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Amateur forex trader working for multi-level marketing firm ‘fed people lies’ to recruit


A woman who claims she failed to make any money while working for a multi-level marketing firm has admitted she ‘fed people lies’ to recruit them in order to dodge the hefty membership fees in a shocking new documentary. 

BBC Three’s Instatraders delves into the recent foreign exchange craze on social media, where slick Instagram accounts and YouTube channels point to forex trading – betting on the value of a currency going up or down – as a route to earning extra cash. 

But Birmingham-based BBC reporter Dion Hesson discovered it’s harder than it sounds to make a living from trading when you’re a total novice.

He signed up to IM Academy, an American multilevel marketing (MLM) company that sells foreign exchange education packages with educational webinars and mentoring, and eventually trading platforms. 

But despite generating a small profit from his £100 trade, he realised he would need to invest thousands to cover his £202 membership fee, £240 sign-up fee and ongoing education alone. If he wanted to take home £1,000 a month, he’d need to be trading with over £13,000.

Dion also explored the other side to the company – the recruitment and referral strand – where people are encouraged to sign up new members in exchange for commission and waiving their membership fees.

He spoke to several critics of IM Academy, some of whom openly claimed they ‘sold people a dream’ that didn’t exist. 

An amateur forex trader who claims she failed to make any money while working for a multi-level marketing firm has admitted she 'fed people lies' to recruit them in order to dodge the hefty membership fees in a shocking new documentary

An amateur forex trader who claims she failed to make any money while working for a multi-level marketing firm has admitted she ‘fed people lies’ to recruit them in order to dodge the hefty membership fees in a shocking new documentary

One woman from the US, known only as Asha, said she worked the ‘hardest three months of her life’ and failed to make any profit.

‘If anything I was feeding people lies because I was saying I was making money and I had made not one bit of money,’ she told Dion. ‘The three months I worked there, I worked harder than I ever worked in my whole entire life and still didn’t make no money from it. 

‘I didn’t even know how to trade, but I know how to recruit, which is weird. But I was very excited to get people the opportunity to make money, so I was selling them false hope, but also excited to sell them the hopes because I was still believing in the plan.’

Another ex-IM Academy member, called Darius, claimed the company has a ‘real way of pulling people in and keeping them, selling them a dream and a hope’.

‘I was bringing people in that were wanting to learn to trade just like me even though I didn’t know how to trade. So that was tricky once they got in,’ he said.

Birmingham-based BBC reporter Dion Hesson discovers becoming a forex trader is harder than it sounds to make a living from when you're a total novice

Birmingham-based BBC reporter Dion Hesson discovers becoming a forex trader is harder than it sounds to make a living from when you’re a total novice

Meanwhile Frank, who joined IM Academy to learn how to trade, ‘not how to recruit’, said he lost $5,660 in the forex market. 

Dion also spoke to current ‘mentors’ within IM Academy, none of whom would reveal what they earned, claiming it went against company rules to do so.

IM Academy policy forbids members from making income claims on social media, websites and videos, which covers what they make through trading and sales, including lifestyle claims and photos of things like cash, fancy cars and yachts. 

One, known as Junior, said he made ‘enough’, describing it as ‘mortgage money’ and ‘a very sexy amount of money’. 

Another mentor called Anika, who was secretly recorded delivering a seminar, urged people to try to recruit IM Academy members at their local supermarket, branding the service she offers ‘a form of charity’.

‘When you go Tesco, when you go Asda, I try to go to a till where I see someone youngish that looks a bit driven, that looks like they don’t really want to be there. Then I say, “Are you open-minded to making extra income?”, with a big smile on my face [sic],’ she explained.

Another IM Academy mentor called Anika, who was secretly recorded delivering a seminar, urged people to try to recruit members at their local supermarket, branding the service she offers 'a form of charity'

Another IM Academy mentor called Anika, who was secretly recorded delivering a seminar, urged people to try to recruit members at their local supermarket, branding the service she offers ‘a form of charity’

‘I don’t use the word trading anymore, I’m like, “Have you heard of residual income?”. Let’s not feel shy about it. We’re not shy to make money, we’re not shy to help other people. 

‘A lot of people’s reasons why is to impact the world, is to build an orphanage, is to build a place of worship, is to help other families, to help the poor, right, but this is literally, to me, in my eyes, it’s a form of charity because you are helping someone else.

‘You are changing someone else’s life and do you know what’s going to happen? They join the business, they’re able to leave their job, they’re able to retire their parents, right, they’re able to achieve their goals, and then they come and thank you.’ 

The documentary also featured videos posted by IM Academy's CEO Christopher Terry, pictured

The documentary also featured videos posted by IM Academy’s CEO Christopher Terry, pictured

But a study of amateur forex traders like Dion – who completed the IM Academy training that came with its elite package – showed four in five lose money. However, IM Academy doesn’t monitor its students’ trading so it doesn’t know if it counters this trend.

The documentary also featured videos posted by IM Academy’s CEO Christopher Terry, including one in which he appeared to advise members to distance themselves from their family if they don’t support their ‘dream’.

During a Panda Takeover Zoom he shared a holiday message, urging members to ‘change your energy to become something else now… to a billionaire mindset’.

‘Do not allow any of your friends and family through these holidays to try to steal your dream,’ he added. ‘Do not. If anybody says anything about you, you put your hand up and say no.’ 

Dion claimed he attempted to reach Chris Terry and even wrote a letter when emails went unanswered. But when the team visited addresses in the US listed as belonging to the company, one was a postbox while another was at the Rockefeller Centre in New York, but there was ‘no sign of them anywhere in the building’.

Its registered address in Northern Ireland was also reportedly that of lady who registers companies. 

MLM expert Robert Fitzpatrick, who has been investigating companies like IM Academy for 30 years, said forex trading is a good product for a MLM to sell because ‘no one knows what it is’.

‘Instant money, opportunity, education, it just doesn’t exist, that’s called magic, and magic is an illusion,’ he argued. 

Dion claimed he attempted tor each Chris Terry and even wrote a letter when emails went unanswered, but when the team visited addresses in the US listed as belonging to the company, one was a postbox while another was at the Rockefeller Centre in New York, but there was 'no sign of them anywhere in the building'

Dion claimed he attempted tor each Chris Terry and even wrote a letter when emails went unanswered, but when the team visited addresses in the US listed as belonging to the company, one was a postbox while another was at the Rockefeller Centre in New York, but there was ‘no sign of them anywhere in the building’

‘Forex trading, who knows what that is? But trust us, there’s a lot of money to be made over there, but you’re also told bring some other people in too. Each person that comes in has to pay money to get in, so there’s…



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