The Fully Disclosed Fraud

Until recent years, to “prove” that an endless chain income or sales scheme was a fraud only required explaining that it was in fact an endless chain. In other words, endless chain schemes were understood to be “inherent” frauds. They are not good businesses gone bad or good people doing wrong. They are, by definition, frauds, custom-designed scams that must deceive and will always cheat the majority who join them. The fraud of endless chains may be reduced to a simple fact: They make a false promise, much like a “bait and switch” proposition does. That endless chain promise is that everyone, always, has the opportunity to make unlimited money from an ever-expanding base of new investors.
On Wall Street, the losers are the latest investors, like those that got in at the end of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. On Main Street, the losers are the latest to join at the bottom of the multi-level marketing schemes’ “downlines.” That group churns and turns over year after year. New people join each year filled with hope, just like the people that had joined last year, before they “failed” and quit.