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John T. Reed’s views of various real-estate-investment gurus Part 4

Posted by John Reed on

James Randel

Click here to read my review of his book, Confessions of a Real Estate Entrepreneur.

Real Estate Investment Forum—Unknown

On 3/27/06, I got the following email from this organization:

Hi John:

As the Executive Director of the Real Estate Investment Forum I have followed your web site through the years with a certain amount of interest.  I have always found you to be an excellent voice in our business, and we have stated so from time to time on our web site.

Recently, however I have lost a great deal of respect for the views you express on your "Guru Rating Page". A number of our members, particularly the more recent subscribers, find it more than a coincidence that you have not taken the time to rate our services.  You know who we are.  We have been very visible on the Internet as a provider of 1-on-1 mentoring for more than five years.  I have e-mailed you with an offer to review our program both in content and administration. We have offered you the opportunity to review our proprietary course information and provide you with a copy of the "Forum Workshop Live".  You have not even extended the courtesy of a reply.

Your Guru page has become very disingenuous and self-serving by carefully editing out those good programs that compete directly with your material.  We respect your views and hope that you can become more balanced in your presentation.  I also believe that we could form an excellent strategic marketing relationship if you are interested.  Perhaps we will speak.

Bob Peterson
http://www.highnoi.com
916.408.0494

Reed response

  1. I have either never heard of these guys or do not remember ever hearing of them.
  2. I do not get paid to rate anyone so I cannot imagine how anyone has decided they are entitled to my rating them. I generally do a rating because I have come across something that gives me information on which to write a review or because someone achieves extreme prominence.
  3. The parade of new real estate investment gurus and organizations is endless—approximately one a week. For a brief period, I tried to keep up generally by adding “unknown” ratings. Then, when I saw it was endless, I said to heck with it.
  4. I get thousands of emails a day. My spam filter screens out most of them. I have all but abandoned answering them because a) it takes too much time and b) some people I answer give me crap about my answer. So why bother?
  5. I have not edited out good programs. One of the complaints about me is that I seem to criticize “everyone.” I wish I could find more good programs to review positively.
  6. This email alternately flatters me, condemns me as dishonest, and asks to do business with me. I know nothing about what they do, but I would be surprised if anyone capable of composing such an email would be worth your time or mine.

Real Estate Link

See Fortune 21.

Marshall E. Reddick a.k.a. Real Estate Foreclosures

Reportedly advocates investing in a type of property where he or an associate gets a commission for selling it to you. In general, you should not get investment advice from persons who receive a commission if you buy the investment they recommend. An investor who went on one of Reddick’s buying trips said they bought only VA repos that were listed with Realtors®. Furthermore, they told the buyers to bid 15% over asking price, which is typically market value. Why bid 15% over asking price? Because they “wanted their students to be the successful bidders.” Not to mention the fact that the “teachers” also wanted to be the successful salesmen who got the 6% commission on the deal—commissions that were inflated by 15% above what they would normally get. The teachers rationalize overpaying by predicting appreciation and urging students to hold for the long term. I’ve heard that one before. Why not pay market and hold for the long term?

One of my readers sent me an email on 2/21/09 that was purportedly from Reddick and had this in its first paragraph:

Marshall Reddick Realty and Marshall Reddick Seminars are restructuring under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. The case names are Marshall Reddick Realty, Inc., Case No. 8:09-bk-11254, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California, filed 2-17-09, and Marshall Reddick Seminars, Inc., Case No. 8:09-bk-11255, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California, filed 2-17-09.

Reddick was reportedly sued on June 18, 2007 along with Marshall Reddick Real Estate Network, Inc. (MRREN), a prominent California-based real-estate-investment club, Christopher Minter, National City Mortgage of Ohio and the following individuals and businesses based in Florida: Mary Ellen Brennan (RE/Max Realty Select), Johnathan Shirey, SB of Naples, Inc., Wilfred Arthur Morin, William Dacey III, Atlantic Contractors & Development Corp., Jack Tralongo, Sr., Jack Tralongo, Jr., Timothy M. Murphy and Market Street Mortgage Corporation.

The lawsuit, filed by the Law Offices of Andrew M. Wyatt, a Los Angeles-based law firm, the defendants were charged with 11 counts of illegal actions, including: Fraud; Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act; Untrue or Misleading Advertising; Negligent and Intentional Misrepresentation; and Unlawful, Unfair and Fraudulent Business Acts and Practices. The suit relates to the planned development of three single-family houses in Port Charlotte and Englewood, FL in 2005 and 2006.

One of Reddick's seminars is called “Profiting with fixer uppers with or without the work.” I have done fixer uppers and interviewed many fixers and read virtually every fixer book. I know of no way to do it without work—either carpentry, etc. or hiring carpenters, etc.—neither of which is easy.

Another of his seminars is “How to reduce your income taxes to zero.” I have written 18 editions of the book Aggressive Tax Avoidance for Real Estate Investors. In general, reducing your taxes to zero is so difficult that it almost certainly is not worth the trouble. There is a point of diminishing returns in almost everything. To eliminate state income and sales tax, you would have to move to a state with neither. I believe that means New Hampshire. To eliminate taxes on interest, you would have to put all your non-real-estate money into municipal bonds and not live in the municipality in question if that town has a city income tax. There are also disadvantages to reducing your taxes to zero, like not being eligible for social security. The main way I know to reduce your taxes to zero would be to move to New Hampshire and do nothing but buy and sell principal residences for a profit every two years.

Reddick is a PhD and was a professor of business and economics at California State University, Los Angeles until 1/00 when he retired. He also teaches at 22 other southern California colleges. I surmise Reddick is one of many real estate agents, lawyers, insurance agents, etc. who, to generate business, teach Saturday extension courses sponsored by colleges. The quality of such courses is generally good, but varies.

He also says he is a member of the National Speakers Association and holds its “coveted” Certified Speaking Professional designation, as does Zig Ziglar. I am a former member of NSA. I quit after just one year. There are two associations for speakers. The other is the International Platform Association. IPA seemed to consist mainly of men and women of distinction—famous news anchors, actresses, generals, and so forth—who also make speeches. IPA members Wolf Blitzer and Colin Powell do not have the “coveted” Certified Speaking Professional designation; they have the even more coveted $75,000-a-pop speaking fees. NSA seemed to consist mainly of plain Janes whose only accomplishment was speaking. A 2001 survey of NSA’s 4,000 members found that 21.7% made $25,000 or less a year; 11.8% made $101,- 150,000; 2.6% made more than $500,000. That leaves 63.9% unaccountend for. I assume they make zero from speaking.

Dale Carnegie said the ability to speak in public was a “shortcut to distinction.” The NSA people, for the most part, struck me as the type who could only achieve distinction by taking a shortcut.

I met NSA member Og Mandino and he seemed like a sharp guy. But many other NSA members seemed shameless and desperate in their need for approval from the audience. Their icon Cavett Robert was noted for crying in every speech when I was a member around 1980. (A recent NSA member said he never saw Robert cry in the four years before Robert’s death.) When I attended their convention, another speaker made a joke in his speech about Robert crying in every speech. Another guy ended every speech by asking the audience to stand up and sing God Bless America. In both cases they seemed to me to be like small children crying out for attention and approval and willing to use almost any trick to get it.

At the NSA convention I went to, one woman showed a maudlin movie about herself making a parachute jump. She just signed up at a parachute school in the Yellow Pages and made one jump into the ocean, which was that school’s standard landing zone. The movie included much crying and agonizing about whether to go ahead with it. Given its large size, I suspect the audience contained at least a dozen former paratroopers—including me. It never occurred to me or my fellow paratroopers that our first jump or the training leading up to it were very interesting. None of us agonized about going through with it and no one in my large class failed to make their five jumps—or even hesitated.

NSA hero Tony Robbins has the “gift of gab” and he is as handsome as a comic-book action hero. But his only accomplishments, other than speaking, appear to be surviving being thrown out of his home at age 17 with $10 in his pocket, surviving bankruptcy at age 21, and losing the 38 pounds he put on when he went bankrupt. I could not tell from his bio if he graduated from high school. The lady whose claim to fame was the one Yellow Pages parachute jump has a more impressive list of non-speaking accomplishments. I have never heard Robbins say anything I disagreed with, but I bought one of his book-store cassettes for my oldest son and was disappointed with it. I find him a little glib, which is probably an occupational hazard of what he does for a living. But Robbins, like many other NSA members, has apparently never even tried to be a success at anything other than telling other people how to succeed.

NSA had some impressive guys, but most were pathetic. I do not know which category Reddick is in. But NSA was one of two organizations I have ever joined which immediately inspired me to say, “Let me out of here!” (The other was Mensa, which I quit after two meetings because they reeked of body odor! I kid you not.)

60 Minutes did a program about the NSA on 4/16/00. It featured Zig Ziglar and Tony Robbins. Like the 60 Minutes program I appeared on (3/16/86) regarding nothing-down seminars, the correspondent was Morley Safer. Safer made fun of the speaking business. Colin Powell was also on the program. He also gets a private plane to take him to speeches. As far as I know, he is not an NSA member.

I am told also that Reddick sets up a property-management contract with a real estate broker in the distant area where these properties are located. You should never use independent, fee-paid property managers. There are only three sound choices regarding real estate property management: do it yourself, hire a salaried employee to do it, or do not own the property. Someone should start an “I hired an independent property manager” horror stories Web site. It would have thousands of eager contributors, each of which would focus on one of two consistent themes: overcharges/kickbacks and neglect.

John and Greg Rice (Cape Coral, FL)

Spokesmen for Cash Flow Generator, which Russ Whitney now owns. The Russ Whitney name does not appear on the Web site as far as I can tell, but if you look at their “Contact us” page, it uses Russ Whitney’s corporate headquarters address. See also my Russ Whitney affiliations page. Russ Whitney told me in the Fall of 2005 that John Rice had died.

Jon Richards (San Francisco, CA , deceased 11/18/03)

Note broker guru who published Noteworthy newsletter. Producer of an annual conference on note brokering. It's not my area of expertise, but Jon seems to be a squared-away guy. I recommend him to anyone interested in note brokering.

He invited me to speak at his 2000 convention. I declined on the grounds that I do not know the note brokering business. I later learned that one of the other speakers at that convention was Robert Kiyosaki. Jeez!! Jon needs to raise his standards, both in terms of making sure the speakers have note expertise and in terms of not headlining B.S. artists—best-selling author or not.

Here’s an email I got from Richards after he read the above.

Wow! You could not have been more correct. The guy was extremely arrogant, and gave us no information about Real Estate or notes or how he made his money. He seems to have come up with one idea about investing in assets and is riding that pony to lots of best sellers. I have never been so appalled at a speaker's ability to talk for over an hour and share no substantial knowledge. How in world could he have 3 best sellers? It's frightening. In fact, I think if you look at the Wall Street Journal's list of best selling business books you will find primarily a list of simple minded garbage. (e.g. Who Moved the Cheese?)

Leigh Robinson (1940-2016)

Author of Landlording and the Eviction Book for California. Also produces software Landlording on Disk and Pushbutton Landlord. This one-time divinity student is the closest thing the real estate guru business has to a saint. (Some would observe that ain't saying much.) I highly recommend anything he does.

Click here to read my review of his new book, What's a Landlord To Do? Landlording Q&A's.

George Ropchan—unknown

Loan broker guru. Not my area of expertise. Use my Real Estate B.S. Artist Detection Checklist to evaluate this guru.

Stephen Roulac

Previously, I did not include Setphen Roulac here because he seemed mainly oriented towards institutitonal investors. However, he came out with a book that is aimmed at laymen so I now add him to the list. Click here to read a review of that book. Go to http://www.roulacglobal.com/f3/web/home.aspx?c=9b219323-88bb-407a-b960-821ed2ba950d&n=c4982b1f-8944-4db7-93ad-68bf4ccfcdb7 to get the book.

Al Seastrand (Sacramento, CA)

Experienced investor, contractor, attorney. Gives much high-quality information for very little cost. Similar to John Beck for those of you who know him. Seastrand single-handedly discovered, exploited, and destroyed the assessment-district tax lien certificate approach in California. He destroyed it by getting publicity about it which, in turn, caught the attention of California legislators (Seastrand is in the state capital, Sacramento) who promptly outlawed it. See also David Martin letter.

J.C. Sbicca & Company, LLC. (aka Programcritique.com)

This guy copied my write up on Carleton Sheets and put it at his Web site without my permission and without saying that I was the one who wrote it. He also has the words “Copyright 2004 All rights reserved” on that page indicating that he is the owner of the stuff he stole from me and that you’d better not steal it from him. Jerk!

2009 update: Programcritique.com accuses me of lying about this. See my debunking of their lie here.

Here is a link to Sbicca’s 3/1/12 arrest for theft eld/dep adult, grand theft cash, labor, or property worth mare than $950, ID theft.

And here is a link to his wife’s arrest on the same day on the same charges.

John Schaub (Sarasota, FL)

I attended most of his seminar and I thought it was good. He said his seminar attendees bought For Sale By Owner properties at bargain prices during every one of his seminars. But, to my surprise, he was unable to give me a single name of such a person so I could interview them and write about their bargain...other than Jimmy Napier, another real estate guru. Napier confirmed that he had attended a Schaub seminar and purchased a FSBO as a result. He told me the price he paid but refused to tell me the market value of the property at the time he bought it so I could gauge the extent of his bargain. He kept repeating that you could never tell what a property is worth until you sold it. That, of course, is baloney. Nobody buys a property without first assuring himself that he is paying no more than market value. Smart bargain purchasers make sure they are paying at least 20% less than market value and they cannot sell the property before they buy it in order to ascertain the market value.

Schaub is extremely popular with, and highly regarded by, real estate investors who have taken his Making It Big on Little Deals seminar. See also David Marin letter.

Click here to read my review of his book, Building Wealth One House at a Time.

Here is an email I got on 3/23/10:

Hi John:
I bought several books of yours. I like them. I might subscribe your newsletters. I read your comments regarding John schaub. I did attend several of his seminars. I did buy one property in Garden Grove (California) for sale By owner from the sellers I met during the seminar but 6 months later when their listing was expired. I bought $184,000 for SFH (4 bedrooms + 1.5 bath), $24,000 down, 5% simple interest (market value $250,000) . I didn’t have to pay the sellers the first 24 months because I had to fix the house. I paid $1,000.00 the subcontractor for 18 months with my $1,800 / month of rent.

sony nguyen

Scott Scheel—I do not recommend

David Schley

Click here to read my review of his book, Finding Your Fortune in Repossessed Real Estate.

James Schwartz—Unknown

Click here to read my review of his book, Enough.

Lonnie Scruggs (Chesapeake, VA)

Scruggs has written a couple of books about mobilehome investing. I like everything about them except one piece of advice where he says you should pretend to be extremely concerned and upset about minor maintenance items in order to convince the sellers to lower their prices. You should not do that, because it's dishonest. One guru described Scruggs to me as a more articulate and readable Jimmy Napier (in terms of real-estate approach, not country-boy themes). A visitor to this site sent me an email about Napier and Scruggs.

Carleton H. Sheets a.k.a. Carlton Sheets, Carleton Sheets, Carelton Sheets (Stuart, FL)

Mark Holocek, Sheets’ associate, was kind enough to send me two boxes of Sheets books and tapes. I put my analysis of them on a separate page.

I previously described Sheets as a former Al Lowry instructor. He wrote me a letter saying he wasn’t a Lowry instructor. The letter also complained about being “lumped with Robert Allen.” I have since learned that Sheets was a pitchman for Nothing Down author Robert Allen, that is, he was the guy who made speeches to get people to sign up for Allen’s weekend seminar. Seems to me Sheets should have mentioned that in his letter to me.

He also protested that he no longer does infomercials from a yacht in Florida, although he admits he “did one scene from a yacht 12 or 14 years ago.”

In his letter to me, Sheets bragged that he recently did a nothing-down purchase. I asked for the address and name of the lender. No response.

Sheets’ letter says he has been a “full-time real estate investor for nearly 29 years.” The phrase “full-time real estate investor” catches my eye. Such people are rare. Most of the real-estate millionaires I know only do it part-time. It’s kind of the nature of real estate: part business and part investment. Sheets’ partner Mark Holocek admitted to me that Sheets now spends less than 40 hours per week on real estate investment, “but that’s all he does.” Well, except for appearing in infomercials.

In his letter to me, Sheets claimed, “I...am buying, selling and rehabbing property on a weekly basis.” I asked him for the addresses of the properties he had bought, sold, or rehabbed in the last three months. No response.

Why would a guru brag to me about his purchases, sales, and rehabs, then refuse to provide addresses, especially when he ought to know I am going to tell my readers about it? It can’t be privacy. All real estate transactions, including lenders, are publicly recorded. Rehab generally requires a building permit, which is also public. Some gurus refuse to provide addresses because they simply did not do the deals at all; others, because there is something about the deal which would embarrass them. I do not know Sheets’ motivation for not responding to my request for addresses and a lender name. I encourage FL readers to try to track down his deals and tell me about them.

I have listed every property I ever owned in the about-the-author section of this Web site. My book How to Buy Real Estate for at Least 20% Below Market Value contains 166 actual case histories and includes the address of the property in question whenever the investor gave me permission to do so. I also include property addresses as well as investor names and phone numbers in my newsletter articles whenever the investor lets me. Whenever a guru brags about a deal, ask him for an address so you can check it out. If he refuses to provide the address, leave.

I am told by someone other than Sheets that he is one of another rare breed. He is not a self-employed guru. Rather he has some sort of partnership or independent contractor relationship with the guys who actually promote and sell the Carleton Sheets home-study course. If that’s the case, he may be able to invest most of the time, but not “full-time.” I guarantee you that no guru who owns and runs his own guru business has time to also invest “full-time.”

As I said in my Real Estate B.S. Artist Detection Checklist article, “Gurus get the same 24-hour days as you. Being an expert takes time. They have to read many trade journals, loose-leaf services, and books to keep up to date. They have to spend hours on the phone interviewing sources for their articles and books and hours in the library researching legal cases and other relevant facts.

“As experts, gurus get interviewed by the media on the phone and in radio and TV studios and they make speeches to investors.”

Although Sheets’ prices seem relatively low, once you order you will find that you are repeatedly pressured to buy more expensive products. His inexpensive products are deliberately left vague and incomplete to get you to buy more expensive products. Here’s an email I got from one of Sheets’ customers about attempts to sell him other things. Here are other emails about Sheets.

A couple of people have told me they made a lot of money in real estate because of Sheets. I don't believe it. I have read a considerable portion of his material and have yet to find any ideas that would lead to anyone making money.

At worst, the people who have contacted me are simply shills who are lying. At best, they are sincere people who did, in fact, get into real estate and make money, but they are erroneously attributing their success to Sheets. If you truly think Sheets’ advice made you money, please tell me which one of Sheets’ books gave you the ideas you used to make money, and the page and line numbers of the idea or ideas in question. I suspect that if any of these people are sincere, they will be surprised to find that they cannot cite a single specific piece of Sheets’ advice that helped them, other than his general statement that you can make money in real estate. [Note: This request has been on this site for many months. I have yet to hear from a single investor who can point to a quote in a Sheets’ book and say it made him money.]

The real-estate world has long been inhabited by thousands of successful people who got into real estate because of some bogus guru, could not make money with the guru ideas they had so expensively purchased, but ended up discovering other, legitimate ways to make money in real estate on their own. Most of these folks are intelligent enough to recognize that they were taken by the guru and succeeded more in spite of him than because of him. But a small percentage of people are sufficiently dimwitted and easily manipulated that they retain their love for their guru long after they should have noticed that his stuff really did not work and they actually made their money using a different approach.

I am bemused to note that some spell checkers suggest replacing “Carleton” with “charlatan.” Is that a mechanical result of the similarity of the two words—or is a guy in the spellchecking company an unhappy customer?

A person who attended a Russ Whitney seminar deliberately gave a particular misspelling of his name to the Whitney registration clerk. Later, he received a mail solicitation with that same misspelling from Carleton Sheets.

On 5/3/09, I got an email from a woman who made the mistake of giving Sheets organization her name and phone number. She says it now seems like they call her every other day trying to pressure her into paying $1,995 for “mentoring.”

Robert Shemin (Nashville, TN)

Click here to read my review of his book. I found it to be a mixture of good and bad advice. In general, it contained the same stuff that is in the run-of-the-mill real-estate-investment seminar for laymen—look for “motivated” sellers, put the phrase “or assigns” in contracts, etc. I recall no Shemin idea that I have not seen dozens of times elsewhere.

Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate

When I visited it years ago, the Web site for this “course” or whatever it is had, in white letters on a white background, the following:

Carleton Sheets Don Lapre no money down Wade Cook foreclosures Carlton Sheets Carleton Sheets is OK, but there is a low-cost, more powerful alternative... Carleton Sheets Real Estate Carleton Sheets Real Estate Carlton Sheets Real Estate

The use of such “invisible” words at a Web page is dishonest. See item # 19 of my Real Estate B.S. Artist Detection Checklist. Note that I do not have a person’s name here for my rating. The Web site for this whatever does not list the name of a single human being or company except for the ones he, she, they claim he, she, they are better than, like Carleton Sheets. That’s strange. A visitor to this page tells me Bill Vaughn is the author.

This Web site has a logo that says “Registered Safer Shopping Site ePublic Eye.” A number of readers have noted that logo appearing on other sites of gurus I do not recommend. Apparently, that organization has far lower standards than I.

On 1/26/05, I got an email purportedly from “Chuck Hall, Administrator, IntelliBiz.” It says that my statement that they have the above words in white letters on a white background is a “lie.” Accordingly, I changed the tense of the first sentence in this review to the past tense. I have not checked their Web site recently. I guarantee that the above statement about white-on-white words was accurate when I first wrote it.

Howard Small—unknown

Use my Real Estate B.S. Artist Detection Checklist to evaluate this guru.

James Smith

I have been told repeatedly that he is a very entertaining speaker. So if you want to learn how to be a very entertaining speaker, catch his act. With regard to his real estate investment advice, compare what he says and does to my Real Estate B.S. Artits Detection Checklist. For me to review him in more detail, someone needs to give me a publication he has written.

Thomas Stanley

Click here to read my review of the book he co-authored, The Millionaire Next Door.

John Stefanchik (Salt Lake City, UT or NYC?)

A visitor to this site tells me Stefanchik was associated with Larry Pino whom I do not recommend. That visitor also said Stefanchik had a $7,000 seminar and a $600 course. $7,000 is too much for a seminar. See my article on expensive seminars, "boot camps," and "mentoring" services. $600 is probably too much for a course. I'd have to see it to be sure.

I called to confirm those prices. Although the woman answered the phone, "Stefanchik Organization," she claimed not to know the prices of anything except their $19.95 book and video tape and made no offer to find out. I do not know what Stefanchik does, but many sellers of high-priced seminars and courses market them via high-pressure telephone salespeople who are on commission. A visitor to this site tells me Stefanchik’s “Financial Mastery” course costs $2,995 and that his “Business Coaching” course costs $1,495.

A reader loaned me his Wealth Without Boundaries book. I saw no problem with it. It should be noted that paper is outside my area of expertise. It appeared to be a book that would sell for $15 to $20 in a book store.

In August, 2004, the Federal Trade Commission sued Stefanchik, The Beringer Corporation, Scott B. Christensen, and Atlas Marketing, Inc. The suit alleges that the defendants made false and unsubstantiated earning claims and told consumers they would get a coach who was experienced in mortgage paper transactions who would be readily available to them. Apparently the coaches did not always have such experience and were not always available to customers.

On January 3, 2005, U.S. District court Judge Ricardo Martinez of the Western District of Washington issued a preliminary injunction. It prohibits Stefanchik and Beringer from making false and unsubstantiated earnings claims about their program and from making false claims that their program coaches have substantial experience in the paper business and are readily available to assist consumers. You can read about this at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/01/stefanchik.htm. Also, I have posted the government stuff at www.johntreed.com/Stefanchik.html in case the government takes it off their Web site in the future.

See also the mention of Stefanchik under Ted Thomas.

Here is an email I got about Stefanchik:

Dear Mr. Reed,

In the last year and a half, I have tried to find a way to increase my income as a retired person, and answered many flyers promising untold riches from work at home programs. One of the companies I responded to was John Stephanchik's. I received a video and some printed matter for I think $24.95. Of course the video made it seem as easy as frying eggs. When I called their 800 number a skilled salesman responded, and in asking many of his very obvious questions, he would use the phrase,"Wouldn't you agree?", one would have to be an idiot not to. When he reached the bottom line, the price of the program was about $5,000 or $7,000 to which I said, "No, thank you." He then started to lower the price to $3,000, then $1000, $700, $500, and I think when the conversation ended he was down to $250. Somewhere during the conversation he used the phrase OPM - other people's money, meaning to borrow on a credit card to pay for something, initially, then to make enough money to pay off the credit card.

About six months later I responded to Michael Warren's Easy Money From Bad Debts. Again I received a video, and a booklet promoting his Judgement & Lien program. Again I called the 800 number and spoke with what seemed like the same person from the Stephanchik's organization. The voice seemed familiar, and he also kept using the phrase, "Wouldn't you agree?" after making very obvious statements.

In our conversation, he said you would only need about three pieces of paper to use for assigning the judgements over to yourself. He told me he was going to give me some telephone numbers where I could order several very low interest rate credit cards to make balance transfers to, in order to give me more time to make money using the program. Because we are going to use OPM to pay for it. He was very skilled and smooth in his logic and salesmanship. He knew the right buttons to press, (I think, because we had a previous conversation six months earlier). When he told me the price of the program was $3545, it took my breath away. He said for that amount I would be getting a personal counselor to walk me through the program step by step. I then gave him my credit card numbers, and he said there could be no refund once I made the purchase. I am not a naive or stupid person, but the pressure I felt at the time, by this skilled, smooth talking salesman, named Randy did not allow for the presence of mind to say, I would like to think about it for a couple of days. Three weeks later the three package course arrived and I proceeded to listen to the six audio tapes of nothing but paperwork. It just went on and on and on. The course is very negative, going after dead beat dads for child support, attaching people's bank accounts and property, suspending people's driver's license, garnishing their wages. It was all so very unsavory and negative.

When I called the company to demand my money back, and to return the course. I was given another telephone number to call. When the operator answered the said 'Stephanchik Company'. I said I wanted the Michael Warren Company. "We also handle Michael Warren's business too," she said.. It became obvious to me that Stephanchick and Warren have somehow combined operations. The video came from Salt Lake City, Utah, but the course came from Colorado Springs, Colorado. After several delays, they finally put Randy on the phone to me. He started arguing with me immediately. Saying you haven't even contacted your counselor. Work the business in order to pay for your course. I said I don't want to work the business. Give me your address so I can send back the course. He said, we don't want it, it's your property, it belongs to you.

I called my two banks and initiated disputes of payment to my MasterCard's and, also contacted the District Attorney in Colorado Springs. They told me that there was a suit against Michael Warren in Florida, and to write to the D.A. summarizing my dispute as misrepresentation, and they would see it they can attach it to the same suit in Florida.Alas, they could not. Michael Warren never responded to the dispute after 45 days, and my bank credited my account for the money.

I found you website, alas too late, but I appreciate your efforts and investigation of the dubious offers that come to people as scurrilous scams and deceitfulness. Could you tell me where I might obtain your BS Detector?

You have my permission to use my letter in part or in entirety.

Very sincerely yours, Peter Filancia

Continue on to Part 5


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