Action for Victims of Sales Scams
Standing beside a local victim of an international predatory sales company, Congressowman and U.S. Senate hopeful, Loretta Sanchez, addressed the media in Downtown San Diego this Wednesday, October 19.
During this press conference, Sanchez called upon California State Attorney General Kamala Harris to take action to protect Californians from pyramid schemes and other exploitative practices.
Sanchez and Harris are both vying for the US Senate seat being vacated by retiring Senator Barbara Boxer.
“We are in front of the Attorney General’s office because she has done nothing to help recover the money that many Californians have lost,” opened Sanchez.
In her address, Sanchez called upon Harris to act against Herbalife, respond to the complaints of the company’s exploited salespeople, and ensure that those exploited by Herbalife are fairly compensated.
Compensation for the victims of this pyramid scheme would come from a $200 million settlement issued by the Federal Trade Commision as the result of an 18-month-long investigation, originally requested by Sanchez in 2013, into Herbalife Limited and the company’s predatory marketing strategies.
“It is impossible that instead of protecting consumers, Kamala Harris allowed Californians to be exploited and become financially ruined,” Sanchez stated. “Harris was missing in action for the last six years while thousands of families fell into this scam which gives Herbalife exaggerated earnings.”
Leticia Guzman, who was a victim of Herbalife’s aggressive tactics for over five years, shared her testimony during this press conference.
“Like all immigrants, I wanted a better future for myself and my family and to get ahead in life. I was working more than eight hours a week as a salesperson for them on top of my regular job,” Guzman said from the podium. “In 2010 I gave up $13,000. All I was given in return was false hope.”
According to figures published in 2014, the estimated bottom 88 percent of Herbalife distributors, about 462,800 salespeople, receive absolutely no compensation despite being pressured into buying product and being promised that they will make a lot of money by selling their merchandise. Meanwhile, Herbalife CEO Michael Johnson made over $10 million in 2013. That same year, Herbalife President Des Walsh and COO Rich Goudis made over $3 million while the company’s CFO and CLO both saw an income of over $2 million.
“As you can see in the numbers, the people making no money are the ones paying the salaries of all these people on top. We sustain this though a false promise,” Guzman stated.
“The CEO of Herbalife is making over $10 million according to this study but Latino families who have invested in this company have gotten nothing back in return,” Sanchez reiterated.
Sanchez closed the conference by taking questions from the press and giving a message to local families, especially Latinos, who may be attracted to Herbalife’s promises of high wages and being a route towards the American Dream.
“Don’t do it. Don’t join any of these companies because we know what they are doing, especially [Herbalife]. You’ll put up your money and your dreams of having a nice house and a nice car but they won’t give anything back to you. The money they ask from you is money that should be used for your children’s needs,” Sanchez said. “They are taking the money that our families need.”