here’s no shortage of ways to get rich in America – but there are a lot more ways to get tricked out of your money. As the collapse of the subprime mortgage bubble continues to drain the economy, it’s easy to see that real estate get-rich-quick schemes – like Robert Allen’s – played a role in fooling a lot of people into getting in over their heads.
Allen’s scheme is described succinctly on the Consumerist, a popular blog detailing average consumers’ run-ins with customer service, corporate idiocy and generally annoying and dishonest behavior. The set-up is simple; a big, flashy presentation lures a crowd into paying for a course that will make you millions overnight.
That course is light on the details and heavy on the sales pitch – for the next course. It ramps up to weekend retreats and, finally, $30,000 for a "mastery class" that promises the "real" secret to instant wealth.
It’s easy to see how these courses suck people in: people get hyped up about the promise of easy riches, and then, once they make the first initial investment, they feel compelled to keep going to get to the end. Just as an addicted gambler keeps playing just one more hand of blackjack hoping to win it all back, the victims of schemes like Robert Allen’s dig themselves into a hole.
To be clear, there’s nothing illegal about these kind of programs – they rely on people’s apparently inexhaustible belief that it is possible to get something for nothing – or no money down.