Sunday, September 30, 2012

Call out the instigators...

...because there's something in the air. (In the words of the  revolutionary classic from a couple of generations back.)

Another month is almost over, and as you can see, I haven't been very active on the Whirled this month. But don't despair. My seeming absence from the blog doesn't mean I have been inactive in the world of scammer-baiting. Indeed, it has been a busy and an interesting month behind the scenes, and it looks as if October is shaping up to be a stellar month as well.

For one thing, there may be big news about one of this blog's favorite snargets, Kevin Trudeau, and his scammy, Ponzi-ish Global Information Network (GIN). At the very least, there will be some more paper shuffling in court regarding that huge, nearly-forty-million-dollar FTC fine that True-dough has been fighting for years.

Better stock up on the popcorn.

Mainstream(ish) media peeps have expressed interest in several of this Whirled's other pet snargets as well. It doesn't feel so lonely in this little corner of the blogosphere any more.

Indeed, there is something in the air. So stay tuned; I'll have more soon.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Leonard Coldwell and Fred Van Liew: Pot, meet kettle

When things go terribly wrong in Scamworld, as they so often do, sometimes the A-teamers like to get their B-team bitches (as Salty Droid might put it), to do their dirty work for them. To my knowledge, serial huckster Kevin Trudeau -- whose crumbling Global Information Network (GIN) empire* has been a topic of intense discussion on Facebook and a few blogs for the past few months -- hasn't said much publicly about his ex-B-lister, "Dr." Leonard Coldwell, the former Bernd Klein of Germany. I wrote about Bernd/Lenny at length in May of this year, a week and a half after having featured him as one of the first canaries to sing about the scam that is GIN.

Ever since he got kicked out of the party, Coldwell has mouthed off plenty about GIN and what a con artist and cult leader he believes Trudeau to be. A lot of the mouthing off has been on Facebook (I mentioned and linked to some of the Facebook rants in this Whirled post), but
Coldwell also wrote a blog post about it early on. But Trudeau seems to have been strangely silent about his former "personal physician."

Not to worry, though: his smirking sycophant
Fred Van Liew, aka The Water Doctor, aka Fred Van Loony, has taken up the slack. And he has done so on Facebook, no less -- although, according to several ex-GIN members I've communicated with, Trudeau himself has said that only losers spend time on Facebook.

And whom did Freddy Van L use as his source of information about the bad doctor C?

He used Salty Droid, one of the fiercest scam-fighters on the Internet, and clearly no fan of Trudeau or GIN. Yes, Salty Droid, who,
in his first post about Lenny Coldwell, had also knocked GIN and Trudeau to hell and back in just a few paragraphs. Here's what Salty had written about Freddy's biggest cash cow:

...Leonard Coldwell set up remote servers with family in Germany in order to process email leads generated by Kevin Trudeau’s fraudulent activities. Leonard would reply to emails as “Dr. Hohn” {who is a real person … and actual doctor} … and refer victims to his own products.
Such elaborate measures were prolly required because America’s Federal Trade Commission was crawling up the ass of Trudeau’s operation. I suspects they even sniffed out this fake Dr. Hohn situation. But they suck :: so they accomplished jackshit … and Trudeau and Coldwell scam on unabated.
B-team bitch Leonard Coldwell at his side :: Trudeau moved on to the not next not big thing … MLM.
His Global Information Network is an MLM based “club” where you deposit all your money :: and all the money of any friends or family you can successfully pressure pitch :: in the “club” until you reach the Level 5 Inner Council and Xenu clears all your thetans.
Or something :: who cares? :: GIN failed … cause like fellow anti-scam crusader Dr. Jon Taylor recently told The New York Observer regarding MLM funtime disaster WorldVentures
“A good MLM is really an oxymoron.”
But before GIN started to finish imploding like all MLMs always do :: totally unqualified to do anything sack of shit Leonard Coldwell was making good money suckling on Kevin’s pasty white scam teets.

Well, actually, the "membership levels" in GIN are a separate arm of the scam from the MLM. I was confused about that myself at first till someone 'splained it to me. But no matter how you look at it, GIN is a huge and elaborate farce and an obvious money grab for Trudeau and for a few of his close cronies (including Freddy, and until recently Lenny too) -- a fact that more and more former devotees are finally realizing.

But it was Salty's second post about Lenny -- the one that laid open some ugly allegations -- that really got Freddy Van L salivating. On the evening of the day Salty published that post, Thursday, September 6, Freddy provided a link to the post on his own Facebook page, writing:
Fred Van Liew Thursday at 7:01pm
"To share is to care!" sez Fred van Loony, later in the thread.

Here is the link to the thread, for those of you who can access it. If you can't access it, maybe this screen shot will enlighten you. It doesn't reflect the latest comments (which include a link to my Bernd bridges blog post, as well as a link to Salty's first Lenny blog post), but it will give you an idea about the convo. (Click on pic to enlarge.)

So here we have Fred the Water Doctor and frauduct peddler extraordinaire, fairly gloating as he blusters about how the evil Coldwell should be exposed because it is the right thing to do. Fred even implies that Salty Droid is a hero for bringing this matter about Coldwell to light. I don't dispute the assessment of Salty's heroism myself, apparently Fred failed to consider what that Part 1 post said about the fearless leader Trudeau.

Instead, Fred seems to be taking full advantage of the information Salty Droid shared on his blog. Fred also claims to have read the entire police report on Coldwell, and word has it that the Trudeau camp has had that report in their possession for some time now and plans to use it to bolster their own case against Coldwell -- at the very least to help justify why he was booted out of GIN. I haven't verified any of that scuttlebutt, but here is what Freddy Van L wrote on his Facebook page about the information:

...I have had my concerns
[about Coldwell], however when I get hard proof that someone is harming others or abusing their delegated authority, I speak up. Whether government or in this case Coldwell. I only just saw the legal documents regarding Leonard's sexual abuse of women. As far as KT, it is my belief that he was conned by Leonard like the rest of us. Believe as you will, KT is still just a man, though extraordinary. His teachings have positively influenced tens of thousands in a permanent manner. I will speak up if I find different. As of now, it is only Coldwell that is the scam
Oh, what a hero you are, Freddy. I notice how you seem to be leaving the door open so you can scuttle out like the Harry Potter character Peter Pettigrew, aka Wormtail, when the law finally comes slamming down on True-dough and GIN, and you can plead for mercy in the court of public opinion and claim that by golly, you were conned by Kevin too.

[NOTE FROM THE FUTURE: As it turned out, I was wrong about Freddy turning on Kevin. He was defending Kevin in 2013, and still speaking as his friend/defender in 2015, and as of 2016 he still seems quite loyal to his now-imprisoned long-time buddy. And Fred is still defending the original GIN as it was under Kevin Trudeau. GIN did not die on the vine, as I was speculating might happen back when this post was first published, but it exists under "new management" -- a group of Trudeau cohorts headed by Troy McClain/AXS Investment Group. There's plenty of info about that elsewhere on this Whirled. In 2014 Fred spoke out against the new GIN management, and in favor of a GIN ripoff called WIN -- and again, there's plenty of info about WIN elsewhere on this blog.]

But the really amusing part of the thread is Freddy accusing Lenny of "slander," and Freddy saying Lenny conned stuff.

And on the other side we have Lenny accusing anyone who criticizes him of "slander"... and of course he is accusing Trudeau of conning him...

Pass the popcorn.

One of the participants who was obviously not a Lenny fan wrote this about the infamous police report on Coldwell:
As far as the women not pressing charges because they were scared, this also doesn't surprise me. Coldwell has a team of lawyers and the financial resources to bury any regular person. I sent him an email once, asking him for answers about why he can't prove his 92.3% cure rate, and he threatened me with libel/slander and criminal harassment if I ever tried to contact him again or post anything about him online. But as long as I remind everyone that this is my OPINION, he can't touch me.

Intimidation. Threats. Accusations of libel/slander just for asking questions about his extravagant claims and phony creds. Yeah, that pretty much sounds like Lenny.

Many, though certainly not all, of the responses on the Fred-thread seem to be coming from those who are still on the deck of the sinking GINtanic, struggling not to hear the orchestra playing, "Nearer My Fraud To Thee." "We are GIN!" one person wrote, bringing to mind this video, taken on the 2012 GIN "Leadership" cruise (I can't seem to embed it, but here is the link)...

One of the GINfolk on the Facebook thread I linked to above also took umbrage at the GIN logo on the Photoshopped image that appears on the link to Salty's blog post. Salty had created this little photo-comp especially for his post. The GIN person actually suggested that someone should Photoshop the GIN logo out of Salty's pic, because it just wouldn't do to have GIN associated with the evil Dr. C. It would mess with people's subconscious or something like that. Photoshop the Photoshop to make it more palatable to GIN drinkers, in other words. That should go over well.

The consensus among the pro-GINs, however, was that all of this stuff was much too negative, when good GIN cult members should be focusing on the future. After all... "WE ARE GIN!"

Yeah, more popcorn -- and a large drink.

Not exactly the DSM: "Dr." Lenny puts those fake psych degrees to work
Perhaps Freddy has felt an extra surge of vindication after having been recently been run through "Dr." Coldwell's professional psychoanalysis. Back in June of this year, when the anti-GIN revolution was just hitting its stride, and many of the revolutionaries still apparently believed that Lenny would lead them to economic salvation through his "class action lawsuit" against GIN and Trudeau, one of my Facebook friends shared Lenny's "professional" opinion of Fred van Loony. Of course Lenny is well qualified to give a professional opinion because he has a fake PhD or two in psychology. Here is Lenny's analysis of his former GINbuddy, broken up into paragraphs for easier reading, although apparently the original was one huge block of text:

Fred van Liew in my personal and professional opinion, I fear, sufferers from delusional paranoia with a multiple personality disorder and a high degree of schizophrenia (borderline disease!) I believe: He is psychotic and delusional and is in my professional opinion therefore pathological psychiatrically (mentally and emotionally disturbed) ill. In short I concluded based on my personal observations, to put it in simple terms, I believe that he is crazy. He sees demons ( his own words ) and is practicing exorcism as I understand it, with the poor people that fall into his hands and let him work ( practicing medicine without a license as I see it – He was diagnosing people and treating them in my presence ).

He told myself and a witness that his pendant is simply pressed and polished plastic dust and that he pays about 26 cents for it ( I have no way to confirm that ) and I personally had the value of his bulldozer pack evaluated and found it is to me dirt cheap in production cost and most comparable products are in my opinion much more effective or equal but only cost about 10% of what he is charging for it. He himself told me that he reverse osmosis system from Costco ( $200 dollars or so ) is better or equal to what he sells for his enormous amount of money. His entire EMF protective devices are in my personal experience useless and worthless. I got much more out of the qulink or other products. ( as a subjective experience for myself ) if I look at the production costs of similar and I believe more often much better products his prices are simply ridiculous and not based on any realistic value in my conclusions based on personal research.

The shower filters I buy from internet sources seem to do the job they are supposed to, but do cost only a fraction of what he is charging for similar devices. His energy mugs and the prices for them are simply a joke to me that is not even worth talking about. If someone is simple minded enough to believe in that and to pay these ridicules amounts of money for them – bless them! He told us that without Kevin’s support he could never ever have made it financially and never could. So it is obviously based on his own statements a matter of financial survival to protect and support the guy that ensures his financial survival. His crazy outbursts and delusionary comments on FB and other media outlets maybe explained by his mental state of mind and his to me obvious inability to grasp, accept and understand reality.

He even told me in lately that he was “forced” or his hand was forced to write some of his comments. His OCD can easily be shown by the amount of senseless emails and texts or comments he does send out. Of course if you don’t have business to attend to and nothing else to do with your life, you live on the internet, right? I wish him well because I know of his physical state of health too, as well as his mental and emotional state of health and hope he finds peace outside of government institutions, because I believe personally if he does not, he may have time in the future, to enjoy the hospitality of the government to find inner peace. Funny is that I could write down for you how he is going to react when he reads this. All these guys are so predictable. You push a button and they jump.

My lawyers , are already working on the legal part of dealing Van Liew ( the name in Germany in slang, means: On Credit without any collateral to back it up – how funny is that ) right now too. All statements above are the conclusion of my subjective opinions, observations, use of common sense and professional conclusions. But since I am just a human being I could be wrong. “ It is just my personal opinion but I may be right”™

Here, for those who can access it, is the link to the June Facebook convo.

If it's true that Freddy told Lenny his hand was "forced" to write some of his comments, I think that rivals Lenny's own frequent claims that he has been "hacked."

It's amusing that Lenny is making fun of the German slang meaning for Van Liew's name, when in fact Lenny's own birth name, Klein, comes from a word meaning "little" in German. Little, little, little. Maybe that's the reason Bernd changed his name. I don't know. All I know is that he apparently does not like to be asked about it.

But what's really funny is that whole Lenny-accusing-Freddy-of-practicing-medicine-without-a-license-thing. Been to the Salty Droid blog lately, Lenny?

Make that a jumbo bag of popcorn. With extra butter. And some Snickers bars.

Lenny and Freddy in happier days
By July of this year, more and more questions about Lenny were popping up on some of the ex-GIN Facebook threads. The moderators of these threads didn't really like it, but folks kept asking. This was before the police report story broke, but a few brave and rebellious peeps were questioning Lenny's name change, phony credentials, mysterious past, and so forth. Someone wrote:

And regarding Dr. C, why is it that people are claiming that when they ask for his credentials he blocks them? Is he hiding something? I saw a post of Dr. C bashing Fred [van Liew] and typed a huge paragraph saying Fred was delusional, a fraud, etc. And he said Fred's products were crap and worthless. But did you know that a year ago Dr. C was heavily promoting Fred's products? He even said they were "proven" to work. Why the change all of a sudden? It could be possible that he is angry at Fred for other reasons, and just decided to start bashing everything about the guy.
The commenter was referring to Lenny's Fred-head shrink session I quoted above. Said commenter also linked to this March 2011 newsletter in which Lenny, under the flag of one of his numerous proxies, "Dr. Libertarian," sang Freddy's praises to the world. Lenny touted Freddy's frauducts -- the same frauducts he later confessed were bogus -- as well as Freddy's professionalism and integrity. Follow that link and you'll see what I mean.

Ah, those were the days. You can Google or Bing your way around and find many more examples of Lenny and Freddy stroking each other off in happier times. It was all for the Greater Good, the Larger Cause: getting more suckers into GIN and more money into their respective bank accounts. Any backstabbing they might have done was non-public, which is the way backstabbing is usually done in Scamworld.

Skeptics and snarkers, then and now
The skeptics have actually been on Fred Van Liew's a$$ for years. For instance, there's this January 2000 newsletter from the North Texas Skeptics:

Then there's this UK skeptics' newsletter from August 2004: (scroll down to "Mugged by Gobbledegook").

But those are the more or less hardcore skeptics, the ones that many of the alt-health and self-help crowd hold in disdain for their alleged closed-mindedness. More recently, however, ex-GIN Bernie O'Mahony at wrote about Fred in the context of a Facebook exchange involving Freddy and his son. In response to a gruesome beheading video that Fred had posted along with the implication that Obama was connected to the atrocity, the son had called Freddy a "SICK DELUSIONAL HATEFUL FEARMONGER" and accused him of "fleecing hopeful people of their money and hiding it in tax havens." That sounds about right! Of course, Freddy blamed his son's rebellion on the horrors of a liberal education, or something like that.

Bernie had some up-close-and-personal observations about Freddy:

Fred Van Liew is well known for accusing people of being ‘possessed by demons’ and the like. Indeed, he seems to think he has some intrinsic knowledge of the after life and how it works, as well as claiming that he can see auras, etc.

Pity that didn’t work for you on the 2012 GIN cruise eh Fred? I was sitting on the poker table behind you in the ship’s casino on the last night of the cruise, listening to you cursing like -- well, like a demon -- because you were losing $5 bets! Watching you get irate and walk out of the casino pissed, was funny enough, but it was even funnier when I went to the same table and won your money!
Bernie seems to be remaining somewhat neutral on the most recent and serious Coldwell flap, but I have a strong sense that he does not hold the little tan man in as high a regard as he formally did.

Memo to the Kool-Aid guzzlers: a Coldwell critic is NOT necessarily a friend of GIN
In the original preamble to
my late May "Bernd bridges" post, I explained very carefully, solely for the benefit of new readers I was expecting, that my criticisms of Coldwell did NOT mean I am or ever was a fan of Trudeau or GIN. I have since changed my preamble to reflect recent additions and clarifications to that post, but I sometimes wonder if I need to 'splain all over again that having a common "enemy" does not necessarily constitute an alliance.

Trudeau and Coldwell may be feuding or divorced, but they are, as I've said so many times before about these two and other scam-couples, turds of a feather. Trudeau may or may not have known about the police report, but he had to have known, or at least have strongly suspected, that Coldwell had a dodgy past. Similarly, Coldwell had to have known about Trudeau's criminal past and ongoing troubles, since so much of that has been public information for years.

But while the money was flowing, they kept on going. I still don't know all of the reasons for their split. There's a lot of evidence that GIN was and is rapidly running out of money, so unloading some of the paid speakers (Lenny was getting $200,000 a year) might have been a strategy for downsizing without sacrificing the basic con. But there have also been many reports of Coldwell's crass behavior at GIN events -- his blatant womanizing, drunkenness, and the sometimes unwelcome and very aggressive attention he lavished upon women attendees -- and more of those details are coming out now in various places, including on Salty's blog.

For now on this Whirled, I'm concentrating on this comic relief of a sideshow as the scoundrels fight each other. I felt I just had to share it with y'all.

After all, as Fred Van Liew himself wrote, "To share is to care."

* In all fairness, I should note that some GIN members continue to deny that GIN is crumbling, insisting that to the contrary it is growing.

PS added 13 September, 2012 ~ More comic relief, this time on Salty's blog: Lenny puts out a reward for information about Salty Droid -- information that is easily available on the Interwebz for those who know how to read.

PS added 18 September, 2012: Still more comic relief on Facebook. Lenny is still mouthing off about Trudeau being a cult leader, and he is still trying to form another club like GIN, but "free, except for cost." (As usual, click on pic for an enlarged view.)

More True-dough (and Lenny) on this Whirled:

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