Prime Video Series LuLaRich Documents Another Pyramid Scheme
Pyramid schemes have been a feature of the American marketplace for decades, taking advantage of the hopes and dreams of homemakers across the country so that a privileged few at the top of the organization can profit. And now Amazon Prime Video has released a four-part docuseries, LuLaRich, detailing the ins and outs of the latest entry in the pyramid scheme (also known as multi-level marketing) world, LaLaRoe.
LuLaRoe started out as the vision of a very intense blonde woman with a dream, DeAnne Brady. DeAnne began selling what were referred to in the docuseries time and again as buttery-soft leggings in blazingly loud and eccentric patterns at small after school parties she threw herself. After her initial successes, she teamed with her suppliers to sell the leggings through a network of stay-at-home moms.
DeAnne’s vision eventually blossomed, with the help of her compliant husband Mark Stidham, into the billion-dollar company LuLaRoe, whose name conjures the elite athleisure brand LuLuLemon, but which DeAnne explained comes from the names of her three children. Women were sold dreams of owning their own businesses when they bought thousands of dollars of merchandise from LuLaRoe, making the company rich but their own fortunes murky.
As the company’s onboarding skyrocketed, thousands of women bought LuLaRoe stock they were unable to sell, while those at the top of the pyramid — the recruiters — got six-figure checks for the new heads they brought into the company. Women were told they weren’t working hard enough as they lost homes and cars and their families fell apart because of the debt and lack of income that LuLaRoe had introduced to their lives.
And that’s not to mention the minefield of weird 1950s-housewife ideology and admonitions to travel to Mexico for gastric surgery that emanated from DeAnne to her devoted followers. There were blowout cruises with Katy Perry concerts and gifts for the most successful recruiters and a cult-like vibe that more than one former member noted.
The biggest problem with all of this is that it’s not particularly illegal! Pyramid schemes sadly — so long as they meet a list of legal requirements — are not disallowed. Washington State did successfully sue LuLaRoe for $4.5m, money that the state recovered for itself that came with a list of strings attached, requiring LuLaRoe to change some of its worst business practices.
But if you or your firm is representing a client tied up in a multi-level marketing dispute, you will need a team of expert witnesses at your side — whether to prove the existence or non-existence of a pyramid scheme, figure out the financial angles involved with the arrangement, and the like.
Because of the legal grey zone in which they exist, pyramid schemes can be a whole lot of work for attorneys to deal with. So call OEN today for help putting together your expert witness team.
If you or your firm have expert witness needs on any type of case, call OEN today at 617–528–0055 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for help putting together your expert witness team.