March 22, 2017
Recognizing a Pyramid Scheme is crucial in avoiding the chance of losing your money to a fraudulent business or investment scam. Here are 6 simple questions you can ask yourself before becoming involved in a company and to decide if it is a legitimate opportunity or a pyramid scheme:
- Has the company been in business for a long time, and if so, do they have a good reputation?
- Do I personally know anyone that has participated in the company? If so, what has their experience been?
- How do the risks compare with the potential rewards?
- Is the compensation plan easy to understand?
- Is the company licensed? If so, is it with reputable companies or organizations?
- If the company sells products, are the products exclusively available to those who pay for a membership and begin recruiting others?
Business Credentials and Reputation
Most fraudulent companies can only get away with their crimes for so long until the FTC catches wind of it. If the business has been operating for more than a few years, that is a good sign. Certain MLM companies have been around for a very long time and have remained in good standing with the FTC. You can even visit the scam alerts section of the FTC website and search a particular company. For example, you could input “is Kayani a pyramid scheme” and you will see that nothing comes up. Yet if you search “Herbalife” you will see several articles about their recent settlement.
Check to see what sort of credentials the business has or any affiliations it has made. If the business is registered with the Direct Selling Association or the Better Business Bureau, those are good signs. Pyramid scheme MLM companies usually won’t take the time to register with affiliations as that is the time they could be using to scam and sell before they get shut down. Regulatory agencies that review direct selling businesses will routinely investigate the business to make sure that they are adhering to the appropriate guidelines and regulations for the industry.
Look at online reviews and see what people are saying about the company. Try to look for any indications of fraud or people being tricked into signing up. It is important to take certain reviews with a grain of salt as people are more likely to post negative reviews online rather than positive. Pay less attention to the score or rating given by review sites and more to what real customers or distributors are saying. Or if you know someone who is involved in the company, and you trust their opinion, ask them what their experience has been like and if it has been a worthwhile experience.
Risk vs. Reward
Some companies may require a significant investment to join. Others don’t require any sort of upfront purchase or membership fee. Do your homework and decide if the initial investment and any other expenses are worth it. Ask the questions you need and don’t commit to anything until you get all of your answers.
Research what kind of income you can expect to make based on the average income of other people who have joined the company. MLM companies are required to share an income disclosure statement on their website in order to be transparent with the public regarding what percentage of distributors earn a commission and how much that commission is on average. Set realistic expectations for yourself, as there truly is not a “get rich quick” scheme out there that actually works.
What to Do If You Think It’s A Pyramid Scheme
If you went through all 6 questions and suspect a Pyramid Scheme, steer clear of whatever company or investment opportunity being presented to you. If you are involved in a company that seems to be a pyramid scheme, it may be wise to strategically withdraw your money and exit the company before it is too late. Additionally, make contact with the SEC to alert them of the possible fraudulent activity.
March 13, 2017
If you’re a parent who has discovered your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol, you might feel scared, angry, and confused. It can be hard to know where to turn if your child needs help with a substance abuse problem. However, there are many kinds of help available. Your troubled teen may benefit from counseling, a rehabilitation program, or a live-in center such as a school. Consider which of these treatment options fits your child’s needs best.
Counseling may be the easiest and most efficient way to get your teen back on the right track if they have a minor, non-life-threatening substance abuse problem. A trained mental health professional can help your teen identify the reason they’re using drugs and develop healthier coping strategies instead. Counselors may utilize techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing to help teens make healthier decisions. Most high schools and colleges have counselors on staff. You can also look for independent counselors and therapists practicing in your area.
Inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment programs
Teens with more severe substance abuse problems may benefit from a more rigorous rehabilitation program. Inpatient programs, also called residential programs, can help your teen detox safely from drugs or alcohol in an environment where they’re not tempted to relapse. After finishing the detox phase of the program, your child will participate in individual and group therapy sessions to address the mental side of their addiction. Inpatient programs typically last anywhere from 30 to 120 days.
Outpatient programs are more flexible – they allow your teen to keep going to school and carrying out other activities. Most outpatient programs provide medically supervised detox, followed by counseling. While outpatient programs may increase the risk of relapse slightly, they also let your teen continue living a normal life while undergoing treatment.
Live-in treatment centers and schools
Troubled teens with severe addiction issues as well as behavioral issues may benefit from a highly structured live-in program. Live-in treatment programs, such as Diamond Ranch Academy, provide the academic environment of a boarding school along with the counseling that troubled teens need to live a healthy, productive life. If you’re worried about your teen’s life skills and goals for the future, one of these programs may be the most effective way to help them. They have a highly qualified full-time staff that provides excellent curriculum choices as well as equestrian therapy and sports programs.
Your child’s drug or alcohol use doesn’t have to ruin their life – or yours. If you have a troubled teen, start learning about the many treatment options available today. A better life is within reach for your child.
January 31, 2017
Jury duty is a civic responsibility that many individuals want to avoid at all costs. All juries are essentially a group of peers who hear the particulars of a case without governmental interference with respect to the final determination of guilt or innocence by a petit jury in trials, or by returning indictments when sitting on a grand jury. Regardless of which type of jury for which an individual may be chosen, the criteria for being allowed a waiver is the same for both. Actually, the interview process before the selection is essentially for a jury pool from which official jurors. Grand jury service is probably more common, and is usually the initial focus of jury selection.
Potential Impact of Ignoring a Jury Summons
Those who decide that appearing for a jury interview or actual jury duty is not important are truly making a mistake because the court system actually has penalties in place that can be filed against the potential juror. It is effectively the same thing as being summoned to court. While being chosen for jury duty is a rarity for most people, some still want to avoid serving because it can be disrupting to the individual routine. But, the truth is that the judge can actually issue a warrant for the arrest of a non-compliant potential juror and the bench warrant can be served in any scenario, including while at work. The charge is effectively contempt of court and the judge can impose the penalty in the first hearing.
Avoiding Jury Duty
There are several legal methods of avoiding jury duty. Some of those are relatively surprising, while others are common sense reasoning. Convicted felons are immediately excluded from the potential jury pool because they may be influenced by the prior conviction with respect to applying appropriate penalties. However, most cases requiring a jury are actually civil cases. Anyone who actually approves of settlement law could also be influenced as well, so many times individuals who have filed a lawsuit are also waived. Actually, upper-level education could be a good reason because prosecutors do not necessarily want jurors who understand the process well. Mental stability can be a reason to request exclusion too, and this is stipulated in law. Actually, almost any medical problem will suffice in most instances when verifiable.
One of the most common reasons for not wanting to sit on a jury is financial when an employer wants to put pressure on an employee to avoid serving. There are several reasons the employer may want exclusion, but many employers do not realize they too can be cited for contempt if they instruct an employee to report for work and miss jury duty. This event is rare, but it does happen and is often the main underlying reason for wanting avoidance.
January 15, 2017
When any type of consumer product causes harm to a person, that person has the right to seek compensation from the manufacturer for the damages they received. This is applied to every industry that creates a product for public consumption. When that product causes harm to many people, the court system may combine all of the cases into a class action lawsuit.
Class action lawsuits are a way for the court to effectively manage multiple cases against the same product or manufacturer. This type of case is handled in a special court setting and by attorneys that are skilled at class action cases. When this type of case is heard, all of the Plaintiffs that have been injured by the product are being represented at the same time.
Do I Have To Join A Class Action Lawsuit?
If you have been injured by a product that is currently a part of a class action lawsuit, yoru attorney may recommend that you join the class action suit because it would be the most beneficial action for your case. This means that the injuries you received were very similar to those of the people already in the lawsuit and the outcome of the case would be beneficial to you.
However, if your injuries are different than those included in the case, your attorney may request that you file an individual case against the manufacturer. This will allow you to present the specifics related to your case and seek the appropriate compensation for your losses.
You are not required to join a class action case, even if your injuries are the same or similar to those in the class action suit. You have the right to seek compensation as an individual. However, most attorneys will inform you that class action cases often produce better results for the Plaintiffs who have similar injuries.
If you decide to join the class action suit, your attorney will prepare the proper documentation for you to join the lawsuit. All aspects of your case will take place as part of that action from that time forward unless you withdraw from the case and seek compensation on your own.
The only true drawback to a class action case is time. Class action hearings often take longer to complete. When there are so many Plaintiffs involved in one case, the time it takes to prepare and present this type of case is extended. Where individual cases may finalize quickly, class action suits may take several years to complete. If the Defendant appeals the verdict, the finalization process could take even longer.
Overall, the best thing that you can do when you have been injured by a defective product or dangerous medication is speak to an attorney. Your attorney will review the facts of your case to determine which method, either individual or class action, would be the most beneficial to your case.
January 12, 2017
Are you an avid user of social media? If so, I fervently hope you plan to keep up with your child support payments. Criminal investigators will use whatever means at their disposal in order to catch deadbeat dads, and this would include examining the Facebook and Twitter universe to see if they have a presence there. Message: if you use Facebook and don’t pay for your baby’s child support, you WILL get caught. Here are some examples:
Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
A man in Milwaukee County found out the hard way that social media can do a person in after he failed to make any child support payments for a total of three years. The man was finally busted in February 2013 after someone tipped off the local district attorney’s office about the nature of the man’s Facebook posts. Interestingly enough, the man actually had numerous photos of liquor bottles and cash plastered all over his social media profile. If he had enough money to have wads of cash and buy liquor then he definitely had enough to pay his child support.
This state has began to aggressively target deadbeat dads on social media in another way: if you fail to pay your child support, you can expect to have your face plastered all over Facebook. Governor Doug Ducey, himself a father of three, called out deadbeat dads in his latest State of the Union address: “For too long, you have been able to remain anonymous – able to skirt your financial and legal responsibilities with no shame. Not anymore,” Ducey said.
Novia Scotia maintenance enforcement workers are looking to harness the power of social media in new ways in order to make deadbeats pay up. Currently, the only way they are able to notify anyone is through the mail or by phone. These Canadian officials are looking to change what counts as a notification to emails or private messages on Facebook. So there! Even in Canada you can run but you can’t hide. The time is now to pay up or face public shaming at its finest in this day and age.