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September 5, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Nutritional products company Herbalife Ltd., battling allegations that it operates an illegal pyramid scheme, has a new and unexpected advocate: former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Villaraigosa, who left office June 30 after eight years as mayor, will serve as a senior advisor to Herbalife Chief Executive Michael O. Johnson and the company's board of directors, the company said Thursday in a news release. Villaraigosa will counsel Herbalife on "strategic business development and global community outreach," the Los Angeles company said.
January 29, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
This just got personal. Herbalife Ltd. has obtained the rights to domain names such as and, a sign that the Los Angeles nutritional products company may be planning a public campaign against one of its biggest critics -- billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman. Ackman said Herbalife is worried about his assertions that it is a pyramid scheme in which distributors are paid more for recruiting new distributors than for selling its diet shakes and protein powders.
December 23, 1998 | From Bloomberg News
Two former executives at FutureNet Inc., a Valencia-based network marketing company, agreed on Tuesday to settle federal charges that they took part in a pyramid scheme that offered Internet distributorships. The Federal Trade Commission said it reached an agreement with Robert Depew and David Soto, barring the former executives from engaging in pyramids in the future.
Rough times don't ruffle Howard Ruff. Fired as president of beleaguered FundAmerica Inc. of Irvine on Monday, Ruff said Tuesday that he is seriously thinking about starting a similar company. "I'm getting a lot of pressure to start a FundAmerica equivalent," he said in an interview. He said there was a "50-50" chance he would actually found a new multilevel marketing company.
Amway Corp., which built a billion-dollar success story through a friendly neighborhood sales force, announced sweeping job cuts Wednesday, part of a major restructuring to compete in the faceless world of the Internet. The direct-sales giant said it will cut nearly 11% of its global work force, or 1,300 jobs, including positions at its Buena Park operations, a move designed to save $300 million annually.
January 11, 2000
PharmaPrint Inc., trying to build business after its only major customer gave notice of terminating a contract, said Monday that it will try to fend off an attempt to remove its stock from the Nasdaq National Market system. The money-losing Irvine maker of herbal and dietary supplements said in a press release that it has been informed that its financial condition has worsened to the point that it no longer meets Nasdaq criteria for listing its stock on the national market.
March 28, 2001 | From Associated Press
An Arizona company that sells "Internet malls"--Web sites with links to retailers--will pay $5 million back to its customers to settle charges that it operated an illegal pyramid scheme, federal regulators announced Tuesday. Mark and Harry Tahiliani, the proprietors of the Web site called, also agreed to post a $500,000 bond before engaging in another similar marketing operation, the Federal Trade Commission said.
May 6, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Herbalife Ltd. shares were up more than 5% Monday and had passed the price they   were when hedge fund manager Bill Ackman accused the Los Angeles nutritional products company of operating a long-running pyramid scheme. The company's stock price plummeted Dec. 19 after Ackman publicly disclosed that he had taken a $1-billion short against its shares. Within four trading days of Ackman's announcement, the stock fell 43%, reaching $24.24 on Christmas Eve. The downswing created a buying opportunity for billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who now owns nearly 16% of the company's shares.
July 31, 2013 | By Andrew Tangel
NEW YORK -- Another Wall Street tycoon has reportedly joined the battle over Herbalife Ltd., the Los Angeles nutritional products maker. George Soros, the legendary investor known for his support of liberal causes, has taken a big bet on Herbalife, according to the financial news network CNBC. Soros has purchased a significant chunk of Herbalife shares, wagering that the company's fortunes will rise, according to the the television station, which cited anonymous sources. A spokesman for Soros declined to comment.
September 6, 2013 | By Karin Klein and Jon Healey
Lose cred now. Ask him how. Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is going to work for Herbalife, the much-maligned company that pitches dietary supplements to people eager to be as trim as, well, the former mayor. It also happens to be fighting allegations that the company's multi-level marketing plan is actually a pyramid scheme.  We're almost speechless. Almost. Herbalife's less-than-sterling reputation is an odd thing for a erstwhile top city official to associate his name with, especially if he has any remaining political ambitions, as Villaraigosa certainly had at some point.
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