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FHTM / A Legal Pryamid

1 NC, United States Review updated:

I was approached by someone from FHTM the business concept looks great. When I looked deeper into it you can make money soley off of the recruitment and also off of the monthly subscription fee of $25 for your website. They do pay people and people make money at it . But I would say that it is a very well ran a legit pryamid based of off subscription fees. Maybe i'm wrong but this is what I found out. First off all is this legal?

Ra
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  • On
      5th of Mar, 2010

    It is legal only because it involves services and products. However with FHTM you have to purchase 3 points as they call them. They recommend a website, a conference call access and one other of your choice (one acts like AAA where they will help you if you have car trouble and one called park amusement where you get coupons for dinners and movies etc). Each of those points cost $20- 30 a month. They also reward you with other coupons and other such credit for signing people up for cell phones and cable instead of that guy at the quiosk at the mall or the guy on the other side of the phone getting credit for it. So you are not directly paid for some of the services and products, you mostly get commission for recruiting sales reps underneath you, so in theory it is a pyramid scheme but its legal because there are products and services as well.

    0 Votes
  • Ne
      7th of Jun, 2010

    Pyramid is against the law, seems you are closed minded person. In todays struggling economy and our governmemnt taking our business over seas we are left to what? I have good friend in the business and doing very well. Average people doing what is right in America, making money and providing a better way of life. The company is debt free and pays good hard workers with a decent income. This Business requires work. Open minded people only. You already use the service or some, so why not get paid. I guess some people expect things be really easy, hard work pays off. So be best that you do not join as it seems you are close minded and negative thinker. Go watch The Secret, anything is possible. Who can you trust, Corporate America, US Govenment and are you end a dead end job? Learn to take risk.

    -1 Votes
  • Le
      5th of Aug, 2010

    FHTM operates an unlawful product-based endless recruiting pyramid scheme that relies on untrue and misleading representations and unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business practices. While FHTM purports to be in the business of selling name-brand services like wireless, satellite television, home security, vitamins, nutritional products and travel services, its true business is using consumers to generate fee income for representing non-existent partnerships, major sports figures, and prominent businessmen. To entice consumers to participate, FHTM makes untrue or misleading claims regarding its relationship with Fortune 100 companies like Verizon Wireless, GE Security, Dish Networks and Travelocity to create the illusion that consumers can become millionaires in three to five years.

    FHTM’s growth exploded when it began to lure consumers disenchanted with traditional jobs and the recession that began in 2007 to inspirational and high-pressure business opportunity seminars touting an innovative business model that promises huge financial rewards through multi-level network marketing. FHTM erring presenters claim to have proprietary tools, special relationships, and other support that allow consumers to grow their own business by partnering with FHTM’s “companies”.

    It would not be long before Isaacs (and the world) made several troubling discoveries about FHTM’s business plan and practices that doused his enthusiasm: (1) Paul Orberson had not made any special arrangements with the companies mentioned at the business opportunity/presentation seminar or in the company produced videos; (2) the only way to earn a significant income and be promoted up the ranks was to recruit additional IRs; (3) FHTM had not received regulatory approval for its pyramiding scheme in every state; (4) only a handful of IRs had earned anywhere near the residuals projected; (5) the prominent businessmen, politicians, former attorney generals and sports figures to whom FHTM constantly alluded were in fact IRs actively promoting their own FHTM business; and (6) a growing number of state attorneys general had already begun investigating FHTM in response to numerous complaints.

    It turns out that FHTM’s ‘innovative’ marketing plan is nothing more than a face lift to an age-old scheme. According to the FTC’s Consumer Protection Bureau:

    Pyramid schemes now come in so many forms that they may be difficult to recognize immediately. However, they all share one overriding characteristic. They promise consumers or investors large profits based primarily on recruiting others to join their program, not based on profits from any real investment or real sale of goods to the public. Some schemes may purport to sell a product, but they often simply use the product to hide their pyramid structure. There are two tell-tale signs that a product is simply being used to disguise a pyramid scheme: inventory loading and a lack of retail sales. Inventory loading occurs when a company's incentive program forces recruits to buy more products than they could ever sell, often at inflated prices. If this occurs throughout the company's distribution system, the people at the top of the pyramid reap substantial profits, even though little or no product moves to market. The people at the bottom make excessive payments for inventory that simply accumulates in their basements. A lack of retail sales is also a red flag that a pyramid exists. Many pyramid schemes will claim that their product is selling like hot cakes. However, on closer examination, the sales occur only between people inside the pyramid structure or to new recruits joining the structure, not to consumers out in the general public.

    Nonetheless, the truth is catching up with FHTM. On December 10, 2009, The North Dakota Attorney General's Office filed a Cease and Desist Order for violation of the Consumer Fraud Law, the Transient Merchant Law, the Home Solicitation Sales Law, and the North Dakota Pyramid Schemes Act. On January 19, 2010, FHTM entered into a Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with the North Dakota Attorney General's Office. On March 16, 2010, the Montana State Auditor's Office filed a Temporary Cease and Desist Order against FHTM, Paul C. Orberson, Thomas A. Mills, and Dianne Graber (a Montana IR). According to the Montana State Auditor's Office, FHTM has engaged in acts or practices constituting violations of the Securities Act of Montana, Montana Code ANN.30-10-101 et seq. On April 22, 2010, FHTM agreed to pay nearly $1 million and to change its business practices to resolve the charge that it is operating a pyramid promotional scheme.

    With each passing day, more states are jumping on FHTM’s bandwagon. The alarming rise in consumer complaints and governmental sanctions has prompted the Better Business Bureau of Central and Eastern Kentucky to downgrade FHTM’s rating from “B-” to “F”. At the same time, a proliferation of online bulletin boards and blogs, such as https://www.complaintsboard.com and www.scams.com criticize FHTM’s pyramid scheme confirms that Isaacs’ experience is not unique. Will those operations be the next target of Fortune’s high price legal team?

    http://www.sao.mt.gov/legal/securities/S10_HITECH Cease and Desist.pdf

    http://www.whas11.com/news/business/I-Team-Inivestigation-Fortune-Hi-Tech-Marketing-94266814.html

    http://www.whas11.com/community/I-Team-Investigation-Fortune-Hi-Tech-Marketing-94273719.html

    Dec 10, 2009
    North Dakota Attorney General issues a Cease and Desist against Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing for several violations
    http://www.ag.state.nd.us/documents/FortuneCeaseandDesist.pdf

    http://www.ag.state.nd.us/NewsReleases/2009/12-11-09.pdf

    March 4th, 2010
    Montana State Auditor issues a Cease and Desist against Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing after receiving numerous complaints
    http://www.sao.mt.gov/legal/securities/S10_HITECH Cease and Desist.pdf
    KFBB News video
    http://www.kfbb.com/news/local/87709867.html?video=YHI&t=a

    March 7, 2010
    A thin line between legal and illegal in multi-level marketing
    http://www.kentucky.com/2010/03/07/1171075/a-thin-line-between-legal-and.html

    March 10, 2010
    Peter Lamas Pulls out of FHTM in the U.S.
    http://gravittefhtm.info/wordpress/?p=234

    March 17, 2010
    Kentucky Lexington Herald-Leader writes “Montana says Lexington Company is a pyramid scheme, Fortune Marketing company Banned”
    http://www.kentucky.com/2010/03/17/1184218/montana-says-lexington-company.html

    March 26, 2010
    Better Business Bureau News Center
    http://spokane.bbb.org/article/fortune-hi-tech-marketing-of-ky-holding-meetings-in-region-recruiting-in-wa-state-18461

    March 27, 2010
    Washington KNDO News aired “Better Business Bureau warns about possible pyramid scheme”
    http://www.kndo.com/Global/story.asp?S=12214040

    April 22nd, 2010
    FHTM agrees to pay nearly $1 million to settle allegations that FHTM was operating a pyramid promotional scheme in Montana.
    http://www.sao.mt.gov/news/20100422HiTech.html

    May 18th, 2010
    San Antonio, Texas Ken5 news airs false claims about FHTM
    http://www.kens5.com/news/local/Shady-network-marketing-company-comes-to-San-Antonio-area-94208419.html

    May 19th & 20th, 2010
    I-Team Investigation in Louisville, KY, FHTM’s home state, did a 2 part investigation into FHTM. Supported by supportive facts
    http://www.whas11.com/news/business/I-Team-Inivestigation-Fortune-Hi-Tech-Marketing-94266814.html

    May 27th, 2010
    Charlotte, NC WCNC News exposes high profile people in FHTM found to be untrue
    http://www.wcnc.com/home/Pyramid-scheme-recruits-high-profile-sales-reps-94971214.html

    May 27th, 2010
    Charlotte, NC – Charlotte, Observer
    'Pyramid scheme' recruits high profile sales reps
    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/05/27/1462263/pyramid-scheme-recruits-high-profile.html

    July 15, 2010
    WCNC News Charlotte, NC I-Team Investigation exposes FHTM’s earnings
    http://www.wcnc.com/home/IN-FHTM-PYRAMID-SCHEME-FEW-EARN-MUCH-MONEY---98543069.html

    Lexington, KY BBB has given FHTM the lowest rating for a company an F for most of the year
    http://www.lexington.bbb.org/commonreport.html?compid=14004419

    +1 Votes
  • Bn
      5th of Aug, 2010

    No, FHTM does not fit the traditional definition of a pyramid scheme. Real products and services are being sold to consumers through the network of Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing representatives. These products and services include cell phone plans, internet telephone service plans, nutritional supplements and travel discounts.

    However, since reps are independent, it is not known at any given time whether or not certain outlandish income claims are being made. Any company with thousands of sales representatives can potentially find itself misrepresented. There are plenty of representatives in this company who are successful.

    MLM business models are a legitimate method for the selling and promoting of consumer goods and services. However, when the company is found to be emphasizing recruitment of new distributors over the acquisition of product customers, this is where the legitimate MLM model can morph into a genuine pyramid scheme.

    Pyramid schemes are illegal as they focus mainly on fast money that is earned by selling the business opportunity that is, selling the opportunity to recruit others into the business instead of selling the opportunity to sell actual products and services. (see article by Cathy Yeatts)

    -1 Votes
  • Ba
      27th of Feb, 2011

    FHTM is no longer authorized to use the DuPont name, logo, or trademark in any way. FHTM should immediately discontinue the use of any materials containing the DuPont logo. Our right to use DuPont’s name, logo and trademark was revoked because FHTM abused the system by creating and distributing unapproved marketing materials that displayed the DuPont logo.

    0 Votes
  • Ba
      11th of Mar, 2011

    FTC Steps Up Efforts Against Scams That Target Financially-Strapped Consumers

    More Than 90 Actions Brought By Commission and Its Law Enforcement Partners

    The Federal Trade Commission today stepped up its ongoing campaign against scammers who falsely promise guaranteed jobs and opportunities to “be your own boss” to consumers who are struggling with unemployment and diminished incomes as a consequence of the economic downturn.

    “Operation Empty Promises, ” a multi-agency law enforcement initiative today announced more than 90 enforcement actions, including three new FTC cases and developments in seven other matters, 48 criminal actions by the Department of Justice (many of which involved the assistance of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service), seven additional civil actions by the Postal Inspection Service, and 28 actions by state law enforcement agencies in Alaska, California, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

    In a press conference at the FTC, David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, was joined by Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice; Greg Campbell, Deputy Chief Inspector of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper; and a California consumer who had bought into a program to start his own Internet business.

    “The victims of these frauds are our neighbors – people who are trying to make an honest living, ” said David C. Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Under pressure to make ends meet, they risked their limited financial resources in response to the promise of a job, an income – a chance at a profitable home-based business. But these turned out to be empty promises – and the people who counted on them ended up with high levels of frustration and even higher levels of debt.”

    The FTC has updated consumer education materials to help consumers avoid falling victim to these scams. Screen shots from the websites of some of the operators charged in this law enforcement sweep, as well as video footage of FTC Consumer Protection Director Vladeck and FTC attorney Daniel Hanks, are also available at ftc.gov/bizopps or youtube.com/FTCvideos.

    www.fhtmclassaction.info for all of the latest reports on this scam

    0 Votes
  • Ba
      8th of Apr, 2011

    According to Corporate Frauds Watch
    In 'MLM business opportunity' frauds, direct association with trusted brands has been a lie by Shyam

    In a previous post, I drew your free-thinking readers' attention to some remarkable optical illusions which clearly demonstrate that the human mind can be easily deceived simply by changing the context in which we see things http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11553099 . A stalking-panther, when photographed in a jungle environment, is almost invisible to the human eye if shown only in black and white, but the same dangerous predator is immediately obvious to us when shown in color. Two squares of identical color and shade, appear to be of completely different color and shade when each one is surrounded by squares which alter the context in which our minds automatically see them.

    No one now seriously disputes that deluded, core-'MLM' adherents look at 'MLM business opportunity' frauds only in two dimensions, 'positive' and 'negative.' A growing mountain of quantifiable evidence proves that vast numbers of ill-informed people have been deceived into entering this style of camouflaged totalitarian cult, then, on the pretext that 'the duplication of a step-by-step positive plan will lead to success, ' they have been intellectually-castrated (without their fully-informed consent) so that their minds will only accept what their leaders have arbitrarily defined as 'positive, ' and to exclude what these same charlatans have arbitrarily defined as 'negative.' When seen only in the fake 'positive' context of: 'Business', 'Independence', 'Financial Freedom', 'Direct Selling', 'Low Risk', 'Income Opportunity', etc. 'MLM business opportunity' frauds can appear to be authentic. This dangerous inversion of reality has been further confirmed by (apparently independent) : celebrity endorsements, glossy-advertizing, 'Direct Selling Associations', etc.; all of which form a pattern of ongoing, major, racketeering activity, because all these artificially-created, fake 'positive' contexts have actually been financed by the profits of fraud in order to continue to perpetrate the same fraud. It is only when you take 'MLM business opportunity' frauds out of their artificially-created, fake 'positive' contexts, that their true, predatory nature becomes immediately obvious.

    One of the most-deceptive, fake 'positive' contexts in which 'MLM business opportunity' frauds have been presented is there apparent direct association with trusted brands. Currently, in the USA, the millionaire racketeers behind the 'Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing' lie are being challenged in court for having pretended direct association with some of America's most famous companies: including: General Electric, DuPont, Time, Verizon Wireless and AT&T, Travelocity, Peter Lamas and BSP Rewards Mall. For, according to documents presented in court, none of these companies has ever had a direct association with 'FHTM.' Furthermore, the officers of all these companies were actually unaware that their valuable brand-names and trademarks were being used by racketeers to commit fraud. The only connection that the 'FHTM' fake has had with all these authentic companies is that 'FHTM' has been a corporate customer of their products and services. Yet again, the use of this devious technique of psychological persuasion has been copied from the original 'MLM business opportunity' fraud, 'Amway.'

    According to an 'FHTM' whistleblower, Joseph Isaacs: 'When these companies find out that their trademarks, names, logos and reputations are being used by FHTM in order to aide FHTM in proving its legitimacy they will issue a cease and desist order, insist on actions to stop or not allow FHTM to market their products'. Indeed, currently every one of the companies listed above has either issued a cease and desist order against 'FHTM, ' or no longer allows itself to be aligned with 'Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing.'

    Again, according to Joseph Isaacs, 'FHTM leaders would systematically tell prospects during presentations that FHTM must be legal, because no iconic Fortune 100 company would affiliate with a scam' and that 'all of these major companies had sent their CEO’s and legal teams to meet with FHTM founder, Paul Orberson, to evaluate his MLM company.' Self-evidently these scripted-lies were part of an overall pattern of ongoing, major, racketeering activity.

    David Brear (copyright 2011)

    0 Votes
  • Te
      12th of Jul, 2011

    I have been in FHTM for a year now. I increased my income to pay off debt! Part time I have made a lot more than I did as an educator! The company pays out for sales brought into the company! Instead of selling door to door, just get a few people that want to make money using products and sharing that idea! The company is great!! People may mis-represent anything in life, don't let a few people ruin a great company and the chance for people to have an opportunity to make a great financial change in their life! What I have experienced in a year is that it does take hard work, most people are not willing to do what it takes to succeed! I don't see anyone slamming vacuum cleaner sales companies... The success rate is probably not good, what about all the small businesses that have gone under, was the whole plan to own a business a scam because they were not successful? In the world today, fill out an application.. Maybe you will get an interview... 15 show up.. They hire 1.. are jobs a scam?? Not everyone will be successful, But they at least have a Chance to TRY with FHTM!

    0 Votes

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