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In tribute to the baseball season that’s just ended, we’ll start this blog post about an alleged pyramid scheme and supposed miraculous dietary supplements with the words of the great Yogi Berra: “It's like déjà vu all over again.”

The FTC has announced a lawsuit against Neora, LLC, formerly known as Nerium International, LLC. The FTC alleges that Neora, an international multi-level marketing (MLM) company that sells dietary supplements, skin creams, and other products, is an illegal pyramid scheme. The FTC also alleges that it deceptively promotes its Nerium EHT dietary supplement by making unproven claims that it’s a breakthrough antidote for serious brain diseases.

Why déjà vu? The case is the second that the FTC has filed in as many months to halt an alleged pyramid scheme and return money to consumers. In October, the FTC announced a case against AdvoCare International, an MLM seller of health-and-wellness products. Under a settlement, AdvoCare agreed to be banned from multi-level marketing and pay a landmark $150 million to consumers.

Because people still generally refer to Neora as Nerium, we’ll call it Nerium here too. The FTC’s complaint says Nerium markets its products through a sales network of “brand partners,” or “BPs” who it recruits with promises that they can earn “lifestyle-changing income” and gain financial freedom.

In fact, the FTC says, most Nerium BPs end up making little or no money, and a substantial percentage lose money. According to the complaint, Nerium is a classic pyramid scheme that encourages new BPs to make big upfront investments in buying Nerium products, then compensates them based mainly on how many new BPs they recruit, not on their product sales. The new recruits, like the BPs who recruit them, are allegedly encouraged to make large upfront investments in products. But, according to the FTC, it is difficult for most BPs to sell Nerium products because, among other things, consumers often can buy the products directly from Nerium or other sources for the same or less than the best price a BP can offer.

The complaint notes that Nerium also charges BPs numerous fees, including for sales aids, business cards, letterhead, registration at Nerium conferences, and access to its software app. In the end, according to Nerium’s own reports, more than 90% of BPs in the United States earn less than they pay Nerium in product purchases and fees, the FTC says.

The complaint also targets Nerium’s claims about EHT, a coffee extract that it promotes as scientifically proven to prevent, reduce the risk of, or treat Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, concussions, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease associated with repetitive brain trauma. According to the FTC, Nerium’s marketing seeks to exploit widespread concerns about the devastating impact that Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases can have on patients and families. The FTC says Nerium also recruited former professional football players such as Sidney Rice, Steve Weatherford, and Cory Redding Jr. to capitalize on growing awareness of concussion-related brain injuries among athletes, military veterans, and others. As of April 2018, Nerium’s total sales of EHT exceeded $120 million, the FTC says.

But, according to the complaint, it’s illegal to advertise that a product can prevent, treat, or cure a disease unless you have competent and reliable scientific evidence that supports your claim. For claims about Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, CTE, and other serious conditions, that means well-controlled human clinical studies. According to the complaint, there are no human clinical trials supporting Nerium’s claims about EHT. As a result, the complaint charges, the claims are false or unsubstantiated, violating the FTC Act.

In addition to Neora, the complaint names its principal, Jeffrey Olson, and two related companies, Signum Biosciences, Inc., and Signum Nutralogix. The FTC has reached a settlement with the Signum companies, but its action against Neora and Olson continues.

The case, filed in federal court in New Jersey, bears watching. In the meantime, it offers insights for MLM businesses and people considering buying into an MLM. Among them:

  • Established truth-in-advertising standards apply to all companies within the FTC’s jurisdiction, including MLMs. Every MLM case the FTC has brought to date has alleged – among other things – misleading money-making representations. The facts bear out that very few MLM participants earn more than a small amount of supplemental income. That’s why it’s unwise for MLMs to make earnings claims – expressly or by implication – that don’t reflect what typical participants achieve. False or unsubstantiated earnings and lifestyle claims violate the FTC Act.
  • For entrepreneurs, it’s wise to view business opportunity pitches with a skeptical eye. This applies especially if the person making the promises stands to make money from your participation. Before investing, run it by someone with proven business savvy who isn’t trying to sell you something. The FTC has specific advice on multilevel marketing, including tips for spotting an illegal pyramid scheme. One possible tip-off: If the promoter’s focus is less on selling the product and more on recruiting new members, think about heading to the nearest exit.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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November 04, 2019
Where's a link to the actual Complaint?
Dusty Urban
March 26, 2020

In reply to by Guest

Yes I got took too , invested over $790.00 went to BP meetings sold over $11,000 never got a dime when it came time to get paid I got no help. Mark Rimus the guy that signed me up moved to Florida overnight and his boss sponser whatever had no time for , I gave up and could not stop Auto Ships showing up & draining my bank acount
November 12, 2019
What should you do if you were a BP for Neora who experienced financial losses as described in the FTC complaint? Are there resources available? Will this suit become a class action?
July 15, 2020

In reply to by Guest

I was a bp how can I seek involvement in the class action lawsuit
November 18, 2019
Someone I know was asked by a recruiter to join this illegal scheme and the known individual was reluctant to provide a social security number (SSN) to the recruiter. The recruiter then said, “Just give me an SSN and scramble the last two digits” Fraud at its finest.
FTC Staff
November 18, 2019

In reply to by MoreInfo

You can report that to the FTC at The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

November 23, 2019
I was encouraged to buy the most expensive join kit ($1,000) and to open and use the products. I did. I was told I had 30 days to return my kit for a full refund if I changed my mind. This is false. Kits can only be returned if unopened and only at a maximum of 90% refund. I opened and started using and letting potential customers sample the products as advised, so even though I could not attract people to buy or join, I’m stuck with these products because I was encouraged to open them making them not returnable. I’m out $1200 with nothing to show for it.
October 22, 2021

In reply to by Victim

How did you find the products were they not good or did the skin care at least do what they claimed?
Must Recruit
November 23, 2019
In reviewing the compensation plan, there are many titles you can “promote” to. You start as a Brand Partner. The first “promotion” is Senior Brand Partner. However, you cannot achieve that and start earning those bonuses without recruiting. You MUST bring 1 person in to the business to advance. From there you must bring in 2 more people, and on and on. This is under the “new” Neora comp plan.
November 30, 2019
how do I add a complaint to this lawsuit? I have a huge story to share about it
December 12, 2019
Yes everything posted is true above. I was victim for sure. 2015.
Annette Maddox
January 10, 2020

In reply to by Barb

I’m having trouble finding a link to be included in this lawsuit. I was a brand partner and lost a lot of money.
January 14, 2020
Will there be a class action suit forth coming?
February 11, 2020
Me and my wife have been going through this after I put up the money for her to become a BP. I knew it had to he illegal! Better answer your messages and make it right or we will he getting in on this!
September 14, 2020

In reply to by Guest

Thank God I looked this up before investing. My brother sells for this company and he is trying so hard to get me on and I was actually considering it. But I wanted to do my homework first.
Kellie H
September 18, 2020

In reply to by Jazz

My sister just invited me to a FB group for this. All of the product before and after photos are jaw-dropping but I’m a skeptic about anything that looks too good to be true so I started researching and found this. Thank goodness someone in our families has some common sense !
June 04, 2021

In reply to by Jazz

You will lose money on all MLM companies unless you sell your soul or have a social media following.

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