is the fraud capital of the world, and it's because all the scammers know the LDS are suckers. They're far too trusting, and all these scammeers need to do is say they have a strong testimony and act like they're good Mormons. Once they do that, then others fall sucker to their scam.

Sure, I'd love to be a millionaire, but I'm not dumb enough to think all I have to do is sign up 20 of my friends and family, and then make sure they all sign up 20 of their friends and family.

Then, there is the forex market - just give us a few thousand and you'll make 10x that in just a few days in the hugely volatile and risky business of the forex market. "Be you're own island"..yeah, right...if you believe that, your island will be at the homeless shelter because you lost everything trying to trade in a market where only the truly smart and truly financially sound should play.
Oh Please | 9:15 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
"Utah-phrenia" is the problem. A combination of being semi-educated and brainwashed by conservative talk radio. This makes Utahns totally vulnerable to miraculous juice and herbs instead of real medicine. They stick their kids into the local "Freedom Academy" where the history class consists of Cleon Skousen's books. And everything from the "dream mine" to your home teacher's latest revelation on how to get rich by morning, just give me your life savings. Utah's problem is stupidity.
M.M. | 9:15 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Many years ago, I tried to warn people of a definite scam.
Being a financial advisor, I thought it was my duty.

Guess what happened?
I was sued for defamation, and to fight the charges would have taken more of my resources than I was willing to give at that time.

The perpertrator had VERY SUBSTANTIAL church connections, which he exploited to the limit. Amazingly, he is still at it!
People are still getting ripped off, SO BEWARE!
Not the church's fault | 9:22 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
To Brandon,

I am so appalled with you saying you have to make over 75k to have a parent stay home and that it is the LDS church's fault because of their emphasis on this. This is not true. You can stay home for a whole lot less and be fine. The problem isn't the church telling women to stay at home, it is the world telling people they need more. People think they need a large home, newer cars, flat screen tvs and video game consoles. If you truly look at need vs want you would see it is possible to stay at home and raise a family on way less than 75k. People tend to have problems when they can't clearly define a need from a want. They also have problems when they keep putting wants they think are needs on credit. It just builds up. None of this has to do with the church emphasis on women staying home. You can't blame the church because people listen to the world telling them what their needs really are.
Same boat as JS | 9:25 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
My family of 6 lives in about the same circumstances.

It's amazing what you can do if you stay out of debt as much as possible.
Clueless Brandon | 9:26 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
My wife stays at home, I have 3 kids, I make only 40K, we have no debt except our house payment. We do just fine, in fact i can sleep at night knowing i don't owe anybody money. I'd write more, but I got a tee time to play golf. Skiing was a blast yesterday too. Life is great. Rich people have stress. I don't.
Timj | 9:26 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
My wife and I want kids, don't already own a house, and want my wife to be able to stay at home once we get kids.
With a good college education, that used to be no problem. Now, with how expensive houses and health insurance are, I need to go to graduate school just so we can afford to have kids and be a single-income household. And we we live a thrifty life, and are willing to continue like that (no need for boats, SUVs, a large home, etc.)
It's pretty sad, really.
Amen! | 9:27 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
To you all saying "the church teaches this, the church teaches that; that is why all Mormons are so dumb," give it a rest. Simply because some LDS people are idiots, doesn't automatically qualify the rest of us as idiots. The majority of us do not need to be TOLD to do something that is sensible or to avoid doing something unwise.

Mormon Weakness- I personally have never known a single LDS person who TRULY believes that the possession of many material goods signifies that they are more "blessed". If it is so, these people do not know their doctrine! This is not the "blatant weakness" of an entire people as you claim. If it is true, it is the weakness of a few. They are obviously off track. Need we look to them for an example?

Brandon, I have not received one ounce of teaching that has said that under all circumstances, you must have children and stay home. If it is financially possible, do it. It's been proven to be the best situation for children, so why not? But if you simply cannot make ends meet, then the family is advised to do what it must do.
WM | 9:29 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I think the important thing to point out here is that ALL investments (and any business other opportunity for that matter) should be researched fully before putting any money in to it. Also, MLM's get a bad rap. I know plenty of people, my spouse included, who make a very nice living through a reputable and respectable MLM company. If you research and do your due diligence and find that it's not for you, that's fine. But that doesn't mean it's not for someone else.
Timj | 9:37 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
To all of you who are doing just fine raising a large famliy on one small income, I have an honest question.
How in the world did you get enough money together for a down-payment on a house while paying rent and providing health care, food, clothing, etc. for your family?
And, more importantly, with the current costs of health care and houses, how would you do it in today's world?

his has always bothered me | 9:40 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
"...subject to Kings, Rulers, Presidents, Magistrates - and Snake Oil Salesmen."

Just kidding of course, but the "being subject to" thing has always bothered me for obvious reasons.
Anonymous | 9:42 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Who cares what the LDS Church leaders say about financial matters? Let them speak on spiritual things and leave the financial matters to those with expertise in that area.
Wonder Why? | 9:46 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
You can't imagine why MLM gets a bad rap?

Pretty simple--when a business is BASED on signing up "friends" instead of selling a legitimate product at reasonable prices--that might be your first clue.
Comments continue below
No business for religion | 9:48 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Do NOT do business with church members!! We learned long ago this is an extremely bad practice. Leave your business out of your ward and religion. It will back fire, and when things go wrong you will then have to face your enemy once week. Church is not for finding clients! The Bishop may be your ward leader but he is never and should not ever be your financial adviser.
Ancel Longest | 9:51 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Geez Louise.....your comments make Mormons sound like a bunch of crooks and dumbheads. This is a worldwide problem and the Church leaders are reminding us yet again to be aware of our business dealings and personal finance. We are seeing and hearing more and more each day about the doom and gloom of our country's economy. We are given each day to reflect on our problems and work on the solution. I for one have some difficult decisions but I have faith that if I live long enough most of them will be solved. Enjoy a nice day.....
JMT | 9:55 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Several commenters have suggested MLM as the primary fraud in LDS culture. Twelve years' research suggests that investment fraud warned against in the the First Presidency statement is trivial compared to Utah-based MLM fraud, which leads to losses of BILLIONS of dollars by millions of victims world wide.

The 2006 Utah Legislature exempted MLM from prosecution as pyramid schemes, based on a plethora of deceptions. Even our AG supported the exemption - no surprise since MLMs are his major corporate contributors.

In Utah, there is virtually no consumer protection against the scams causing the greatest losses -from MLMs (measured by loss rate, aggregate losses, and number of victims). The AG and legislature doesn't care because most of the victims are out-of-state.

For extensive research to support these conclusions and the reasons for the highest concentration of MLM fraud among Latter-day Saints, go to the website for the Consumer Awareness Institute at

MLMs are fraudulent because recruitment is dependent on at least 30 typical deceptions, which are identified on the website, along with a do-it-yourself guide for evaluating any MLM or other chain selling scheme.

- Jon M. Taylor, MBA, PhD, Consumer Awareness Institute - and Pyramid Scheme Alert
re:anonymous | 9:56 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Who cares what the church leaders say on financial matters? Probably only the people who know they would obviously be better off by following that advice. Yes, lets ignore perfectly sound logical advice from church leaders and instead PAY to go get the same advice from someone with "expertise". Let me guess what your job is or what you "do".

They are simply reiterating what should be common sense but as we all know it is not as "common" as we would like to think.

It is perfectly appropriate for them to remind church members not to put their financial futures in jeopardy. Their advice is based on spritual principles of avoiding pride and materialism. Duh.
RE:Timj | 9:59 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
You actually are more than ready to have kids: you have a home. If you are debt free, what are you waiting for? I raised my two kids as a single mom making less that 30K and we live just fine. Yes, they don't have ipods, my son worked to get a $500 car, no flat screens, and only one cell phone(mine). But this certainly teaches my kids how to be wise with money, save, and know that we can live within our budget. Some parents want to give their kids everything they dream of because they didn't have plenty when they were kids but as a parent, you can not give everything to a kid. That's a huge mistake.
John Lambert | 9:59 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I was once involved in selling cutco knives. I never made much money at it, infact I am not sure that I even broke even. I hate to admit that there was at least one person I was only able to call by using the ward directory. I still feel the weight of this indiscresion on me.

If people took seriously the ban on using church directories for business purposes we would have fewer scams. It did not help that my managers at Cutco positively told us we should use church directories to contact people.
Mike | 10:00 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I am a practicing member of the LDS church. My own rule of thumb is: if in a business context someone tries to "use" the church to establish his own credibility or trustworthiness, that person deserves neither credit nor trust.
Ernest T. Bass | 10:04 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I've got to agree with a point.
I also agree with several responses.
My wife and I have very little debt, nothing that wasn't needed, but throw in some health problems, not covered by insurance and it is nearly impossible to live on less than $50K.
There are a lot of working mothers who are active LDS. They work due to necessity, not mearly to 'keep up with the Jones'. These families shouldn't be made to feel guilty.
Franz | 10:05 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Many of you seem to think that members of the LDS Church have a monopoly on scams. It seems to me that the financial problems we are having in this country stem from sub-prime loans to people living beyond their means. This is country wide, not just in Utah; in fact Utah's economy is better than the rest of the country. This is not to say that there are no problems and that the recent letter and the many letters before that were not needed. Mormon weakness is right: too many times we (Mormons) equate financial success with spirituality. Orson Scott Card has addressed this problem, saying that when we read about the Nephites (as a group) being prosperous when they were righteous, we think that prosperity (as individuals) equals righteousness. We must be rich in order to be righteous.
TonyL | 10:06 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
To Timj,
If you don't have cash, don't buy it. Eat rice and beans (it actually tastes great-all kinds of ways to make rice and beans differently). Use the debt snowball plan if you are already in debt. And follow Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover," It works whether you make 40K or 400k.---"live like noone else (now), so you can live like noone else later." When you don't owe anyone- you can live on almost nothing. It is true freedom.....
Phil | 10:06 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I agree with the First Presidency that members should be cautious.

However, this can be taken to an extreme.

For example, not all investment advisors with large, established firms have your best interest at heart and have a working strategy.

About three years ago, I was hit up by about 25 local advisors (all from the large firms) who wanted to have access to my clients (CPA firm) to get them to become the advisors' clients. Their objective was to maximize commission and that's all they talked about. In fact, only one of the advisors had a trading strategy. The others had no clue because they don't know the future.

In addition, not all advisors belonging to the small firms (or one-man shops) are bad. Some might have legitimate strategies that work.

Further, just because you lose money on an investment doesn't mean you've been defrauded. If you began investing in the stock market on November 1, 2007 and just followed the Nasdaq 100 trust (your common Nasdaq index fund), with double leveraging (try ProFunds Ultra OTC Fund), you're down 43% and losing more today.

Make sure your advisor is licensed and has a track record. I wish you luck.
John Lambert | 10:09 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I have to agree with Idaho reader. It is easy for people to sit at their computer and spout off about how they will avoid fraud, refuse scams, and so on. The change has to come in our own actions when we turn down things that appeal to our greed.
John Lambert | 10:18 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I have to respond to all those who advocate against doing business with church members. How can we build Zion if we will not even cooperate together? How can your ward be unified if you fear eachother?

I say the answer is investigate, but do not disqualify people based on affinity.

On the issue of housing costs, just hope housing prices keep coming down. Here in Michigan people are still trying to sell houses for more than they sld for in 1999, people have not accepted fully that the bubble has burst.
Buyer Beware | 10:22 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Simply, buyer beware. Research out the investment. Do not do business wholly over the phone. Consult non-biased subject matter experts, do not buy on emotion or get rich quick proposals, or by religion; be smart... Again, do not use "same beliefs" or "same religion" as the cornerstone or foundation for an investments. Remember greed and swaying markets change financial direction (and thinking) My wife and I invest wisely, both in the stock markert and in real estate, and trust me, whew, we are cautious. We live within our means, live modestly, very much so, but at any time, we can retire. Sometimes the "millionare next door," dives an old Aerostar mini-van, stills mows his own lawn with a Craftsman push mower, does not eat out every night, and shops at Sam's Club. We choose to grow our money so we can be independent of the government, and have rainy-day cash. Buyer Beware. Common sense. Choose wisely. Remember the movie "Wall Street?"
Tyler | 10:32 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
So, are they telling us to stop paying tithing? I'm half joking, but you've got people "investing" 10% of their money based on a relationship of religious affinity with extreme promises that the windows of heaven will open and God will pour down for you an overflowing blessing.
MLMs | 10:32 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
generally get a bad rap because they deserve it. My husband used to be a programmer for a company that sold software to MLMs. He knew intimately how they worked - and we'll never EVER get involved in one. If you found one that isn't a scam, good for you but I'm not interested. Besides the internal workings, the products are overpriced and overhyped.
On the other hand | 10:45 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Best real estate agent we ever had was our bishop... in CA. We bought a great deal on our first house, we sold it in less than a week for the price we wanted, and he was our agent both times. Sold our parents house when nobody else could get it sold. Dealing with an incompentent agent on the other end every time, and no, that wasn't just his opinion, he was constantly fixing their goofs and deals almost fell through when the other side screwed up. We knew him well before we used him, and he had a great reputation with everyone we knew who had used his services. Probably as dumb to overlook somebody great who happens to be in your ward, as it is to latch onto the first member you know who does a particular business.
To Timj | 10:47 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I've got your answer. For four years, my husband and I never ate out, we didn't rent movies, we didn't buy gum, candy, or go to dairy queen when we craved ice cream. We had one car, we lived in an old basement apartment. We still had two children during this time because his part-time employer offered us insurance because he was such a hard worker. We saved up over $5,000 while he was in the bishopric, going to college, and working, and I stayed home.

We didn't go on vacations, we didn't have cell phones, cable, or even call waiting.

We bought a home in pre-foreclosure, in an area that has a lower cost of living. Ten years later, we are in a bigger house, with zero debt, and our house is paid off. Not bad, 4 kids, paid off house in 10 years and I never went to work.
Moessers | 10:55 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Wow. We've come a long way since Brigham's decree of only doing business with church members and not the outside world. Now everyone's running scared of the church members.
BobP | 10:57 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
About a year ago, I was in church in our very small branch. Someone phoned from the Marina and asked how to get to the church. Someone went and got them.

They lived in Utah County and had sailed up the coast from Sacramento in a yacht worth well over a million. The made the money in MLM

Years ago there was an editorial in the Church News that said: If someone asks you to pray about an investment or scheme, keep your hand on you wallet while your eyes are closed. This is NOT a new thing.
carl | 10:57 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
The only one that ever works is that nice Nigerian fellow who is trying to transfer funds to my account. He sounds sincere. Are we now saying that I should not have provided my banking information? What could happen?
I think the Elderly are particularly at risk on garbage like this. I counseled with a woman who was scammed and I asked her if she discussed with anyone in her family before she jumped. She told me her daughter and her husband (A doctor) said it sounded like a pretty good deal!
JimK2 | 11:04 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
President Harold B. Lee said some time ago - "I can't believe so many church members are so gullible."

Want to gauge your "$uce$$ - if Christ came tomorrow, would He be chauffeured around in an Escalade whilst wearing $100 shoes (or perhaps just simple sandals)?

For those of you currently in a scam (as an "investor" or a not-yet-being-prosecuted schemer) - keep in mind that the Church refunds ill-
gotten tithing - not to mention the ruination of the lives of family members, friends, and fellow human beings.

Contact me and fully expect to be rudely treated and exposed (I won't run from you)!
Re: Timj 9:37 a.m. | 11:08 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
We have 4 children, live in California, I am a stay at home mom and our annual income is about 38K. First of all, we don't own a home, we manage apartments. Our situation is somewhat unique however, because the job offers a house (not apt.)for us to live in rent free. Granted that won't work for everyone, but it has been a blessing for us. Secondly, we went without health insurance, and only went to a doctor when absolutely necessary. In fact, we paid out of pocket for 3 of the 4 babies when they were born. My husband's current job does offer medical coverage, and it's interesting to me that now that we have a little more capability to take care of medical needs financially, our need for medical care has increased. ie. my husband needed an emergency Appendectomy, my daughter broke her arm, my other daughter got her finger smashed in a door and broken in a couple of places...all of this since the medical coverage was available to us. The Lord knew our desires for me to be able to stay with our children and though it's not been easy, He has taken care of us.
Anonymous | 11:13 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Please, you can no longer live on 40k and have a spouse stay at home with kids. If you bought your home more than 3 years ago then you have an affordable payment. It is nearly impossible to find a 1500 square foot home for under 200k! People entering the market today have extremely higher bills compared to those who owned homes before this ridiculous bubble.
Nichole from Canada | 11:19 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
First, to Brandon, the emphasis on having wives stay home is commendable. If more women stayed home with thier children then there would be more high paying jobs for husbands. There are times when a woman has to work and that's okay too, when there is a real need. It costs more to put children in daycare then most people make at work. The costs outweigh the benefits.
Living within your means should not be that hard. "Keeping up with the Jonses'" is the real problem. The First Presidency is right on to advise us to be cautious. As a stay at home mom of 4, I watch our finances and heed the council of our prophet. There are too many scams out there to name so do your homework first. Church members should NEVER use thier position in the church as part of their business dealings. I suggest that doing business with friends is rarely a good idea. Also, if you can't track where your investment is going at ALL times than you shouldn't have your money there in the first place.
Disgusting | 11:20 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
In our ward we have certain ward member who uses the church ward directory for her business mailing list. This member is only your friend if she gets your business. Pretty disgusting!
Irritated | 11:23 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
My husband and I work, I only work part time, but we still struggle to cover the neccesites (never wants). our house is very small, we drive old cars. It's always something that takes our savings (heart surgeries, layoffs etc) so he hasn't been able to get back to school. My point is, not everyone's situation is the same. Not everyone is going to be able to live on what the neighbor is living on. I would think that we as a people would be more tolerant and accepting of people since that is what is taught in our religion. Why not stop judging? I'm tired of being judged because I am a working mom. It isnt my ideal situation but I do what I HAVE to do, to take care of my family, Who is anyone to judge anyone on the personal choices they might make?
Jean Louise | 11:24 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
And here's an interesting little observation: If you listen to KSL radio talk shows for even a couple of hours (Doug Wright; Sean Hannity) you'll hear at least one ad every hour touting a Ponzi-like investment scheme. Ads for seminars where you will learn "principles" and "values" of wealth and prosperity. Yep. All the Mormon buzz words, meant to nab the gullible, in a 30-second ad. Right there, on the LDS Church owned radio station. If church leaders are serious about trying to teach their members about wise investing, maybe they ought to check into what kind of crap they're selling for ads and infomercials on their own air waves.
hmmm | 11:27 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
You make 40K a year and you own your own home?????

Who approved that loan? I want one!!!! I read that the median income for approval on a mortgage in Utah is now at $90K a year.
My two cents | 11:32 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Let's be honest, it's very possible to live on little, but it's also very, very difficult. What if you have health problems? I have an uncle who pays over five hundred a month just for himself because he has diabetes. And what about the housing market? Sure, housing prices are falling, but they ain't the starter homes. In my neighborhood, for example, a forty-year-old home was just put up for sale: new carpet, 1400 square feet, ONLY 240,000! Where does a family living on 40K get 1800 dollars a month for mortgage payments when they're also paying taxes, tithing, utilities, food for five or six, gas, "generous fast offerings" and so forth. I love the church. I pay a full tithing and a generous fast (sorry if that sounds like shouting out my alms) and my wife stays home. It's possible, but let's be realistic. It'd be nice to be able to afford going out to eat one in a while.
Stating the Obvious | 11:36 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Stop wasting time and money "investing" in MLM Xango, Goyin, Tehitian Noni juice, magic vitamins & herbal suppliments, anti-aging products, etc, etc..I am sick of seeing all the ugly buildings that keep springing up each time I drive through Utah county.

Utah is the MLM capital of the world because of supportive state regulation.

I also think it is funny that some people would say, "don't tell us what to do with our money. Stick to spiritual stuff leaders!" What part of "get out of debt, and don't investment in pyramid and investment scams" do you not agree with?

People just want to believe that what they are getting into is different, but 99% of the time you will lose. And believe me, you won't get rich selling over-priced garbage to your friends and they don't want to hear about it.
wealthy | 11:40 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Hey people, Their is nothing wrong with having a big house, a nice car and some of the nicer things in life if your income can sustain your lifestyle. some of you make it sound like being LDS and wealthy at the same time is a sin! (My wife stays at home too) Oh and by the way, I got introduced to my Career by a fellow LDS member 17 years ago
Ramsey Not Needed | 11:43 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I can tell you to get out of debt for free. In my opinion, Dave Ramsey is a huckster. It bothers me that he uses religion to sell his products. I do listen to his show when running errands. I listen to hear people's sad stories so I can try not repeat their mistakes myself.
Enjoying life | 11:52 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
40K a year, family of five, wife at home, paying a full 10% tithing on gross. 0 debt (except a car and I'm about a year ahead on my payments) , and have plenty of money to put a down payment on a modest house. Oh and I've gone on two trips to Europe in the past year and a half. I don't see what is so hard when you manage your money right.
Timj | 11:53 a.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Thanks for the replies.
We'll have about four more years of rough-living while I go to grad school, and then, after four years, hopefully we'll be able to move beyond the rice and beans.
Rules | 12:23 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
As a licensed Financial Advisor who has been in the business 14 years, it amazes me how many people turn down sound investment advise from me or other reliable advisors and end up going with the guy putting on the "Seminar scam" in someones house or after hours in the back of a business. These are The rules I go by:

1. Always ask the presenter if He/She has ever been convicted of any fraud, filed Bankruptcy,or have any outstanding judgements or liens against them or their company.
2. There is no hurry to get into any investment. Do your research on the people and company presenting the investment by calling the State of Utah div of securities and BBB
3. Invest with reputable Companies and Institutions
4. Dont invest because He/She is your neighbor, friend, relative, ward member or work associate. Think for yourself and do your homework
5. Always get 2 or 3 opinions from other Registered Financial advisors (not with the Company) on the product that was presented to you

Be careful as some of these people are very good at commiting fraud
me | 12:39 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Mormons are basically a trusting people because we are ourselves trustworthy and so fall prey to those who are schemers !!It is so sad that members of the church take advantage of their brothers and sisters in the gospel.
Anonymous | 12:45 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Timj: by saving, spending in what's really needed:
Food: eat properly, more vegetables, less snacks, less dinner out, cut fast food. You don't need all cereal flavors in your cabinet. Have two and use them all. Don't trash food.
House: small one, little maintenance, btw, now it's the time to buy, have you heard of FAA loans?
Clothes: have you heard of sales? buy costco jeans and remove the labels, nobody will notice it's not a brand one.
Car: do you need the last car model? why buying a new one?
health care: that's something you don't save on but people here prefer wearing abercrombie rather than having health insurance
TOT | 12:45 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I don't need Dave Ramsey to tell me to get out of debt. He tells you to get out of debt then wants you to spend $ buying his products. No Thanks!
EASY THERE | 12:49 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I think a lot of you are getting a little out of control here with the whole "don't do business with people in your ward"
You can make the same case for not doing business with family, neighbors, friends or the like.
The point the church is making is BE CAREFUL. Don't trust someone JUST BECAUSE they're from your ward. Trust them because their business plan is sound
Anonymous | 12:54 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
So, why did the Holy Ghost only recently encourage the Church leaders to warn the church members about fraud scams. Like others have pointed out, these types of scams were catching more people off guard 5 years ago.
billy bob | 12:55 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I was thinking that they should begin excomunicating any and all who invest in ANY multilevel marketing because if you do fall for any of them, you are just too stupid to have a membership card. thank you
KBYU | 12:56 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
PBS is a scam! Pledge money to save the Laurence Welk show and Teletubbies. No way man! PBS tried to make the LDS church look bad. Thats the last place my dollar will ever go.
Buyer Beware | 12:59 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
To Rules:

Agree. Hey y'all, follow this chap's advice.
The Old Submariner | 1:02 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Timj - the cry of things being too expensive has been around since I was a youngster in the 1930's. It is called saving towards a goal. The military is known for low wages. We rented & saved. Purchased a mobile home. Bought a lot later on after living in a mobile home park. Bought a lager mobile home as the family got larger. Eventually, someone starting out bought our mobile home & rented the lot from us. It was available because we had purchased a small home. Then they bought the lot from us. We moved (got transfered which always costs money), but between the house & the money from the lot sale, we got a larger house. Coming from lean & mean circumstances in North Dakota, we raised 4 great kids & now have 9 great-grandchildren. In retirement, we are living well. The real answer to your question, just in case you haven't figured it out - and from some of your questions, I don't think you have - start small, within your means. You can't start with what your parents have.
TOT | 1:02 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Actually there is something wrong with having a lot of luxuries when many others in the world are suffering. I'm not advocating forced socialism but morally, self indulgence is wrong.

Think about the story of Lazurus and the rich man. The rich man was obsessed with building a bigger barn to keep all his stuff. Go find the admonitions in LDS conference addresses where the speakers said to stop building bigger barns and asked those with more to help those with less.
Honest Answer to Timj | 1:10 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
We are buying a house right now. It's a cheap house, so it's not a huge down-payment. We've been looking for a few years, it's takes a ton of time and effort to find cheap houses that are in good enough condition to live in. We make 22K. We have two kids. We use a budget and don't cheat on it. We put some money in a savings account evey time we get paid. That savings account has saved us many times! We make do with less. We have one car, which we paid cash for. We pay cash for everything. We take cash to the grocery store, and if the bill comes to more than we have with us we decide what we can do without. We shop yard sales and thrift stores. We research big purchases to find the best deal. We rarely buy new.

Why don't you post my comments? | 1:14 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
My comments do not get posted more times than not even though they are less than the 200 word limit, are certainly not abusive, offensive, off topic, or misrepresentative, especially when compared to some of the outrageous comments you do post. It is clear that the Deseret News has a discriminatory policy? The question is why? And yes, I have proven this point by making 2 opposite points at the same time. The DMN posted the one favorable to their bias and did not post the one challenging their position. I guess that's your prerogative, but please don't pose as a legitimate source of news or a defender of the free press when stifling free speech. That is in and of itself a form of fraud.
californian | 1:24 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Are you kidding me? look at the nation as a whole...Mormons seem to fall for this stuff just like everybody else...they are almost like people! Growing up I was taught never to do business with anyone from church or's as good of advice now as ever. Beyond that, my dad always told me to think and then very unAmerican that seems now. I used to work for a man ( a prince among men to be honest) who is Mexican American and refuses to do any business with any establishment who says "Se Habla Espanol"! Make people earn your trust and your business.
houses | 1:36 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I found a house in Layton for $170. We saved for the down payment for 3 years. We got a FAA loan which gives us a 5% interest rate so what we are paying for rent will actually pay for the loan. Don't let your real estate agent do the whole searching. Spend your time at the internet and you will get a REAL idea about what's going on. Also, if you want to live in those "high" areas, yes, get ready to pay the price, otherwise, you can find nice houses at reasonable prices in areas that are just being developed. We all want to live in nice neigborhoods but that does not mean you have to live in Park City to get a nice house. My in-laws moved to a better area and there they have problems with their kids trying to keep up with the Jones. They wished they didn't move because they did it for a better house. They fell into the trap.
Comments continue below
ca | 1:38 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
WM, MLM's by definition are a scam. Maybe your wife is doing well, but she is making money off of other peoples failures. In order for an MLM to work, you have to sale a propsective MLMer that they will make it rich. BUt in order for this to work for you and all other upliners, most of these prospects have to fail.

If everyone succeeded as promised, in a short time, the entire world would be a part of that MLM.

WM, if your wife is an honest person, she would stop making money off of others peoples failures. Get out.
Financial Advisors | 1:39 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Most financial advisors make their money on the investments they sell and know little other than they were "told" to push that stock or investment at a sales meeting. Be careful.

One of the largest scams that came through Utah about 25 years ago took in about 50% of the doctors in Utah. In particular Dentists were hit hard. The man used to sell dental equipment. Well that isn't surprising.

What was surprising to me is that he took in ONE THIRD of all the ATTORNEYS in town. People constantly say to run financial decisions past your attorney. Realize most are not that well trained in investments. On this paricular scam, one of the prosecutors said that ANYONE that would have seriously checked into it would not have invested.

Few people did. They invested because their neighbor, local celebrity or even general authority had invested or been involved.

Check out all the details. Do not take for granted anything the person wanting your money claims. Use common sense and pick up some books or take some classes on investment. If you don't understand what you are investing in and how your it works. Don't.
observer | 1:46 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I once knew a man who put it this way in regard to religion and money...."Every time somebody starts telling me how religious they are, I feel like a new bride. I know I'm going to get it, but I don't know when or how much."
Spanky | 1:54 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
It's easy for con men to take advantage of greedy people.
Dave | 1:57 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Sometimes a business will go bad when you work with a bunch of jerks! And if this kind of thing happens to you-- suddenly are demonized within the ward you live in by the members who you have done business with--as the ward scam artist. Not all people who get into business with the wrong people are scam artists. Sometimes they have associates and partners who even scam their partners and then will lead the whole company straight to hell. It's probably a good idea to check-out your business partner or partners before striking a close partnership with him/her as well, because if he is a evil scam artist, and he goes down-- so will you!
Don't be scared off... | 2:09 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Some investments are actually GOOD! When we were young we were cautioned NOT to buy our small house until we could afford to pay cash. (Most likely never would have happened since values raised faster than we could save.)

I'm so grateful my husband wasn't as fearful and indoctrinated as I was, we would have missed our greatest opportunity.
PerhapsThou | 2:13 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just –

But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this, the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

For behold, are we not all beggars?
MLM's are part of the problem | 2:31 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Most successful multi level marketing reps make a major part of thier money off of people that never make a dime.
Anonymous | 2:46 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Stupid is as stupid does.
Matt --- To ca... | 3:00 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
To ca...

I like you do not chase MLM schemes, these are not worth my time. But, your tone is rather spiteful, and full of hate and anger. Your words are uncalled for against that man's wife.
To: WOW | 3:09 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
To WOW: "What Moron is still falling for these scams?
Kudos to the first presidency though, for making this statement."

You answered this question with the last sentence.

Since the Mormon presidency addressed this to their members, I guess that's your answer as to who still falls for this scams?

They know that, there morons out there who falls for it, otherwise, they wouldn't make the statement.
2penniesworth | 3:23 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Timj. I have 8 kids. I stay home most the time. Hubby makes 45K a year. We have a nice home - not too bit, in fact a bit smallish. We just bought it last year. Our first home purchase. How did we do it?
We did not have cable that's 50 bucks a month we saved.

We did not eat out. That's about 100 a month.

We don't have car payments. That's 300 a month (or more!).

Just in that, we've saved 450 a month. Timex the 5 years we saved for the house.... you get the rest.

THATS how we did it

Oh, and we don't have health care insurance. We do have insurance in case we land in the hospital. With that $ we don't spend on premiums each month, we put away. When someone needs to go to the doc, we pay in cash, out of that fund. It's cheaper, and works just fine for this family of 10.
My Posts Has Also Been Rejected | 3:29 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
To: " Why don't you post my comments?"

Several of my comments also was not posted.

Unlike you, I do know why. It's not because of the outrageous gross misrepresentation, or what not, but it's because the Deseret News is owned by the LDS church, and it's only following it's own policy that's been around since the beginning of their church, that is, to not challenge the church or its doctrines.

The people that monitor this works in essence, works for the church, and they have to follow the commandments of keeping the church, pure, pristine and unadulterated as they see it, therefore, it's not unusual of surprising for me to learn, even in the free, unopinionated, unbiased press, unfortunately, are not free, very opinionated, and highly biased journalism.

They eliminate those who are not like them, and they certainly don't like you when you don't have their point of view. This is the Deseret News I've come to know from forums like this, and it goes all the way to the top.
why don't they Post comments? | 3:31 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Here in SE utah, at the price of $$$111 million dollars a Ponzi scam was ran W/the operation following the idea of stealing from Peter to pay Paul. This involved an ex-county commissioner and his son who now occupy a cell in federal prison. What irks me the most as a taxpayer is the audacity of several citizens who ran full page ads giving support to these two scoudrels while they were facing these charges. You could have just went over and gave them a hug not pretend they were some kind of Matyrrs.The GA who caught them in Minnesota probably had no idea of their stature in the mormon community in this county. But again in a lame show of support while this case was still in the federal courts, some group bestowed a citizenship of the year award on the ex-commissioner as if to influence the court in his worthiness. Needless to say the ploy did not work. That's alot of money which school districts nationwide are missing. The sanctity of the child has been tarnished and to try to white wash the ordeal by certain administrations is to lie to the parents and children who are effected!!
Anonymous | 3:37 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Beware of false prophets
and snakeoil salesmen
To- Moron scam guy | 3:38 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Wow! that was a bright, brilliant intelligent statement! Looks like some kind of moron thinking coming out from under some basement floorboard. Do I smell a rat or what?
on why don't they post comments? | 3:42 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Instead of GA ..meant AG as in Attorney General.
Re:Financial Advisors | 3:43 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Its no wonder the most wealthy and successful people in our country use a Financial Advisor and statistically, Investors who use a Advisor make more money on their Investments than the "Do it yourselfers" Do you expect Financial reps to work for free? And NO, I am not told to sell any product from anyone and YES I think I know about my business as I have been helping clients for 33 years.I now work 2 days a week not because I have to financially, but because I like to help my clients. How many of these people who got scamed would love to work with a Financial advisor now? Please be careful about making comments about a Industry you dont know anything about. In life, you usually get what you pay for!!

Financial Advisors thoughout Utah
Anony | 3:46 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I have a close relative who lent a Utahn close to $100 years ago with some mining stock and handshake for security. The mining stock was worthless as was the handshake. Lost it all. The scammer's pitch was as slick as snot on a doorknob. And, to this day he goes to church every Sunday.
Another Adam | 3:47 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Are there any other ways I can eat bread without getting any sweat on my brow?

Any one?
Roger | 3:53 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
When one looks at all the preposterous things mormons believe in and accept for fact it is not hard to understand how they are the ideal dupe for scams. Mormons grow up with the wool over their eyes.
Paperboy | 3:54 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
LDS members are taught to obey positions of power and authority. When scam artists and con men use their church conditions and positions of leadership in connection with business dealings, it is very difficult for faithful members to resist. Thinking skeptically and questioning authority is simply not encoded in the psychological DNA of faithful Latter-day Saints. Unless members are taught that it's ok (or even better, beneficial) to question and think for themselves, this kind of thing will continue to go on.
Paperboy | 4:01 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
So stupid. You deserve to get taken.
Don't be stupid.

Did I mention. I think those investing are the problem. They are trying to scam money out of the honest worker.
ca | 4:22 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008

I've learned that when dealing with people involved in MLM's you have to be blunt and harsh. Otherwise, they don't get it. Most successful MLM's do not believe they are perpetrating a fraud.

I personally have never been scamed by an MLM, but plently of my friends and relatives have. You have to also be just as blunt with people thinking of joining an MLM, otherwise, their greed gets the best of them.
beware of insurance salesmen | 4:24 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
people also fall to the scams of the big and alleged trustworthy banks and insurance companies and from registered reps who claim to be financial planners because they show you some cool charts some software spit out and gave you a plan... a plan to put your money in mutual funds and insurance product which underperform the market as a whole and receive no review... products layden with ridiculous fees which make driving on the freeway in 1st geer look efficient... Countless people have their financial planner who is really just an insurance salesman come over and sell them an insurance policy with will one day supposedly help with retirement.. pay off the mortgage or pay for college... this is all non-sense... people can do better than that... people can also do better chosing their own stocks and mutual funds rather than investing with these so called planners who put you in products which pay the best commissions rather than products which consistently offer better performance and lower fees... not to mention that your planner never will review the performance of your investment... do it yourself and do better...
Real Estate and Mortgages | 4:24 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
One of the problems is that Loan officers, Financial advisors, and Realtors are commissioned based. Meaning, they make no money unless they make sales. That being said Loan officers are telling you what you can qualify for not what you can afford. Realtors are telling you that now is the best time to buy, when really home prices are going down. etc. Not all of the truth is told in these deals, because they too, need to feed their families, so there is a conflict of interest that usually comes up between protecting you, and making a dollar for their families and or spending habits.
bad talk radio... | 4:24 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
I keep reading that it is the darned talk radio that is making people gullible enough to fall for these financial scams.
Just a note; listen to Dave Ramsey ( on the radio ) at 7pm. and see the ignorant stuff that is being discussed on the evil radio. or you can get news and information from the same old same old.
To paperboy | 4:35 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Nobody "deserves" to get taken. "Investors" are NOT the problem. Where would our country be if no one was willing to invest their money? Investors are NOT trying to "scam money out of the honest worker."

Investors are actually trying to help those who need more money.

An abundance of dishonest, greedy, uneducated, and unqualified people are the problem, not the investors.
Not the problem | 4:44 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Investing is NOT the problem. Investing wisely is the key! Trusting others is a GOOD thing, as long as that trust is justified by experienced research. Hiding our money in a mattress really doesn't help anyone.
It's okay to invest wisely | 4:50 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
You don't always "have to" sacrifice basics to be financially successful. Buying a solid home in a safe and re-salable area was the best investment we ever made.

Some people make the mistake of simply buying what's cheapest in order to save money. It's important to live within our means, but that doesn't mean being so extremely frugal that you miss out on the real opportunities that our out there.

Just don't invest more than you can afford to lose, and don't put all your eggs in one basket, or if you do, guard that basket!!!
amusing to watch | 5:23 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
It's alway amusing to read about scam artists out-scamming their fellow scammers.
Advisors and Agents | 5:29 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
There are clear differences between MLM's and Financial Advisors and insurance agents. Someone who sells in an MLM doesn't have to be licensed with the state (insurance) or registered with the NASD (securities). Most insurance agents and investment advisors carry Errors and Omissions coverage to cover them (and their clients). Securities and insurance are regulated by states and the federal government. Many securities are backed by the SiPC in cases of failure or default.

Of course, people need to do their homework. They can check the financial rating of an insurance carrier and do a plethora of research on the internet. You can base investment decisions on facts and past experience. MLMs, Ponzi Schemes, and other vehicles of their ilk rely on testimonials, pomp, and false encouragement.

If I had enough disposable money to invest, I would most definitely visit a financial advisor. I'm relatively young, but hope to be in a situation soon where I can consult with a financial planner.

I'm glad the First Presidency is reiterating sound financial principles. I think we all can learn (especially in tough times) to be more wise in our financial dealings.
wrz | 5:29 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
What's wrong with living beyond your means? If things don't pan out you can always declare bankruptcy and it all goes away. And you've had a lot of fun in the mean time.

Fantasy? That's exactly what is likely to happen in the sub-prime debacle bailout.
Anonymous | 5:50 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
My, don't election years coupled with an unpopular war and the economy going down the toilet bring out the best in people?
Re: beware of Insurance guys? | 6:27 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Some of the Families I help are glad they didn't take your advice when I presented the widow with a 750,000 check due to a premature death of a husband. If these families would have listen to you, they wouldn't have any Income coming to maintain a household of children, pay for future college expenses, Missions and weddings and to pay off any Debt. Insurance Salesmen are the only people who show up after a funeral giving out money, rather than having their hand out asking for money. Listening to comments from people like you are why a lot of people get into trouble in the first place!!
Scam Artists | 6:28 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Real estate "flippers" are scam artists. They produce nothing of value. They basically beat someone in line, bought the house, and turned around and said, "you can have it, but it's gonna cost you $30k" more than I paid for it yesterday." Thus young couples and others buying a home they actually need, decide to buy from the flippers for fear that home prices will continue rising. Considering interest, the flipper costs the family approximately $60k over the 30 year period of the loan. What service did the flipper provide??? If you said nothing, you're absolutely right. I hope these "flippers" are the ones getting hurt by the mortgage crisis. Due to the true need everyone needing somewhere to live, I believe real estate "flipping" is unethical. Unfortunately, I know many otherwise good people who got sucked into taking advantage of others by housing means.
Investing smart | 7:45 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Autos are the worst investment a human can make! Someone once said the only thing worse than buying a depreciating asset is paying interest on a depreciating asset. In 1993 my brother and I both received $25,000 from our grandparents. He decided to buy a big truck that he no longer has today. I invested my money in a mutual fund rec by my Uncle who is a financial planner. Today that fund has avg over 11.5% a year and is worth over 127,500 on my last statement. We need to educate ourselves better when it comes to Investing and proper Money management. I also agree with "Rules" comments when it comes to scam artists'
Anonymous | 7:59 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Cars are never an investment.
Only a necessary evil.
Anonymous | 10:48 p.m. Mar. 13, 2008
Whoever said cars were an investment? I'd hope that's common knowledge now.
To those who are tooting their horns on how they've lived on nothing so the rest of us should be able to...please remember, some of us are hit harder than others. My husband and I started out our marriage with savings and no car payment. However, the car that had no car payment kept breaking down. We needed the transportation, and although my husband can do some minor repair work, he couldn't drop engines or diagnose electrical problems. Our savings couldn't keep up with the repairs. Then, I've had three years straight with medical problems. We can't keep up with all of those (even though I have insurance). Basic fact is that every time we start catching up, stuff goes wrong. Just count your blessings that it hasn't happened to you and don't be so harsh on those of us that are trying.
Honestly | 12:01 a.m. Mar. 14, 2008
I think the reason so many people fall for scams and get rich schemes is old fashioned greed.
Outside Utah | 12:55 a.m. Mar. 14, 2008
Unlike many comments about a handful of LDS scammers in Utah, there are many scammers of all races and religions throughout the world. This letter was sent to congregations outside of Utah as well. Fraud is occuring everywhere, especially to single women by other "businessmen" who try to earn their trust. My single mom in CA was sold a subprime loan when she refinanced and Countrywide cheated her out of $180K in less than 2 years. My sister received two fraudulant cashiers checks for her car she was selling in the classifieds. My widowed grandma was cheated out of $200k by her realtor. My advice is to beware of everyone.
AEP | 2:18 a.m. Mar. 14, 2008
Let´s hear our prophets. That´s enough.
NY | 6:56 a.m. Mar. 14, 2008
I think "Investing Smart" meant to say that he invested his money in a mutual fund while his brother bought a car instead. Cars are a personal use asset, NOT an investment. Also, thank you Jon Taylor for your great website on the dangers of MLMs. As I stated in an earlier post, I wish the brethren would issue a statement about these. That there are so many in Utah (especially in Utah Valley) is such an embarrassment. They target the poor of the world and are a particularly cruel scam. Another good resource about how these cleverly disguised pyramid schemes work is False Profits by Robert Fitzpatrick. Google this to find his website.
WM | 8:28 a.m. Mar. 14, 2008
To ca: you mistakenly assume when I said "my spouse" I meant a wife. It's my HUSBAND, and MLM's are a legitimate business. I have an MBA and learned about MLM's in my Entrepreneurial marketing class in GRAD SCHOOL.
Also, the rate of fraud, etc. seems higher among Mormons because there is a large network built right in. If you're looking for anything, you go by the recommendations of friends and people you know. If you're Mormon, those "recommendations" end up coming from other Mormons. Duh.
Eminence Front | 9:25 a.m. Mar. 14, 2008
What rich irony. The LDS profit telling church members to watch out for scams when the Mormon Church is one of the biggest religious frauds in the last 200 years
NY | 9:44 a.m. Mar. 14, 2008
WM, Where are earth did you go to grad school? I can't imagine any reputable university teaching that MLM is a legitimate form of business. The fact that they are LEGAL (I will never understand why the FTC doesn't shut these down) does not make them LEGITIMATE. Looks like your professor needs to update his own education. See the False Profits book and Website as well as Jon Taylor's (who posted earlier) book and website if you want the facts on MLMs.
Trying to save money? | 10:04 a.m. Mar. 14, 2008
I worry about all the people out there who in an attempt to "save money" are doing without basics like health insurance. The family of ten may be surviving well now, because of their thriftiness, but I'm afraid they may be one sickness away from bankruptcy.

Perhaps, we as a society, need to do more to make health care affordable. This seems to be a major issue for many families, and the current system doesn't seem to be working very well.

My neighbors pay over $13,000 a year for health insurance for a family of 4. Fortunately, for now, they can afford this, but what happens when their business slows down?

I worry that the upcoming recession may push many of us, who smugly think we are okay financially, right over the edge.

Perhaps we need to help enact better laws BEFORE the disaster strikes.

Doubletalk | 11:15 a.m. Mar. 14, 2008
Interesting that so many comments say this happens because the church teaches us to be gullible, yet the whole reason for this article is the church telling us NOT to be gullible. Mormons are not susceptible to fraud because they follow the teachings of the church. They are susceptible to fraud because they DON'T follow the teachings of the church.
SFCRETDENNIS | 11:25 a.m. Mar. 14, 2008
We have been warned time and time agin about this and so many other things. It all so proves no one is perfect. Let someone ells mess up and little is said of their beliefs, except the Catholics and the child sex crimes, other wise nothing is said, let a LDS member mess up and it is plastered all over the paper, Mormon did this and Mormon did that.

One thing I do know if you will follow what James said in 1st James V 5-6 you can never go wrong.
Mark | 12:32 p.m. Mar. 14, 2008

So maybe we should just stop screwing up so badly!
Comments continue below
Nigerian Scam | 12:35 p.m. Mar. 14, 2008
Utah is the primary target for Nigerian Scams. The Nigerian scams come in different forms.
Leesa | 12:45 p.m. Mar. 14, 2008
A couple of years ago, we had *4* ladies in our ward dealing Pampered Chef. The party invites were endless. One of the girls I had taught in YW was flabbergasted when she came to my home as a Cutco rep (she was in college) and I wouldn't buy anything. The couple in our ward who do pre-paid legal know better than to contact my husband and I. A Living Scriptures sales rep who came to my home about 4 summers ago (obviously working off a church list, as I live in Texas) was practically livid when I indicated that we wouldn't be purchasing their DVD set. First, he questioned what kind of mother I was, then began going for the guilt line, that his wife was having their first baby and he needed to make sales to support them. I held my tongue, but nearly suggested he should've gone with a more reliable, normal job. Mormons & MLM's ... bad medicine!
Adrienne | 1:42 p.m. Mar. 14, 2008
My ex-husband who happens to be LDS, was probably one of those who was too trusting. He fell for just about every MLM scheme out there, and would have fallen for a Nigerian scam if he didn't show me that e-mail. Most people I know who are LDS have a strong work ethic, and are very aware of the types of scams out there, so they aren't gullible at all.
Duff | 2:46 p.m. Mar. 14, 2008
It is no accident that Utah is the MLM capital of the world. What does that say about Mormons?

It means that if people make their decisions based on religious trust, on prayer, on a belief in human goodness, they are ripe for the picking.

But when you have more children than you can properly educate, you do strange, desperate things to get cash. Good luck to you all.
Jon M. Taylor | 4:06 p.m. Mar. 14, 2008
To NY and others re – Why was MLM not included in the warning?
Because victims of these schemes rarely file complaints - with law enforcement, the Better Business Bureau, or with Church authorities. In chain selling, every major victim must become a recruiter to recoup costs of ongoing purchases – required to qualify for commissions or advancement. They fear consequences from or to those they recruited, or who recruited them - often a close friend or relative. They also are led to believe the MLM is legitimate because law enforcement has not shut them down.

Church authorities won’t speak out against MLM until enough people complain about it. So please write directly to the First Presidency asking them to warn Church members – and to protect the image of the Church (LDS/MLM promoters victimize vulnerable populations worldwide – to the tune of BILLIONS of dollars!) Anyone can read the research on LDS involvement in MLM by going to the web site for Consumer Awareness Institute.

Please speak out publicly. Complain. The squeaky wheel gets the grease – in law enforcement and in the Church.

– Jon M. Taylor, Consumer Awareness Institute
Overdone | 4:11 p.m. Mar. 14, 2008
Any product,service or investment including cars, MLM's,insurance,education needs to be weighed and considered properly.

I agree about not using the church as a sole source for clients or business.

Not all MLM's are bad. Consider the folowing:

If you are purchasing an MLM product, ask yourself if there is a real product that actually works? Will it benefit you? What is the one-time cost? Is there a money back guarantee? How long has the company been in business? If I risk losing this money will it ruin me financially?

Answer those questions correctly and you will never go wrong. Those questions also apply to every other purchase you will ever make in Wal-Mart, Sears, JC Penny, IKEA and the local food store.

Some MLM's work just fine. Ours does and continues to do so.
Anonymous | 4:36 p.m. Mar. 14, 2008
To Jon Taylor,

Good to see your comments. You are doing a great work for consumer advocacy.

Keep it up!
mikefromcanada | 8:06 a.m. Mar. 15, 2008
hey brandon , funny I make 2k a month, my wife stays home , we have kids , and guess what ? no debt ! i own my house , my boatS, my 3 CARs and so on , and all in good shape , perfect running condition, or in perfect order if not a car or boat , depends all on what you want and need , i can do with used, and a bit of elbow grease. 75,000 a year ? are you crazy ? i can raise 15 kids on that ! and still have it all , learn to get priorities straight and you can too , btw I also pay my tithes and other offerings in full as well. poor ? me ? not by far ! rich ? yes ! I have the gospel and try to live it ! attached to my possesions ? nope, need it ? prove it , it 's yours ! that simple :)
mikeincanada | 8:20 a.m. Mar. 15, 2008
to timj, no offence intended here but *I* donot live in capitalist central, health care ? free, dwn payment ? not always,, houses? more fair price here,food? much cheaper here again ,same with clothing and the rest , our dollar ? worth more than yours , getting the point yet ? utah gullible ? not really , just a bunch of hard working americans trying to make ends meet in an economy driven by greed, getting sucked in whilst only trying to get a break, SOME, as in any other place in the world , stupid, and greedy of course , but mostly , no , just trying to survive and maybe not quite as perfect as the rest of you finger pointers, whose time is coming, maybe not in money scams , but say , in a layoff or the like , everyone gets hurt, one way or another. I noticed thos , ESPECIALLY the "smug" and "Self righteous" , just an observation take it as you will , prob with more self righteousness and venom spewing.....
Duane Finley | 8:29 a.m. Mar. 15, 2008
It is sad to hear most of the comments not to say there is not some truth in most. The over all picture reminds me of the cycle that goes on in the Book of Mormon. We all have a hunger inside us, to bad that we have a tendancy to satisfy it with material things instead of Spiritual things, like love, service and hard work. My wife and I are debt free and live on less than 20K. When we have a hunger we give love, service and read the scriptures. It has not always been like that. Seems we learn more atleast when we are young by our mistakes. Jesus Christ is the light/example I pray we can all learn to follow Him and those He has set as our leaders in righteouness. Let us be calm as a dove but wise as a fox. We must judge with righteous judgements, not others, but ourselves in all we do say and think.
Anonymous | 9:49 a.m. Mar. 15, 2008
I'm LDS and I have never fallen for an MLM scam, and I have never considered even getting involved. I also have children I support on my own without the help of a father and I haven't gone to desparate measures. We just live on less and materialistic items become non important.
My teenage children have jobs, so they are able to buy the items they need.
Trent | 10:34 a.m. Mar. 15, 2008
Don't judge too quickly or harshly. Yes, I have heard that there is a high amount of fraud and living beyond means within Utah. However, painting the entire LDS population with such a broad brush is an inadequate diagnosis. Have you ever heard of "One for the Money", or visited the Church site, "Provident Living"? If we were truly following the advice of the church, we wouldn't be falling for such schemes.

Fraud is a national problem which is currently feeding on the regional financial illiteracy, illiteracy that may be compounded by the misused trust within the church. It is time for the Utahns, LDS or not, to abandon the ideas of getting rich quick. The advice from the church is not new. You can't expect to fly a plane unless you learn from training and experience. It is the same with making money.
Ray | 11:45 a.m. Mar. 15, 2008
To Trent | 10:34 a.m.,

You and several others claim that the Church teaches principles of frugality, prudence, and providence when it comes to business and financial matters. You are right. Those teachings are available for all to see.

That does not change the statistics. Statistically, Utah is in the top of states for bankruptcy, fraud, and related scams. These numbers are undeniable.

So your point only brings up an important question. If LDS are TAUGHT to beware of scams and fraud and bankruptcy, the numbers demonstrate that THEY AREN'T LISTENING! Why aren't LDS people listening to their leaders? Important question.
NY | 1:10 p.m. Mar. 15, 2008
Mike in Canada, I can't help but comment on your "free" health care. It is most certainly not free. Your ultra high taxes pay for that and still you have severe shortages and waiting times. In fact, Cleveland is now known as the the hip replacement center for Canada because Canadians do not want to wait so long in pain. A few years ago the health care backlog became so bad that British Columbia had to contract with Seattle hospitals. Where would Canada be without the U.S. for a health care outlet? Moreover, Canadian doctors, wanting to make a decent salary, are moving to the U.S. which has been a great concern for Canada. As for Canadian unemployment, it is typcially 2 or 3 percentage points higher than here in the U.S. Sorry to burst your bubble with the facts. I could go on, but I am running out of allowable space. Go to Canada's Frazier Institute for the latest on wait times for health care in Canada.
Patti | 1:16 p.m. Mar. 15, 2008
Someone may have already responded to this because I haven't read all 166 comments, however, let's give Mahonri a little break. He did not say "Leadership of the church" he said "Leadership of Utah". There is a big difference.
Sad but True | 4:02 a.m. Mar. 16, 2008
This is so timely, true and sad. I know, because a specific member of a Stake Presidency is making his living doing exactly what the the first presidency is warning about. Unless these people are actually caught and brought to justice - it just continues and the members are often their prey. But whoever they prey upon, it is still just plain "sin".
MLM Bashers | 10:19 a.m. Mar. 16, 2008
New York Time Best selling author of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" (sold 20 million copies to date)and renowned business expert, Robert Kiyosaki recently said about Network Marketing: "Because I did not gain my fortune from network marketing, I can be more objective about the industry. It's the Business School for people who like to help [offers] a value that goes beyond just the potential of making a lot of money [honestly]. I finally found a business with a heart and a deep caring for people." Network Marketing is actually taught at the University level, one in particular is the University of Illinois at Chicago by Harvard Grad, Dr. Charles King. He is a network marketing expert and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune and many other publications. Check out the Direct Selling Organization for real facts. It is the national trade association of the leading firms that manufacture and distribute goods and services sold directly to consumers, including MLM. Part of the Association's mission is to ensure that the marketing by member companies of products and/or the direct sales opportunity is conducted with the highest level of business ethics and service to consumers."
KC | 9:15 p.m. Mar. 16, 2008
4 years ago my wife and I decided after much prayer that she should stay home and she was expecting our first child at the time. I was making 45K. We continued to trust in the Lord and opportunities came our way. I'm now self employed in a commercial construction field making 120K. Now able to buy nice things like house, car, truck, etc. I'm finding out that even if you have the means it's not always good to spend money on worldly things. The more you spend the more you are driven to spend. The counsel is very important to me. We are a very blessed people and we have to be carefull not to become worldly. We should save and invest wisely and we can help a lot of people along the way.
Anonymous | 12:14 a.m. Mar. 17, 2008
Why aren't any of my comments being posted? Am I banned?
RE: MLM Bashers | 2:22 a.m. Mar. 17, 2008
Robert Kiyosaki is not necessarily the best resources to be using to defend MLM. I, myself, consider him to be part of financial fraud since it has been verified that he has repeatedly lied over and over again and has made his millions off of dumb and gullible people. For more information on the truth behind Robert Kiyosaki, google "John T. Reed's analysis of Robert T. Kiyosaki" to find the truth. Needless to say, the man has become an expert con artist.
NY | 6:08 a.m. Mar. 17, 2008
Anyone in finance/economics can tell you that Kyosyki is not a good resource or model to follow. I read his books and there were several red flags. If this is the best MLM/pyramid defenders can come up with, they are in deep trouble.
NY | 8:24 a.m. Mar. 17, 2008
Dear "banned",

I don't know why I am writing this because I doubt it will get posted. Some of my comments have not been posted and I have no idea why. It seems to be very arbitrary. One comment will be posted and then another that elaborates a little more in response to someone else will not "make the cut". It is truely frustrating to spend time writing and not have it posted for who knows what reason. The last one that was not posted was in response to someone who said that their MLM works fine. I pointed out that it may work fine for them, but it does not work fine for their victims who pay multiple times what the product is worth so the difference can flow up the pyramid (I elaborated in more detail). I also pointed out that the MLM/pyramid type of distribution system for goods and services is not economically efficient and the fact that some people actually make some money off this scheme does not mean it "works fine". Anyway, for this I was banned. I guess it comes down to whether or not the monitor agrees with you. Very Frustrating indeed.
MLM's not Mormons Fault | 8:55 a.m. Mar. 17, 2008
The reason Utah is the MLM capital has nothing to do with the LDS people. It has everything to do with the Utah legislature. (I realize it is mostly LDS) The laws in Utah are the easiest in the country to pass off an MLM as a legitimate business. In most states companies have to sell over 40% of there product to consumers. In Utah businesses can count their distributors (the people who sign up to sell the goods) as consumers so they don't actually have to have a consumer base. So write your legislator and our attorney general and let them know what you think of MLM's in our state if you want things to change.
returned to utah | 9:07 a.m. Mar. 17, 2008
My whole take on this "discussion" is that we all need to stop making judgements on other people and just do what's best for you. There's nothing wrong with MLM's or Robert Kiyosaki or real estate investing as long as it is done within the law. If you want to join a MLM, you just need to realize that you must work at it, and not expect to sit back and let the money roll in. You also need to do your research or due diligence. We need to be skeptical of investments to the point that we research it and make sure it fits with our goals and beliefs. And guess what? Praying about it is just plain good sense!!!

MLM Bashers | 1:19 p.m. Mar. 17, 2008
If you're not happy about Kiyosaki's reputation, try Dr. King, and more importantly, the Direct Selling Organization. Check out how much good most of these companies are doing in the world. If you're ambitious and want to provide better for your family, or make it possible for a spouse to stay home and raise your own children, if inhibited by finances, instead of someone else doing it for you, you have a few options: 1) Hope you can get a good raise at work (and continue working for someone else and their goals and amitions, instead of own) 2) Invest hundreds of thousands in a franchise (I wish I had that kind of cash) 3) Start your own business (after 2nd mortgaging out your house) 4) Invest under $500 to get set up in your own direct selling business, once you've done your due diligence (prayed about it, acted wisely, etc.) and provide a valid, worthwhile product to consumers. Personally, I'm grateful when someone shares something they believe in with me - if they're nice about and not pushy. It's really unfortunate that the few bad apples have left so many others with a bad taste in their mouths. MLM's Products | 1:53 p.m. Mar. 17, 2008
What MLM's sell a worthwhile product at a normal price? I think many have good products, but they claim to sell products this way to save money for the consumer. $50 Juices, $120 Vitamins. That doesn't sound like savings to the consumer to me. Dave | 3:21 p.m. Mar. 17, 2008
I totally agree. We should invest with long-established brokerage firms--like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, UBS, Citibank, etc.

Why didn't I think of this sooner? Anonymous | 6:26 p.m. Mar. 17, 2008
I have the utmost compassion for my LDS friends who are being duped by their LDS brothers and sisters.
It's like a huge dysfunctional family. Yes, because | 8:45 p.m. Mar. 17, 2008
They have people from church that they consider "family" and that they can't believe would do them any harm. It is sad, but true. Nicholaus | 12:00 a.m. Mar. 18, 2008
People, we need to learn to get along and trust one another. Yes there are scams out there but they aren't only mormons doing them. Learn to trust in your leaders. Our First Presidency is simply trying to guide and direct you. Be honest in all your dealings, if you aren't you need to do a check up. You can hide your business dealings from people but you can't hide them from God and that' who you will have to answer to in the end. Our country is in financial ruin because of interest onlys and arms, cash value insurance and poor investments. Be smart, stay out of debt, save your money, buy term life. Statistically our country has a savings rate of -1.6% so i don't care who you are and what your living off of, you aren't saving! As for my family, I rent a home, drive a 05 ford minivan, 99 nissan maxima, I don't have a big screen or new furniture and I still need 60 plus thousand a year to live on. That's paying tithing, saving 20% of my gross income and living modestly. That doesn't mean I am happy with that either. Nicholaus | 12:15 a.m. Mar. 18, 2008
I really love the comments by people who say I have no debt except my house or no debt except my car. So your saying that 175 thousand dollar mortgage isn't debt or that 30 thousand dollar car isn't debt. Get Real!!! you have debt own up to it. It is unfortunate that spouses do have to work outside the homes and i'll agree sometimes it is neccesary. The problem with our country as far as jobs is we don't get paid enough. The average salary is 27 thousand a year thats why it takes 2 to 3 jobs to live a moderate lifestyle. Gas prices are ridiculous which is a whole subject on it's own, so get to the real point of this whole article. Beware of the investment scams, research the company and the credibility it has don't just take a persons word for it (which is unfortunate we can't just do that) We are all trying to succeed and have to make money off of each other whether it's a mlm, tire shop, grocery store, restraunt, clothing or shoe store, contractor, pool service, yard care. It all is the same so be honest with each other! Thank you NY | 1:08 a.m. Mar. 18, 2008
My relatives are losing their houses because of an MLM fraud scheme and I can't get the story posted.

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