Summary: Mr. Brooks is a lawyer in Brookline, Massachusetts. Over the past 35 years Mr. Brooks has litigated a wide variety of civil cases nationwide, including matters involving franchising, dealerships and product distribution, as well as securities, antitrust and consumer protection class actions. Mr. Brooks has substantial experience representing the victims of fraudulent and deceptive multi-level marketing (“MLM”) schemes. He has represented MLM distributors in putative and certified class actions in state and federal courts, and is frequently consulted by consumer advocates, the media and other attorneys concerning MLM issues. Mr. Brooks was class counsel in one of the most significant MLM cases, in which the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a MLM firm could not avoid being characterized as a pyramid scheme simply by having rules against inventory loading and requiring retail sales; it has to actually enforce rules which ensure that distributors retail products to persons who are not themselves part of the sales force. See Webster v. Omnitrition International, Inc., 79 F.3d 776, 782 (9th Cir. 1996), cert. den. 519 U.S. 865 (1996). Mr. Brooks represented a class of Nu Skin Canada distributors and won rulings that MLM distributors in Canada could sue under the federal securities laws, and that such claims should be certified for class action treatment. See Capone v. Nu Skin Canada, Inc. Case No. 93-C-2855 (D. Utah). In a case involving victims of a “buying club” which sold memberships through a MLM system, Mr. Brooks successfully argued that securities claims should be upheld and that an arbitration clause in the MLM distributor contract should not be enforced because it violated the public policy of the State of New York. See Rhodes v. Consumers' Buyline, Inc., 668 F.Supp. 368 (D. Mass. 1993). Mr. Brooks obtained substantial class settlements for distributors in two cases involving Herbalife “lead generation systems.” See Jacobs v. Herbalife International, Inc., Case No. CV 02-01431 (C.D. Cal.) and Minton v. Herbalife International, Inc., Case No. BC 338305 (Cal. Super. Ct., Los Angeles Cty). Mr. Brooks successfully defended the operator of the www.mlmsurvivor.com web site against claims of defamation by a high level Amway distributor. See Deimler v. Scheibeler, et al, No. 2003 CV 1405 CV (Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas, Pennsylvania). Most recently Mr. Brooks represented 18 former Herbalife distributors who objected to the class action settlement in Bostick v. Herbalife (C.D.Cal.). Mr. Brooks has worked pro bono for a number of non-profit organizations involved in the effort to educate and protect consumers from deceptive and fraudulent MLM schemes, including Pyramid Scheme Alert (www.pyramidschemealert.org), the Consumer Awareness Institute (www.MLM-thetruth.com), Quackwatch (www.quackwatch.com and www.mlmwatch.org), MLM Survivor (www.mlmsurvivor.com), and the Rick A. Ross Institute (www.rickross.com). Since 1995 Mr. Brooks has participated in rule-making proceedings by the Federal Trade Commission concerning its proposed business opportunity rule in which he has argued for disclosure and conduct regulation of the MLM industry. Representative Decisions: NXIVM Corp. v. Ross Institute, 364 F.3d 471 (2nd Cir. 2004) (Mr. Brooks successfully opposed efforts to obtain a preliminary injunction against his client, a non-profit anti-cult organization, in lawsuit alleging Copyright and Lanham Act violations, including plaintiff’s appeal to the Second Circuit and petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court; Mr. Brooks is representing the defendant pro bono); Wolinetz v. Berkshire Life Insurance Co., 361 F.3d 44 (1st Cir. 2004) (Mr. Brooks obtained a ruling reversing summary judgment in a “vanishing premium” case); In re: AOL Version 5.0 Software Litigation, 168 F.Supp.2d 1359 (S.D.Fla. 2001) (Mr. Brooks represented internet service providers suing America Online for distributing software that interfered with customers seeking to use their services); Scheck v. Burger King Corp., 756 F.Supp. 543 (S.D.Fla. 1991) (widely cited case in which Mr. Brooks successfully opposed summary judgment in encroachment claim by franchisee), further opinion, 798 F.Supp. 692 (S.D.Fla. 1992) (denying motion for reconsideration); Szymanski v. Boston Mutual Life Ins. Co., 56 Mass.App. 367 (2002), rev. den., 438 Mass. 1106 (2003) (reversing summary judgment in vanishing premium litigation); Oganesov v. GNC Franchising Inc., Bus. Franchise Guide (CCH) ¶11,808 (Pa. Ct. Cmn. Pl., March 3, 2000) (awarding $700,000 judgment for franchisee in encroachment litigation; Mr. Brooks represented the franchisee at trial and in the franchisor’s appeals), aff’d, Bus. Franchise Guide (CCH) ¶12,163 (Pa.Super. 2001); Gentle Wind Project v. Garvey, 2005 WL 40064 (D.Me. January 10, 2005) (Mr. Brooks successfully obtained dismissal of claims by alleged cult against operator of cult information web site); Richards v. Arteva Specialties SARL, 66 Mass. App. 726 (2006) (Mr. Brooks successfully obtained reversal of trial court ruling dismissing indirect purchaser antitrust action under Massachusetts consumer protection law). Admissions: Mr. Brooks is a member of the bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First and Third Circuits. He has been admitted pro hac vice in many state and federal courts across the country. Bar Associations: Mr. Brooks is a member of the American and Massachusetts Bar Associations and a member of the Forum on Franchising of the American Bar Association. Mr. Brooks was a speaker at the 1995 Annual Forum on Franchising of the American Bar Association, where he delivered a paper entitled "Survey Evidence - Use of Collected Data in Encroachment Cases" and has been a speaker at conventions of the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers and the American Franchisee Association. Education: Suffolk University Law School (J.D. 1982) (Note Editor, Suffolk Transnational Law Journal, 1981-82); Northwestern University (B.A. 1979).
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I am interested in researching and writing unique articles that combine politics and finance. With a background in Political Science and Economics, I often look at the impact regulations have on the bottom line. I generally take a short perspective when looking at companies.
Too many companies get away with lying to investors and the public. I hope that my articles can shine some light on the misstatements made by various management teams and add to improved corporate governance in this country.
Dean, School of Business and Professor of Marketing at The College of New Jersey. Co-author with Peter Vander Nat, a senior economist at the FTC, of 2002 and 2014 journal articles on pyramid schemes and multilevel marketing. Also served as an expert witness in the prosecution of pyramid schemes, including Gold Unlimited, brought by the US Department of Justice, and International Heritage Inc, at the time the largest pyramid scheme prosecuted by the SEC.
Matt Stewart is a private investor, former vice president & director of RBC Dominion Securities Inc. in Toronto and holds an Honors BA from the University of Western Ontario and an MBA from the F.W. Olin School of Business at Babson College. Matt also represented all BCE common shareholders as the 'intervenor' in the BCE v. Bondholder's case argued before the Supreme Court of Canada in July, 2008.
Bruce Craig is an attorney, He lives in New York City with his wife after moving from Madison, Wisconsin in 2000. He retired from the Wisconsin Department of Justice in 1997, after 30 years of service, in the capacity of Assistant Attorney General and served, of counsel, with a Madison law firm for two years thereafter. His primary responsibility at the Wisconsin Department of Justice was as a litigating attorney in its Office of Consumer Protection, duties included a number of cases against pyramid schemes. He was also involved in anti-trust litigation and in the area of criminal appeals. While in New York he has volunteered with the New York Legal Assistance Group, the New York Attorney General's office, and with the Attorney General's project at Columbia Law School. He is presently inactive as a volunteer, but has been active on Seeking Alpha and other forums dealing with the subject of pyramid schemes.
Robert L. FitzPatrick is an expert in examining and revealing deception and fraud in Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes and bogus home-based businesses. He is an internationally recognized authority in multi-level marketing schemes and pyramid sales fraud. Robert FitzPatrick is not an investor in multi-level marketing companies. He has never owned and never plans to own stocks of multi-level marketing companies. He does not offer investment advice and he is not an attorney.
He is co-author of False Profits, the first book to critically examine the recent rise in pyramid and Ponzi schemes in home-based businesses. He was featured on NBC Dateline, ABC World News, and he was interviewed by correspondent Mike Wallace on CBS 60 Minutes. He has been interviewed live on NBC Today show, Canada's CBC National News, Christian Broadcasting Network, and on several BBC radio news programs aired in the UK. He has been quoted in many newspapers around the world, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
In 2012, False Profits will be published in Mandarin by Nanjiing University Press. The booklet, Pyramid Nation by Robert FitzPatrick, has been translated to Chinese and used by government regulators in writing China's first laws on pyramid schemes. His essay, "The 10 Big Lies of Multi-Level Marketing", has been translated into four languages and posted on numerous websites. His White Paper, "The Main Street Bubble", which details the extensive influence-buying of the direct selling industry and in the failure of federal regulators to protect consumers from pyramid marketing fraud has been read by staff circulated among members of Congress.
In June 2005, Robert FitzPatrick was asked by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to address banking representatives from that country as well as India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo. The presentation was later published as part of a consumer education campaign against pyramid and Ponzi schemes.
Robert FitzPatrick was a featured speaker at the 2006 annual meeting in San Francisco of the Association of Certified Fraud Specialists. He has developed informational resources for consumers, journalists, academics and regulators including a multi-media PowerPoint presentation and a statistical analysis of the losses suffered by participants in pyramid selling schemes. He also published a widely read booklet on the landmark federal case brought against the Amway Corporation.
He is a expert network member of GLG Research, and Coleman Research Group, as well as other networks of experts who are referred to clients for consultation, speaking and report writing. In this capacity, he has provided expert consultation to financial many analysts who sought information about multi-level marketing companies and pyramid and Ponzi schemes.
Robert FitzPatrick co-founded and serves as president of Pyramid Scheme Alert, the first international organization to expose and prevent pyramid scheme fraud. He personally responds to hundreds of consumer and news media inquiries. He has served as consultant and expert witness for Attorney General or State Attorney offices in four states, the US Dept. of Justice, and in numerous cases involving distributor fraud and pyramid schemes.