Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Monday, June 16, 2014

The "new" GIN: as summer tunes up, Scamworld hums on

Tempus fugit, y'all! I just noticed that June is more than halfway over, and I've yet to make a June entry on the Whirled, except for a June 5 update on my May 29 post about imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau (plus a few remarks in the comments section on various posts). It's not that there's nothing to write about, because there is. There always is. I blame my lack of activity on a heat-induced torpor caused by summer bearing down upon my part of the planet. But a blogger's work is never done, so let's get busy.

Voldemort holds court
As reported earlier today by my friend Bernie at GINtruth.com, Kevin Trudeau's largest and arguably most successful scam, the Global Information Network, or GIN, has hit the ground running with its first pow-wow since the new owners took over. "And," Bernie writes, "it all starts with Chris McGarahan."

Ah, yes. Chris "Voldemort" McGarahan, long-time MLM huckster and one of the new co-owners of GIN (the others reportedly are Blaine Athorn, Troy McClain, Jeff Devine, and Greg Kramer). Chris is a loyal Trudeau buddy and was always one of the hard-sell spokes-thugs in GIN. (Here's an older "new" GIN page listing Chris as a "faculty member" -- it still lists Katie too, so is obviously not updated.) Numerous ex-GIN members have said they think that Chris is just as culpable in the GIN scam as Katie. But so far, everyone except Katie has gotten away with it.

Good for Bernie for providing this GINtruth update. I confess, though, that when I first started reading his post, I thought he was being far too kind to Chris just because he'd met him on a GIN cruise and Chris seemed to be a likeable bloke. Bernie called Chris' efforts to talk to the GIN members "commendable." I suppose that in light of the elitism of some of the New-Wage scalawags who were shining stars in GIN -- including Katie himself -- that sociability was somewhat noteworthy. But Bernie also noted that McGarahan practices what he preaches, and sticks with what works. From my perspective, what this really means is that McGarahan sticks with what works to extract money from people's pockets.

Indeed, numerous ex-GIN members have said that Chris was always one of the most aggressive pushers of the GIN Kool-Aid and was sometimes abrasive, nearly to the point of being abusive. And his being nice? Another one of my Facebook friends who has seen him in action said that making the rounds at tables was done begrudgingly; he was just working the room. My friend said, "At the first 5-star he even said that Kevin sent him to the bar to check up on people to see who was following Kevin's instructions to mingle and stay up late to network, and he was going to report back to him...I have seen Chris be very rude to people who didn't deserve it. He was always nice to members who followed his orders and upgraded, bought packages, and went to major events."

My friend added that Chris' "How To Go Platinum in 90 Days Seminar" was torture, "especially if you witnessed the aftermath." Yon Cole, Former dedicated GIN member, Scientology enthusiast, and current member of retired safecracker
Perry Kiraly's GIN ripoff WIN, took notes at one of those Platinum seminars, and shared it on his mygin web site.

Other friends, correspondents, and ex-GINthusiasts have had encounters with Chris where he was extremely rude and/or even verbally abusive.

Yet Chris apparently had his charms, and what he did was quite effective. He drew them in with his own personal story, even though like many scam artists his backstory wasn't always consistent -- he reportedly told GIN members back in the day that he made his first fortune with Trudeau in the MLM scheme Nutrition for Life back in 1996, but his own web site indicates that his first huge gains were in Rexall Showcase, now Unicity. (Oddly enough, there's no mention of Katie or GIN on that page, which features a pic of Chris in pre-Voldemort days). Chris' bio, shared often at live events, also includes the common narrative of coming up on "mean streets" and whatnot. Yawn. As another friend of mine said, he had a scammer's personality long before GIN. 

Here is what a former GIN Level 6 candidate wrote to me recently:

The more I’ve thought of it, the more I see Chris as incredibly dangerous. He was always the one to sell at events, the one on stage who could get more people to buy more crap than you can imagine. And he was always called The Bearer of Good News because his offers came as 'deals.' He has a gift with crowds and bragged about that to us, as if we were part of the inner circle.
Lesson: Beware of nice blokes bearing gifts.

This person had also spoken with some GIN folks who had been persuaded to join MLM scam Vemma under Chris' son, Chris Jr., who seems to be one of the poster children for Vemma "success" (and, I'm told, drives a Vemma Mercedes). Chris Sr. has also been pushing Vemma, using his and some of Katie's other close buddies' "success" with the scam to lure people in. This screen shot (which coyly fails to mention the name of the scam) was taken on November 27, 2013, a few days before the GIN MLM ended:

Anyway, just after the GIN Leadership Cruise in January 2013, Chris Sr. reportedly told select people to stop upgrading in GIN. Yet Chris -- and the rest of the GIN leadership, such as it was -- apparently continued to urge others to join and upgrade, as if nothing were amiss.

According to reports, at one of his exclusive, invitation-only, $5,000.00 (excluding airfare and hotel costs) scam-shows in spring of 2013, Chris Sr. boasted that he had purchased an island in Belize with another, much bigger Scamworld player,
Jack Canfield. Canfield, as you may know, is co-creator of the Chicken Soup series, star of the New-Wage moviemercial The Secret, and founder of the Trained Liars Cartel... oops, I mean, the Transformational Leadership Council (also known as the Transformational Leadership Council of Death).

I'll say one thing for the TLC, as they sometimes call themselves: at least they had the good business sense to kick founding member
James Arthur "Death" Ray out of their org after the sweat lodge thing happened. But who knows, they might let him back in again now that he's out of the clink.

In case you're interested, according to
the TLC official web site, Chris Sr. is not currently on the membership list. But I digress.

Chris Sr. reportedly told the attendees of his 2013 flimflamboree that in 2014, exactly a year from then, he was going to fly all of them down to Belize to "change their lives." Well, last month he sent out emails inviting attendees to a follow-up seminar taking place from "Friday July 25 through Sunday July 28." (Never mind that Sunday is the 27th.) This follow-up event is only $495 plus an extra $100 if you want to have dinner with Chris on Saturday night, "which you will," he assured his recipients.

There was apparently no mention in the email of Belize; only if you RSVP "yes" will you get directions to the wingding. Some of the invitees suspect that it's just going to be a three-day Vemma pitch. If anyone has any other details about this, or about Chris' supposed co-purchase of an isle in Belize with Chicken Soup Jack, drop me a line, okay?

Incidentally, the Voldemort wallet-drainer overlaps with the time that the Trained Liars Cartel will be holding its summer meeting,
July 23-27 (location not announced on the TLC web site; for some reason they never announce the location publicly in advance). There's also a Death Ray "Live Group Mentoring" event in Seattle on July 25 & 26. And July 25 is the five-year anniversary of the day that Colleen Conaway, another James Ray vic, died at a Ray event in San Diego.

But, once again, I digress.

The Yellow Brick Road to nowhere
Speaking of Chris M the Elder, it seems appropriate to mention again that he's one of the folks who just last month was gloating over the claim that some GIN members "used their GIN training" to help raise $100 million dollars for the animated box-office bomb,
Legends of Oz, Dorothy's Return. As you may recall, I wrote about this at length on my May 12 post (see "Good buy Yellow Brick Road? Well, not so much," as well as the various updates that follow, and several of the comments following the post).

Though some GIN members, most notably "co-executive producer" John A. King (a venture capitalist type who reportedly lives in luxurious digs in Florida; one visitor to his home said he served dinner on plates made of gold) were laying claim to raising the $100 mil, executive producer Greg Centineo, a non-GIN member, claims that he was the one who orchestrated the big raise. King was reportedly working under Centineo and was able to sucker several other GIN members into coughing up some bucks. Long before the movie's release, Centineo was boasting about the big money he'd raised; here's a mention on
the bio page on his main site. And yes, I know I've mentioned and quoted this before, but it is so deeply worthy of revisiting and quoting once again:
In 2008, as the funds for Legends were coming in, his role in the operation grew. The investment presented multiple ancillary opportunities due to its being a multi-industry franchise, and people could see the potential that a typical live-action movie didn’t offer. Captivated and undaunted by Greg’s honest approach (“This is the greatest opportunity of a lifetime in which you will lose all your money.”), client after client bought in—and eventually bought in big—to what has now become a $110 million unprecedented global phenomenon.

As the first phase of the Legends project draws to a close, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-raised father of two reflects on what he calls his greatest accomplishment of his lifetime by far and his multi-faceted career. “As a leader, I was looked to for answers, and then as I matured, I came to understand that true leadership is about helping people ask better questions and letting them lead themselves,” he says. “I approached this project, building a serious community of investors the way I built everything else. Whether it was leading large constituencies, opening the coffee shops or educating people on money, I have learned to apply the same universal assumptions.

“In everything I have done in my life, I had the privilege of creating it with others and giving them a different paradigm of the world we live in.”

a week after the movie was released, Centineo was making excuses for its failure. It was, he 'splained, a conspiracy by the mainstream movie industry. Why, of course. A couple of days later, some of the "investors" who were required to contribute a minimum of $100k shared their take on the "conspiracy." 

But I guess that the Global Information Network's May issue of the GIN Report had already been published and distributed before it became known that the movie was such a stinker. A friend of mine shared this the other day:

Nice work, GIN!

I am still wondering how much Katie's asset protection lawyer and co-creator of GIN, Marc Lane, was/is involved in the Oz project. He certainly came to the defense of the movie's producers, his Chicago home boys the Carroll Brothers, on
the discussion about this "investment" op on the 800notes.com site -- which has now expanded to 24 pages. People are royally pissed off about this thing. A couple of examples...

According to one participant who wrote in on June 15, the large entertainment site
The Wrap is working on a story about the Oz investment scam and and wants to talk to investors. If you have information, contact Jordan.Zakarin@TheWrap.com.

New chapter, same old story
I think we already know where the GIN story is going: it's the same old scam under new ownership -- all of whom just happen to be Katie buddies. And I think Bernie made that pretty clear in his GINtruth post.

But at least now that GIN has been liberated from the receiver, they've taken down
that disclaimer they had about the non-existence of Trudeau's big marketing lie, the fabled "GIN Council."

Speaking of which, in case you haven't visited the GIN site lately, you haven't missed too much. The MLM is still dormant -- for now, anyway -- even though
the Legal Member Agreement has yet to reflect its absence

And... oops... I think GIN forgot to take this page down when the Affiliate program was discontinued.
Here is another page, which is more noncommittal...

Prior to the sale, the leadership had been talking about the possibility of restoring the MLM once the company was out of receivership; I wrote about that on this January 2014 post. And the "GIN United" group is still up on the Web. This was a group of GIN members interested in purchasing GIN, headed by members of GIN's Leadership Round Table (including Greg Kramer, who, as noted, is reported to be one of the members of the group who actually purchased GIN).

Moreover, as many are aware,
the "initiation" fee has been even more deeply discounted from the old days; it used to be $1,500 if paid over time, but it was $1,000 if paid all at once, then it went down to $600, and now, "for a limited time only," it's $500. But if you're poor like Katie-in-a-cage* and can't even cough up half a grand...
...you may choose to pay the initial fee over time. We are currently offering a $250 payment plan for 6 months. This includes $100 towards the initial fee along with the $150 monthly Membership dues. After 6 successful payments, you will only be charged $150 per month for Membership dues. A credit card is required for this payment option.
Or, you can sign up as a free Associate Member (a membership that is only good for twelve months and will be automatically cancelled when your time is up). If you successfully sucker four paying members into joining under your personal Invitation Code, you will have enough Reward points to join GIN for free. Heck of a deal.

Most notably, after the receiver took over in August 2013 the site was pretty well wiped clean of its Trudeau presence, although
the current descriptions of "benefits" -- particularly the "Lifestyle Experiences" -- are rife with mentions of events that took place while Katie was still at the helm.

As for the rest,
it's the same old "you have to be there to understand it" b.s., promising exclusive, confidential, never-before-released information.
Some of the Member benefits are described on the Global Information Network website. Most Member benefits, however, are confidential and revealed only to Members in good standing. When you understand all the privileges and benefits you receive by being a Member, you will grasp that this invitation is truly the opportunity of a lifetime. If you have goals and dreams, if you imagine being financially secure, maybe you would like to start a business of your own, maybe you have a dream car you've always wanted, or you've dreamed of traveling first class to exotic locations all around the world...
we believe you could make more of your dreams come true with the Global Information Network than you could ever imagine. Imagine being your own boss and having total freedom and time to do what you want and when you want. Imagine being able to associate personally with almost anyone from around the world. Imagine having access to experts in various fields, VIP events, and knowledge and information that is not available anywhere else. You can now join a worldwide private group that can help build your success in life.
Yes. Just imagine. And the GIN "leadership" hopes you will keep on imagining, because apart from greed, envy, fear, desperation, longing, boredom, and a lot of hot air, imagination is one of the forces that keeps the Scamworld balloon aloft.

* Note: After months of vainly pleading pauper status, Kevin did finally come up with the $505 filing fee for his appeal; deets are on the June 18 update on this post.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good intelligence work, Connie. Keep it up!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 1:00:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anon: ;-)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 8:22:00 AM  

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