Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

Reflections from Reporting on Child Welfare

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Published by Medium on September 14th, 2016.

The reasons most often cited for removing children from their families seemed to be a direct result of poverty. It doesn’t take much to unravel a family trapped in poverty. But a little help often goes a long way. It can save a family… It is impossible to talk about child welfare reform without talking about class.

 

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Unveiling the Exploiters: Anatomy of an Investigation of Vemma

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Published by Covering Business on November 10th, 2014.

Getting brushed off by the Attorney General’s Office left me plenty of time to traipse over to the Municipal Court to comb through more documents. This is where I discovered Boreyko had gotten divorced last year. As any journo knows, divorce records can be a goldmine. In essence, Boreyko was collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent by leasing the property to his other companies, including Vemma.

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Vemma Nutrition Shut Down for Running Pyramid Scheme

Vemma signage at US Airways Center, 201 E Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ.

Published by Al Jazeera America on August 26th, 2015.

In October, Al Jazeera exposed the company’s predatory practices and the lucrative lifestyle it afforded CEO Benson Keith Boreyko in a series about multilevel marketing firms. In the stories about Vemma, Al Jazeera detailed how the company rebranded itself to appeal to unsuspecting teens with its Young People Revolution, or YPR, movement. The stories unearthed information about his former company New Vision, which was also shut down by the FTC.

“[The Al Jazeera report] was the only in-depth, extensive coverage of Vemma by mainstream media, which lent weight and force to the FTC’s investigation,” said Robert Fitzpatrick, who runs the watchdog website Pyramid Scheme Alert and was quoted in another story in the series about the psychology behind multilevel marketing firms. 

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How It’s Made: Overseas Investigations

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Published by the Tow Center on December 5th, 2011.

Another way to find sources is to identify shareholders or directors who are particularly active in your target company.  CIF has a director who held high-ranking positions in state-owned companies. I had more luck getting him on the phone, in part because he was harder to track down and had not been contacted yet by other reporters…

Click here to read “How It’s Made: Overseas Investigations”