Garry and Jennifer De Brabander
Dates of Herbalife Distributorship: 1985 – present
Status in Herbalife: Chairman’s Club
Business Methods: Training and Presentations; Online Recruiting Businesses, Success Training Seminars
All statements in the report are made pursuant to Pershing Square’s disclaimer available at www.factsaboutherbalife.com.
Background on Herbalife-Related Businesses
- Average to Fortune (ATF) is a business operated by Garry and Jennifer de Brabander that provided recruiting scripts, training tools, and other business methods to members. The business is currently hosted on the website www.garnifer.com (domain registration attached as de Brabander Exhibit A). The domain registration lists 72 Sundance Way, Runaway Bay, QLD 4216, Australia. The name “Garnifer” appears to be a combination of the names “Garry” and “Jennifer”. The company’s website was formerly www.atfsystems.com (see also www.atfresources.com), available at http://web.archive.org/web/20040211112404/http://atfsystems.com/. Before ATF, the business was called Newest Way to Wealth (NWTW). NWTW was a lead generation business founded by Chairman’s Club member Doran Andry and other senior Herbalife distributors in the 1990s. See, e.g., de Brabander Exhibit B (Amended Complaint at ¶ 21, Jacobs. v. Herbalife International Inc., et al., No. 02-01431 FMC (C.D. Cal. May 2, 2013) (class action alleging that Herbalife and NWTW, operated by Andry and other senior Herbalife distributors, constitute a pyramid scheme)). The former website is available at http://web.archive.org/web/20020604030241/http://nwtwteam.com/. The nwtwteam.com website transitioned to ATF in 2003, see, e.g., http://web.archive.org/web/20030805080845/http://nwtwteam.com/.
o There are a number of other domains that link to the ATF website, and list names other than Garry de Brabander under “Contact Us”. We believe these people are members of de Brabander’s downline who use other domain names to lead potential recruits to the Average to Fortune site. These alternative domains include, but are not limited to:
- http://www.workah.com (Rob & Kristie Walsh)
- http://www.homebiz21.com (Helen Xie “and the Team”)
- http://www.walk2work.net (Sally Brink)
- http://lifechanger.info (Chris & Rita Hart-Smith)
- http://stayhealthynz.co.nz (Steve Nock)
- http://www.homeprofit.com.au (Britta Lerve)
- http://deletetheboss.com (Mike Thoars)
Primary Source Data on Business Practices
- An older version of the ATF site referenced a training video that members could send to recruits. See http://web.archive.org/web/20040211185207/http://www.atfsystems.com/atfwheel/training_and_support.asp?userID=FfmVrrRk (“The package comes as either a multimedia CD or a video, audio, and manual package.”)
- Upon Garry and Jennifer de Brabander’s qualification for the Chairman’s Club, the Herbalife Broadcast Network (HBN) assembled a promotional video honoring the de Brabanders, available at http://factsaboutherbalife.com/category/compensation-scheme/top-earners/chairmans-club/.
o In the video, Garry de Brabander is seen at an Herbalife event telling an audience that despite his uncertainty about the business, “alls I knew was, what? Use the products, wear the button, talk to masses of people, you’re gonna be OK.”
o Speaking about their newfound financial freedom years later, Garry says, “We couldn’t give to our children the things we wanted to give them as they were growing up because of lack of money, but now we have six wonderful grandchildren which we just absolutely adore and we can give them everything now.” Jennifer continues, saying, “It’s now an absolute dream come true now to be able to do things for our grandchildren. . . . It’s become a perfect life for our children, and that is all thanks to Herbalife.” The video continues to flash between images of vacations on boats and expensive cars parked in front of what appears to be the de Brabander’s house.
o Declaring his unwavering confidence in the Herbalife business model, Garry tells the audience that “sometimes a lot of distributors will come up and they’ll say, well, you know ‘Was there any really, you know, times that you didn’t think this was ever going to work?’ And, to be quite honest, no, there wasn’t any time. From that moment I had results on the products—and you were the same, right? [Jennifer agrees]—we knew, I mean I knew in my heart, that this is going to fulfill every dream I had. . . . Hey, if Jenny and I can do it, anybody can do it, I gotta tell you that. And hopefully it’ll inspire people that are out there, that, listen, this is an attainable goal, you can do it, I promise you, you can do it.”
- On the current Average to Fortune website, the de Brabanders offer “video testimonials”, available at http://www.garnifer.com/templates/10/video-testimonials.php, that promote the Herbalife business opportunity.
o In the first video, “Victor” notes that his first jobs “straight out of high school” were not ones that would allow him to “make . . . the money I wanted to make, or live the lifestyle I wanted to live.” Speaking about the growth of his Herbalife business and the “fun” opportunities it has provided, Victor says, “In the first month, helping a few friends out who noticed my results, you know, I made about $450. And now I’ve enrolled a couple of my friends in my business. We just have the best fun. We travel. I’ve been to L.A., I’ve been to Bangkok, Adelaide, Queensland, Surfers Paradise. It’s just been the best fun. But the best thing for me is I can actually see all my dreams and all my ambitions coming true, you know, in a very short period of time with this opportunity. Now, I make between $2-$3,000 a month, and that’s still part-time around a full-time job. So, I absolutely love where this is taking me and I’m so excited for the future.”
o In the second video, “Judy” and “Wendy” speak with an Herbalife poster (the word “Herbalife” can be seen on the poster between them) and Herbalife green-colored wall behind them. Toward the conclusion of the video, Wendy notes that “working just a few hours a day, we’ve been able to bring in an extra $25,000 into our household in the last three months. And you know what? It’s growing all the time.”
o The final two videos emphasize the “time freedom” that the Herbalife opportunity affords its distributors. In the third video, “Jude” and “Rod” speak about how happy they are to be able to work together from home, and that they now make $10,000 per month. In the fourth video, “Liz” and “Michael” are sitting with their baby “Jacob.” Michael explains that, “We initially saw this business as a way to make some extra cash around our full-time jobs, but we’re soon to see that this could not only give us a bit of financial freedom but time freedom. Time to spend at home and work from home, and be around when raising our young family.” Liz continues, saying, “Since Jacob was born just six and a half months ago, I’ve been able to work this business from home extremely part-time, like, you know, one or two hours a day, and sometimes no hours at all, let’s be honest. And I’ve still been able to run my business really effectively from home.” Liz concludes by noting the substantial income she is able to make even working “extremely” part-time. “So, I guess the best thing is that in the last month working extremely part-time around my baby, my income from this business has been over $3,000.”
- Various versions of the ATF website deceptively advertise the ease with which recruits can find success with the Herbalife business opportunity.
o The current site notes that wherever you live, “you can make money with our incredible opportunity . . . The journey from Average to Fortune starts here . . . it’s as simple as reading through this website, getting an understanding of our philosophy and then talking to a personal business coach on how you can start your journey.”
o An older version of the ATF site, available at http://web.archive.org/web/20040211185207/http://www.atfsystems.com/atfwheel/training_and_support.asp?userID=FfmVrrRk, notes that “[a]ll you need is the desire to succeed, be teachable and willing to learn, have the desire to change, and have the self-control to follow our proven system.”
- ATF offers text, video, and personal training resources for Herbalife recruits.
o An older version of the ATF website, available at http://web.archive.org/web/20120916034328/https://www.atfresources.com/resource_centre/retail_support/docs/distributor-training-outline.pdf, details the “Training and Support Services” available to new distributors, much of which is focused on recruiting new distributors into the scheme. In particular, ATF offers:
- “Training Material,” including “either a multimedia CD or a video, audio, and manual package.” This is also referred to as the “Decision Package,” which was priced at $A49 / $NZ69. See http://web.archive.org/web/20041129121419/http://user.atfsystems.com/get_started.asp?userID=G1JY8mH1.
- “Mentor Program.”
- “The Training Modules,” which are conference calls focusing on “the basics of business organization, setup, and all aspects of the ongoing growth and development of your business. While on these calls you will have the opportunity to hear success stories and lessons learned from your peers.”
- “Focus Groups,” which are weekly conference calls of “no more than 8 members per group . . . where the team works together to strategize and formulate marketing plans.”
- “TouchFon Communication,” which is described by ATF as “possibly our most powerful ‘secret weapon.’ This is a telephone based communication and training system . . . .”
- “Success Training Seminars,” which are one-day events “designed to provide . . . a crash course on the state of the industry and new marketing and advertising campaigns.” See infra for more on the link between Success Training Seminars and Herbalife.
- “Satellite Broadcast Network,” which likely refers to Herbalife Broadcast Network (HBN).
- “Powerful Internet tools and your own personal website,” as well as other “turnkey business solutions.”
o Moreover, as mentioned above, the current iteration of the ATF site offers new recruits the opportunity “to a personal business coach on how you can start your journey.”
o Among the training materials that ATF offers is a “Training Outline,” attached as de Brabander Exhibit C and available at http://web.archive.org/web/20120916034328/https://www.atfresources.com/resource_centre/retail_support/docs/distributor-training-outline.pdf. The Training Outline focuses on persuasion tactics for convincing potential buyers to purchase Herbalife products. For instance, readers are told, “From the facts and your own experience you know that the products are SAFE and that they WORK. YOUR confidence from using the products is what dictates whether or not people believe the products are SAFE and WORK. . . . “WHO CAN USE THE PRODUCTS? – EVERY BODY! [sic]”
- Similarly, an older version of the ATF website offered “testimonials” promoting exaggerated claims about the efficacy of Herbalife products. According to one such testimonial, “Belinda” not only claims that she has lost weight using Herbalife products, but that Herbalife products have also rid her of the need to take medication for her Multiple Sclerosis. “I no longer need to take any of my medication! I don’t suffer from fatigue and have heaps of ENERGY to walk everywhere. No more eye problems, migraines, anxiety/panic attacks, asthma, muscle joint aches & pain, food cravings and my depression has lifted. . . . The best part is my Neurologist has said and confirmed that my M.S. is STABLE!” See de Brabander Exhibit D, available at https://www.atfresources.com/testimonials/docs/2006/04/05/belindas_herbalife_story3.pdf.
- While the current site doesn’t mention Herbalife by name, it does refer to “Success Training Seminars” when listing the various “Training and Support Services” available to new recruits—an apparent reference to Herbalife Success Training Seminars (STS) for new distributors. Indeed, Garry Brabander spoke at an Herbalife STS in Australia. See de Brabander Exhibit E. Moreover, as mentioned supra, the video testimonials included on site make clear that this is an Herbalife business. In addition, an older version of the ATF website requires an “Herbalife ID” for members to log-in. See http://web.archive.org/web/20050225082231/http://www.atfresources.com/index.php.
Links to Herbalife Corporate Leadership
- Herbalife awarded the de Brabanders the Mark Hughes Bonus Award—a large, discretionary bonus that Herbalife awards to top distributors—in 2003. See /content/uploads/2016/02/16145420/97.pdf at 4.
- Herbalife sent a flyer to distributors congratulating the de Brabanders on becoming members of the Chairman’s Club in 2004. Herbalife also posted a brief profile of the de Brabander’s in a 2009 Herbalife Australia pitch book.
- The Herbalife Family Foundation—Herbalife’s charitable organization—awarded the de Brabanders its first Humanitarian award in 2007. The de Brabanders received the award from Herbalife Chairman and CEO Michael O. Johnson.
These businesses may present additional avenues for investigation, as sources for ill-gotten gains or in other respects.
- In the Herbalife Broadcast Network (HBN) promotional video in honor of the de Brabander’s qualification for the Chairman’s Club, supra, a logo for a business called Garnifer & Associates International Pty Ltd is shown at 3:09. See infra for more details on and a link to this video.