The Most Unlikely Bernie Madoff Savior
Hair Balls' faith in humanity was temporarily restored this week when we saw a press release headlined "Texas Millionaire Offers Support to Charity Victims of Bernard Madoff." As you know, a lot of good non-profits, like the Innocence Project of Texas, which has helped free a bunch of wrongly convicted men in the last few years, lost money in Madoff's alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme.
So our first thought was: "Wow, T. Boone Pickens is gonna help these folks out!" Followed quickly by, "Wow, Michael Dell is gonna help these folks out!" Followed by about 50 similar exclamations involving Texas millionaires. But we were surprised to see that the Savior-in-Question is a dude named Mike Dillard, a "multi-level-marketing guru" whose main schtick is claiming that he went from being a waiter in Austin to a millionaire in less than two years.
Dillard sells books, videos, and classes on how to be "magnetic" and build leads for your own MLM business.
For those people unfamiliar with, say, the Wonderful World of Amway, MLM works like this: you buy the rights to sell a product from a parent company -- but instead of actually selling the product, the real money comes from you selling the distribution rights to a "downline" of marketers, thus getting a commission from the sales that those people make when they start their own downlines.
Isn't that amazing?! And here's the thing: it is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like a Ponzi scheme, which works like this: investors in a fund get paid a return from money paid by other investors, instead of an actual profit. See? Ponzi scheme=bad; MLM=totally above-board and in no way the calling card of fly-by-night hucksters. Hair Balls can't think of a better way to help out victims who've been suckered by one man's egregiously unethical business practices.
Dillard's people weren't able to make him available for an interview. Frankly, Hair Balls was a bit concerned when Dillard's representative struggled to find a pen to actually write down our number. Funny -- we would've expected the representatives of one of America's greatest business mind to have, like, a writing instrument on hand. We also would've thought his representatives would've had an e-mail addy that wasn't a Yahoo! Account. But what does Hair Balls know? We're still trying to find a downline for that 100 boxes of soap we mail-ordered from a company in Utah!
-- Craig Malisow
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.