The COVID-19 pandemic has not only devastated many families by causing them to lose their employment, but it has also opened up opportunities for scammers to benefit from the crisis.
A lawsuit has been filed against Marlon and Lashonda Moore—the starring couple from the reality TV show “Family or Fiance” on Oprah Winfrey’s show for allegedly defrauding the black community for millions of dollars.
This couple was sued by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in federal court, and also by the Federal Trade Commission and the state of Arkansas, reported the Blaze.
“In general, these schemes falsely promise a big return—known as B.I.N.T. or Blessings In No Time read the FTC and Arkansas complaint.
Marlon Moore is known as DJ ASAP, which stands for “Always Serve A Purpose,” according to his promotional materials.
Marlon and Lashonda Moore once promised people an 800% financial payback in a week.
However, it turns out they’re operating a pyramid scheme known as “Blessings In No Time” or B.I.N.T.
An illegal pyramid scheme has two hallmarks: you must pay an upfront entry fee with the promise of a large payout, and you must attract others to do the same.
The pyramid scheme’s fundamental essence is that you put money in with the clear expectation of earning a significant payout. Thus, the core of the convention is that you’ll receive a significant “gift” in comparison to what you put up from others who join after you.
Participants were told that for an upfront charge of $1,400 or $1,425, they might receive a return of $11,200 or $11,400, respectively,—eight times their investment to a “blessing loom.”
Some of the participants receive the money they were promised. They, in turn, testify to their significant gains. However, after numerous rounds of this deceptive technique, the money runs out because there aren’t enough new customers prepared to make upfront payments.
Promoters frequently target certain populations with which they have a personal connection. For example, recruits are encouraged to bring in relatives and friends, fellow church members, and coworkers.
People are frequently pressured to recruit. The entire scheme eventually falls apart, and the last people to join—the wide base of the pyramid—lose all of their money.
In interviews, participants stated that the pair frequently reprimanded others for not recruiting enough.
The Moores were unable to be reached for comment. However, some of the victims have set up a website to report and chronicle the B.I.N.T. scheme’s abuses.
According to the Washington Post, one of the accused scheme’s victims, Coretta Vanterpool of Florida, lost roughly $13,000 to B.I.N.T., while her family lost over $30,000 to the Moores.
“They just made it sound so real, so nice,” said Vanterpool.
“A lot of people came in because they had been furloughed or they had lost their jobs,” she said. “Their companies had closed. A couple of ladies were about to lose their homes. I met one lady through the group who was trying to get the money so she could pay for chemotherapy.”
Other victims claimed they were lured in by the prospect of increasing their dark money.
“They were talking about building a Black community and building generational wealth,” said a California woman who participated in the scheme. “Those are the catchphrases now. They were just kind of selling people a dream.”
Even if a pyramid scheme does not immediately cause you harm, it will eventually cause damage to others, making it a dishonest means to make money.
Take your time to examine any business opportunities you come across. Then, during the presentation, don’t make any decisions.