Selling the American Dream: Investigations Inc.

Beyond Herbalife: Selling the American Dream
Some swear by it and have built successful careers, but others say it’s led to their financial ruin. Led by CNBC’s Herb Greenberg, Investigations Inc. goes inside the world of multi-level marketing showing how quickly people can find themselves dealing with unmanageable debt.


Watch the Show

  • Main Street Bubble     Wednesday, 9 Jan 2013 | 1:30 PM ET

    Industry critic Robert Fitzpatrick calls multi-level marketing "the Main Street bubble" that will eventually burst.

  • Where Are the Regulators?     Wednesday, 9 Jan 2013 | 1:30 PM ET

    MLM attorney Kevin Thompson says there's currently no law in the U.S. that clearly delineates good companies from bad.

  • Buying Into the Dream     Wednesday, 9 Jan 2013 | 1:30 PM ET

    MLM sales pitch may not be for everybody. Former Herbalife distributors share their stories.


  • Hedge Fund guru Bill Ackman strongly defended his characterization of Herbalife,as a "pyramid scheme" on Thursday, telling CNBC that the nutrition company was luring "millions of low income people around the world" into a system he called fraudulent.

About Selling the American Dream

  • They promote the good life: An opportunity to own a business and “earn what you’re worth.” In a bad economy, millions of people from around the world buy into these spectacular “income opportunities.” But critics like Robert Fitzpatrick say there’s a catch: chances of success are slim, and people who buy into multi-level marketing opportunities lose more than $10 billion every year. Another wall street critic claims that Herbalife, one of the biggest MLM’s is a “pyramid scheme” that has done “enormous harm” to millions of people. Something Herbalife vehemently denies. “Selling the American Dream” goes inside the world of multi-level marketing, which hawks products like weight-loss shakes, skin creams and vitamins, but also is in the business of selling the dream of riches. Our investigation shows how quickly people can find themselves in financial ruin, when investments they are encouraged to make in MLM businesses turn into unmanageable debt.


  • Herb Greenberg is the editor of Herb Greenberg’s Reality Check, a subscription newsletter for investors focused on risk.

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