Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Breaking: SEC/FBI Raids Offices of USFIA's Steve "GemCoins" Chen - FBI at John Wuo's House Earlier

Happier times for GemCoiners.
Update Oct 1 6:45 AM PDT: Terry Miller clocks in with this Arcadia Weekly article (link).

Update Sep 30 5:00 AM PDT: Kasey Chang has added a new report to his A (MLM) Skeptic site on the history of Steve Chen's various "enterprises." Lots of fascinating details on just how things did get to this point. Great background for those who are catching up with this story (Link here).

Update Sep 30 4:50 AM PDT: Behind MLM report can be linked to here. Hilarious captions added to Terry Miller's photos. Great comments from Behind MLM's highly astute readership give additional insight. These guys were all over the GemCoin ponzi scheme from the very beginning.

Update Sep 30 4:30 AM PDT: Epoch Times has a story up, though if you are not a Mandarin speaker you will likely need to use an on-line translator (link). According to OZ at Behind MLM you can view "the Receivership’s website from that report, although it’s not ready yet (currently using template information from another case). Registered less than 24 hrs ago:"

Update Sep 29 9:30 PDT: Some great photos from Beacon Media's main man Terry Miller just arrived. Many of them shots of USFIA employees fleeing after having been booted from their offices by the Feds. The chopper is ICE, which is interesting. Also, a lot of Mercedes Benzes in that lot. I guess when you're using other peoples' stolen money you can buy your employees nice cars. What happens to those people now?

Update Sep 29 9:00 PDT: Pasadena Star News weighs in.

For the rest of the Pasadena Star News article click here.

Update Sep 29 5:15 PDT: Copy of the SEC's Temporary Restraining Order below. The FBI and SEC are now in the USFIA offices seizing everything. FBI showed up at 1PM and started clearing out the building. Everything is going into boxes and being taken away for further evaluation.

Update Sep 29 5:25 PDT: Several FBI officers were at John Wuo's house today. Arcadia PD was brought in as backup. Arcadia now joins Bell, Cudahy and Santa Fe Springs as cities with officials braced by the Feds in the last 5 years. We apparently are in the evidence gathering stage, and the Feds must having figured Johnny GemCoins has got some.

Note: The Honorary Chairman of the US/China Consultation Assoc cited on the SEC complaint and in the list of seized bank accounts is none other than John Wuo. Small world, eh?

Update Sep 29 5:40 PDT: USFIA/Chen bank assets seized. Graphic in a few minutes.

Update Sep 29 6:50 PDT: Bank seizure documents now just below the SEC document.

Bank Account seizure documents.

7:45 Sep 29 PDT: Comment from the invaluable Behind MLM website (link): "The SEC’s filing against USFIA marks the first regulatory action we’ve seen against an MLM cryptocurrency opportunity in the US."

So is the party now over for John Wuo and Steve Chen? More updates as they arrive.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

You Mean It Isn't Only GemCoins and Johnny Wuo? Steve Chen and the Alleged Amkey Lead Content Controversy

USFIA and Arcadia's own, Steve Chen, is not just the master of GemCoins. Which, as you already know, are supposedly backed by an amber mine in the Dominican Republic. Ever the bold entrepreneur, Steve is also the owner of a nutritional supplement products company of some notoriety called Amkey. Which actually predates USFIA and its amber mine backed crypto-currency. On the Amkey website they describe themselves this way:

"A leading nutritional supplement products corporation, Amkey, Inc, is the provider of the world’s only cell renewal and protection products with multiple international patents. We are a US company established in June 2003 headquartered in Los Angeles, California. We are an e-commerce network marketing company combining R&D, production and the sales of high-tech nutritional supplement products, skin care products and daily sundry items."

Here is a screenshot of the fine products offered by Amkey.

Here are some of the claims made for these products on the Amkey website (link):

Step right up.
The Newest Health Concepts of the 21st Century! The Most Current Medical Research! A Modern Five-Step Program! Modern medical science has proven that the seven essential nutritional elements for health are the following: 1) carbohydrates, 2) cholesterol, 3) fat, 4) water, 5) vitamins, 6) micronutrients, and 7) fiber. For the first 4 mentioned, we can obtain our basic needs from a normal diet. But as for vitamins, micronutrients, and fiber, what we can absorb from a normal diet is far from what we need. We must use health products to make up the difference. Lacking these 3 nutritional elements are the main reasons for underdevelopment of children, high blood pressure, excess fat lipids in the blood, heart disease, diabetes, bone and joint disease, osteoporosis, tumors, etc. Following this medical health theory, Amkey can make up the deficiencies of vitamins, micronutrients, and fiber. Using biotech engineering, Amkey has discovered a completely new concept in complex health products – the Sunshine Nutrition Set.

And speaking of sunshine, the President of Amkey is none other than Mr. Steven Chen. The very same fellow often credited for leading Arcadia City Councilmember and former three time Mayor John Wuo down the amber laden GemCoin trail to his current political notoriety.

As you can see from the following screenshot, Amkey is currently headquartered at the same Arcadia address as USFIA (link), the company made famous for its creation and distribution of GemCoins. Which, as you already know, are backed by an amber mine.

So we have now established a decent enough Internet bunny trail for Amkey and its "essential nutritional elements for health" claims. However, and as you have probably guessed by now because we are posting about this company, there was a slight problem a few years back. This first notice comes to us from the Law Offices of Andrew L. Packard (link):

This rather unfortunate news was followed by another troubling notice (link). This one was issued nearly 5 months later by the Environmental Research Center, which we now know is represented by Andrew L. Packard. The time difference apparently indicates that Amkey did not recall its products as requested, or rush to get the lead out of its health supplement products.

It was after the ERC sent the above notice that the Office of California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued the following 60 day notice (link):

Something that to me indicates the Environmental Research Center and their legal representation, Attorney Andrew L. Packard, have some real juice in this state.

Bonus Coverage

There is an article up on Kasey Chang's website called "USFIA Update: Turns out USFIA itself is a reload scam... Successor to Amkey." While it doesn't deal with the problem of Amkey's alleged lead content in its health supplements, there is some pretty juicy stuff. Including this passage:

You can check out the rest of Kasey's article on both Amkey and other related things by clicking here.

We will continue to research this matter and report back in the following days if we come up with any further findings.

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Public Records Act Request for Jeff and Taryn Hildreth

(Mod: I received the following e-mail from Taryn Hildreth a few days ago. I get a lot of requests for updates regarding the Hildreth's legal conflicts with the City of Sierra Madre, and there is no better source than Taryn. I will be filing a California Public Records Act request today for the information the Hildreths have been trying to get from City Hall. We'll see if I have any better luck. By law the city would be required to cough this information up, so we'll have to see how this goes. I will keep you updated. And by the way, I'd do the same thing for you. Just so you know.)

Hi John. Hope all is well with you. We wanted to give you an update. We were scheduled to start trial on September 28; however, the courtroom is dark that day. Our trial has been rescheduled to start October 19th.

Unfortunately, our attorney passed away 2 weeks ago. He was a wonderful man with incredible integrity, who wanted to right a wrong from the City's lies. He was able to save our house from the wrecking ball so that we have the evidence in court that our property is not a "public nuisance", that there are no code violations, and that we have valid permits. We will be forever grateful to him.

The City's attorneys expected that we would have no choice but to represent ourselves again in pro per. Fortunately, we have an attorney who is willing to help us continue our fight and has substituted in. We did ask the court for a 90 day extension, so that the attorney could be brought up to speed. The 5 year statute is up December 1st and the City would not stipulate to an extension. Therefore, we must be prepared for trial on October 19th. I am 99.9% sure that the date will not be changed again.

On another note, we are hoping for a little help in finding information pertaining to how much money the City has paid in legal fees regarding our case. We feel that you will have better luck, as the City has continuously ignored our requests. It is our understanding that it is against the law for the City's attorneys of record to represent the City on a contingency basis. We believe that is why they are not providing a response to the multiple requests for Public Records that we have submitted.

The following is what we have requested and the City has chosen to ignore. Obviously we are currently involved in trial prep and will not have time to pursue the matter until after the trial. We think the City is violating the law or they would have provided all of the information we requested. We think the City stopped paying the Dapeer law firm in 2013.

The following is the timeframe regarding our Public Records Acts requests:

February 17, 2015: We submitted a request for Public Records asking for copies of all invoices from Dapeer law firm regarding the property and/or Hildreths from June 1, 2009 thru January 31, 2015.

February 27, 2015: we received a letter from the City stating that "Most files specific to our request were located offsite. We will respond to your request on March 23, 2015."

March 27, 2015: I paid for and picked up copies of the Dapeer invoices; however, the invoices provided were only thru April 2013.

April 7, 2015: We requested confirmation as to whether the invoices given were complete or incomplete. We stated that no invoices were provided dated after April 30, 2013.

May 12, 2015: We sent a re-request for all invoices whether paid or unpaid from the Dapeer law firm for services provided between April 1, 2013 and April 30, 2015.

July 2, 2015: We e-mailed a letter to the City stating that a response had not been received.

July 13, 2015: The City sent a letter stating that all Requests for Public Records had been responded to. (This is not true. They have ignored the requests and re-request for information pertaining to Dapeer law firm and payments made between April 1, 2013-April 30, 2015).

Between July 13 and August 13: The City sent an email stating that the City no longer had to provide a response to our Request for Public Records regarding invoices, stating attorney/client priviledge.

August 13, 2015: We refined our request asking for the following:

1. Any form of compensation whether check, warrant, I.O.U. or other, made by the City of Sierra Madre to Dapeer,  Rosenblit, Litvak LLP or any of its employees or affiliated entities, between January 1, 2013 and July 31, 2015 for services related directly or indirectly to 187 East Montecito Ave., Jeff Hildreth, or Taryn Hildreth.

2. Accounts payable reports by month for vendor to Dapeer, Rosenblit, Litvak LLP and any affiliated entities or employees, for calendar years 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, for a total of six individual reports with reports for 2010-2014 containing data by month for Jan-Dec of the specific year and 2015 containing Data by month for Jan-July.

To date, we have still have had no response.

John, you have moxie, so thank you,

Jeff and Taryn  Hildreth

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Kasey Chang on Chinese Political Culture, Mayors, Guns and the GemCoin Ponzi Scheme

Mod: The following article recently appeared on Kasey Chang's "A (MLM) Skeptic" (link) website. I thought I should repost it here because it will provide you with a lot of invaluable perspective on the role of mainland Chinese political culture played in Arcadia's current GemCoin scandals. Of particular interest is the strange dynamic between Steve Chen and John Wuo, and why this scandal was likely to occur here.

Bonus Coverage: (Behind MLM) USFIA pay out $100,000s in car bonuses at Ponzi pageant

Click here for the rest.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Your Saturday Sierra Madre Water Crisis "It's Safe to Drink" Review

When it comes to water the troubles of our favorite town seem to be endless. One consequence being it does give us a lot of material for this blog. Always important. And now it appears that the various water woes in Sierra Madre have escalated to even higher levels of controversy. Here are a few related items that have become available in the last few days. The first of which comes to us from the latest edition of the somewhat transparent City Manager's weekly report (link):

That term "more stringent action" likely means increased levels of fining for those using too much water. A controversial item in itself as many of those on the receiving end of those fines aren't always convinced they deserve that kind of attention, or should have to pay so much. 

But is the city's inability to attain its conservation goals really the fault of those who will be the target of this increased fining stringency? Here is an exchange between a resident and Bruce Inman that we posted just the other day.

So is it possible that those additional small percentages of inappropriate water use, which have now left the city short of its 32% state mandated water reduction target, were actually caused by the recent rash of water pipe leaks? As typified by this recent article from the current incarnation of the Sierra Madre Patch (link)?

Perhaps Sierra Madre's long suffering residents have been doing exactly what they are supposed to do, saving water, and the real source of the problem lies elsewhere? Could be.

So just how widespread are the city's water leak troubles? This from yesterday's e-mail blasted "Sierra Madre Public Works Dept. - Special Message."

Triage indeed. Sometimes you have to wonder who really should be paying those "more stringent" city water fines.

This next item appears in today's edition of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune:

Today's SGV Tribune report also alludes to that troubling juxtaposition of city water pipe leaks and state mandated water reduction goals. You can read the rest here.