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30+ year retired entrepreneur turned writer after becoming famous for exposing the Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing pyramid scheme in 2010.
My company:
Skapegoat
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My book:
Skapegoat the FHTM Blame Game Story
  • Paul Orberson And Thomas Mills (FHTM) Banned From Network Marketing 1 comment
    May 28, 2013 10:59 AM

    Back in February 2013 I wrote a blog called "Paul Orberson buries FHTM", at which time I discussed his intention to utilize the FHTM customer list (distributor information is an FHTM asset) for his continued personal financial gain. After reading Facebook, Twitter and dozens of other blogging sites, it had become extremely obvious that Paul's wife Cheryl was the stand-in for him and that Zija had supposedly paid them seven figures to bring as many of the top ex-FHTM leaders and teams to their company. Some followed the Orberson name and have been bragging online how they made car bonuses in a mere day or week. Sound familiar? The misrepresentations continued up until this latest order is signed by Judge Forrester. At that point things must change, once and for all.

    As the famous television show - American Greed puts it, "Once a Crook, Always a Crook". Many dedicated Orberson followers said he would be back stronger than ever. His move to Zija was a way for all of them to continue the lies, misrepresentations and delusions of grandeur. The income claims thrived as leaders continued to use their old habits learned at FHTM. Recruiting was the only theme and a few at the top were being greatly rewarded. They had to fill a void in their income stream and the only way that most of these people could do that was with another crooked MLM that operated in similar fashion as the now defunct pyramid scheme FHTM.

    Hanging over Paul & Tom's head was an FTC Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) which prevented them from engaging in this type of deceitful business activity. Both of these guys thought they would have it lifted in the coming months and move on to further their wealth in this new MLM. I discussed those possible scenarios in detail in the previous blog. Conversations with the FTC must have paid off.

    In less than 90 days from those conversations and after multiple hearing continuations, as Orberson's legal team jockeyed for pole position, a stipulated agreement was being finalized. Initially I thought that an agreement was being negotiated to take "prison time" out of the equation and off the table for Orberson & Mills. I misjudged the wrath of the FTC lawyers.

    It is now totally obvious that the FTC and 3 AG's were pissed off to hear Orberson, through other family members, had not only gone to Zija to continue earning income in the same fashion as they had been doing with FHTM, but that Orberson's family had violated the TRO by making use of the FHTM company distributor list and confidentially protected/restrained information. The arrogance of Paul Orberson never ceases to amaze me. It appears that he still thinks he is above the world. His persona is overwhelming to most, but the FTC and their lawyers didn't appear to finch an eye or be intimidated in the least. It's about time someone was able to put him in his place.

    In a telephonic conference held on May 23rd, the parties informed the Kentucky Magistrate Judge that there was no longer a need for a hearing on the permanent injunction (and most of the remaining pending motions of the FHTM legal team) as all parties had effectively worked out a stipulated agreement on their own. It overwhelms me to finally see Orberson & Mills in the position that had me in for years, behind the eight ball. They are no longer the Goliath attempting to destroy the David. The shoe is now on the other foot for sure. Someone besides these gangsters actually had the upper hand.

    The next day a seventeen page agreement had been filed with the court and is awaiting approval by Judge Forrester. This agreement virtually bans Orberson & Mills from any involvement in network marketing or any other business activity that they want to affiliate themselves with. They agreed to this because they knew they were so deep in a hole that they had no choice.

    According to the stipulated agreement Orberson & Mills are forbidden from engaging in, participating in, or assisting others in the advertising, marketing, promotion, or operation of any Marketing Program. A "Marketing Program" includes, but is not limited to, any multi-level marketing program, business investment opportunity, pyramid marketing scheme, Ponzi scheme, or chain marketing scheme.

    The Agreement further freezes all current and future assets of FHTM, Paul Orberson and Tom Mills including any accounts that may be jointly held in their names or control. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Stipulating Defendants are hereby restrained and enjoined from transferring, liquidating, converting, encumbering, pledging, loaning, selling, concealing, dissipating, disbursing, assigning, spending, withdrawing, granting a lien or security interest or other interest in, or otherwise disposing of any funds, real or personal property, accounts, contracts, shares of stock, lists of consumer names, or other assets, or any interest therein, wherever located, including outside the territorial United States.

    In other words all of their assets are permanently frozen and any foreign assets and/or trusts must be repatriated back to the USA. The funds, property, and assets affected by this Section shall include both existing assets and assets acquired after the effective date of this Order. Stipulated Defendants are further prohibited from operating any new business, regardless of its form, without the written permission of the FTC. Are their hands finally tied from being involved in any other form of pyramid scheme? Does this mean their income from Zija is considered a future asset now under the control of the receiver too? They will be forced to quit that position and with certainly Zija will be fighting for the signing bonus back.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Stipulating Defendants, are prohibited from disclosing any FHTM customer information including benefiting from or using the name, address, birth date, telephone number, email address, Social Security number, Social Insurance number, credit card number, bank account number, or other financial or identifying personal information of any person from whom or about whom any Defendant obtained such information in connection with activities alleged in Plaintiffs' Complaint.

    The Presidential Ambassadors that followed Orberson to Zija and generated money for the Orberson family have aided and abetted Orberson in violating this section of the injunction. What will be the penalty asserted on them by the government?

    Robb Evans and Associates got the green light to take, full and total, control of all assets of Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing, Alan Clark Holdings, the Canadian FHTM, the British FHTM as well as Paul C. Orberson and Thomas Mills on a permanent basis. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Robb Evans & Robb Evans and Associates, LLC, is appointed Permanent Equity Receiver.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Stipulating Defendants are hereby restrained and enjoined from taking any action, directly or indirectly, which may result in the encumbrance or dissipation of foreign assets, or in the hindrance of the repatriation required by this Order.

    The FTC has now stopped Orberson & Mills dead in their tracks. The agreement wasn't without any concessions by the FTC and AG's. In exchange for Orberson & Mills agreeing to a permanent injunction and total asset freeze the FTC allowed some of the FHTM insurance money to be used for their defense. It looks like the FTC threw them a bone before they ran them over like the dogs they are.

    They were given an opportunity to defend themselves. Where is junior Orberson in all of this mess? Is he not defending his god like father or will he negotiate a deal to keep his ill-gotten money and move on? Will Jeff Orberson be added to the suit as a future defendant? What will Orberson and Mills due after quickly burning through the $2 Million dollars of insurance money? The multiple legal teams they have and had will get burned for fees again just like Ed Burbach's firm did in the case against me. With 3 large legal teams in place today, how will the funds shake out?

    What happens to all of the large chunks of money Orberson contributed to athletic organizations over the years for naming rights on buildings? Will those organizations want to keep his namesake on top of their facility, in light of these pyramid scheme allegations? Better yet, will the receiver have the stones to go after those millions and claw them back? Will those institutions remove his name when they are forced to give back the Orberson contribution? They should. The only thing that should have naming rights for Paul Orberson is the prison block he will be in when this case is over.

    Since this agreement is almost finalized, a bigger and more interesting set of questions come to mind. How long will it take Robb Evans office to begin negotiations or file suit to claw back all of the ill-gotten money from the rest of the Mills and Orberson families? How long will it take to repatriate the overseas funds they hold? At what point in his receivership will he begin to claw-back the money from the top Presidential Ambassadors that FHTM had? Will Ruel Morton, Todd Rowland, Joel McNinch, Ken Baily and all of the others be forced to return the millions they made, over the years, at the expense of the hundreds of thousands of victims?

    Will this process and injunction destroy the class actions pending before the same Kentucky judge? At the very least the receiver is now forced to rescind the appeal Fortune Hi-Tech filed with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals last November. Does the FTC case take precedence over the class action when it comes to returning money to the victims of this fraud? Will Kenyon Myers and the class action lawyers try and negotiate some minor settlement for the plaintiffs in their case as well as legal fees? Will the whistleblowers get anything from this mess other than personal gratification? Will the FTC now go after Zija, Ariix, Herbalife or ACN next?

    Only time will tell. Once thing is certain, this isn't the end - it is only the beginning of this case.

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  • marcshamus
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    Such a real shame indeed. and now with Paul Passing, I guess it closes a chapter in MLM. I wonder how it affects all the outstanding lawsuits and loose ends still remaining from the FHTM scandal.

     

    In spite of this, I remember Paul from back in the days at Excel Communications during the mid 90's when I was aggressively promoting there at the same time. He was a smart marketer and knew that you had to keep the conversation real simple with prospects.

     

    He knew that he needed to quickly remove himself out of the equation so the prospect did not base the opportunity on him alone. I learned a lot from his wisdom then. Condolences to the family and friends of Paul. He will be missed.

     

    All the Best,
    Marc Shamus
    8 Dec 2013, 08:46 AM Reply Like
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