Wednesday, April 26, 2006

SEC Attorney Kelly Bowers comments on Charis Johnson's New Business

As promised, I followed up on my initial promise to contact the SEC regarding Charis Johnson's new business venture, Startup Street. I first contacted the SEC's press inquiry office who referred me to the individuals responsible for the initial filing against Ms. Johnson and 12 Daily Pro, the SEC's Pacific Field Office. In the press release by the SEC, three individuals are named - Randall Lee, Michele Layne, and Kelly Bowers. Each of these are attorneys working for the SEC's field office and are responsible for filing the injunction against 12DailyPro.

After contacting Randall Lee, I was referred to Kelly Bowers. Mr. Bowers was kind enough to speak with me regarding the questions about Ms. Johnson's new business. I asked him whether or not the SEC injunction prevents Charis Johnson from starting a new business and he said that it does not. The SEC filing only prevents Ms. Johnson from advertising and selling unlicensed or fraudulent securities and nothing else. So, at this time, Charis Johnson is free to start any new business she likes and to continue starting and running any new ventures, as long as they do not have anything to do with the selling of unlicensed securities. Mr. Kelly Bowers told me he could not comment further on the legality or legitimacy of Charis Johnson's new business, but the injunction does not prevent her from running it. This would presumably also make her blogging legal.

This answers the question of whether or not Ms. Johnson is allowed to run a business under her previous company name, LifeClicks LLC, or her new business name, BizClicks LLC, at least as far as the SEC is concerned. As I have previously posted, the registration info for the domain startupst.com was registered under LifeClicks LLC, which was the same name used for the now defunct 12DP registration. Even though, as some people have pointed out to me, that the company is registered under the name BizClicks, the domain registar WHOIS data clearly shows otherwise.

Still, the purpose and function of Startup Street is uncertain. Since it first opened, the site design and functions have changed quite a bit, and it now seems to only carry tutorials and guides for individuals on how to make money and is only selling information and referrals to affiliate programs and advertising companies, such as AdBrite. Many people have expressed concern that the site is just a simple ruse to collect individuals personal data to be sold to third parties for marketing purposes, but that has yet to be shown.

The site does come with a legal disclaimer though, which states the following:

Legal Disclaimer

All of the programs and website listed here were researched by our staff. We do our best to provide you with accurate information and recemmendations. However, we make no representations or guarantees of the quality of the products or services that you may individually purchase from these vendors. We also make no guarantee that you can or will earn any particular amount of money with any site or program listed on our site. Your sucess and earnings with any online venture are directly related to your own efforts, not in any way to information provided on this website.
Clearly many people will still be skeptical of anything Charis Johnson does now and in the future because of her past association with 12DailyPro, which the SEC labeled as a "massive ponzi scheme". Yet, there are still faithful and true believers in Ms. Johnson and might continue to follow her like a lemming to the edge of a cliff.

But, as Mr. Bowers stated before we ended our phone conversation, that as for the legitimacy of the work of Ms. Johnson, I would need to read between the lines and "draw my own conclusions".

3 comments:

Charis Johnson said...

This is Charis Johnson. I would like to ask you a few simple questions.

1. Why exactly is it that you are more concerned with spending days trying to talk to someone at the SEC about my new legitimate business instead of inquiring as to why thousands of businesses like my former one are still being allowed to operate?

2. How many more people are going to lose money to these programs before supposed 'responsible journalists' tell the real story of the industry instead of villifyoing one person?

3. Do you even care about all of the millions of people that are still losing money this very second to paid surfing programs? If so, why are spending your time on me instead of trying to help incover those programs and save those people?

4. Why don't you visit autosurfmonitor.com, talkgold.com, and moneymakergroup.com and report back to your readers just what you find there about these programs and their history.

5. Do you have any desire to help people or just to revel in your own brilliance?

6. Are you going to do anything to help?

My guess is you'll only spend more time talking about how evil I am, even though you don't know me or anything about my intentions, my motives, or why I am inside.

pogue said...

Ms. Johnson --

Here are the responses to your questions below.

1. Unfortunately, I do not have the time nor resources to devote to validating the legitimacy of all online internet investment programs, although I do warn users against those which I feel are suspicious. I do not recommend to anyone publicly or privately to invest in questionable programs, and instead advise them to invest into legitimate bank accounts, such as ING Direct (as noted on the right side of my site). Secondly, as for why I chose to contact the SEC regarding your new business, the reason was two fold. One was to follow up on a promise to my readers to determine whether you were in violation of the SEC's injunction against you as ABC4 has claimed, which I showed was false. Secondly, since you are a public figure, running a public business, you should expect to receive press regarding the activities you engage in. Since I publish a blog, which I consider to be journalist in nature, I have covered the ongoings of you and 12DP/StormPay since the scandal began. You can expect I will continue to monitor your activity and report on it as you remain in the limelight.

2. A legitimate question which I have a solid answer for. I am currently doing research for an article that will be posted in the near future on my blog regarding the influx of online auto-surf/HYIP programs and the problems surrounding them. Because I am trying to be as non-biased as possible, I am interviewing people from both sides of the fence. Once it is completed, I will post it here in it's entirety with comments from both administrators of these programs, naysayers, script authors, and consumer advocates who monitor this type of activity. As for others who wish to engage in these programs, there are already sites dedicated to informing people about them and their real intent, such as quatloos.com. Individuals have free will and must choose whether or not to walk blindly into something or research it and come to their own conclusions first. Some people simply have to learn on their own.

3. As I mentioned in answer number one, I have neither the time nor resources (nor obviously does any government agency) to police the vast amount of content on the internet and what people choose to do with their money - whether they invest it wisely or foolishly. Alternately, I could ask the same question to you. What is your concern with the individuals who invested a claimed total of $50 million dollars in your program and the majority of those who lost it? What do you have to say about the allegations against you that the SEC says you were running a "pure ponzi" and skimmed $1.9 million of your investors money? If so, what are you trying to do to help them recover their money? If your intentions are legitimate then I commend you on your efforts. However, I am sure you must realize that many people are skeptical (and rightly so) of you and any programs or businesses you choose to run in the future.

4. It is in progress. Check back soon and I will post my full report.

5. I feel I am helping people by publishing facts, instead of hearsay, conjecture, and speculation. I quote my sources and follow up on my leads. As for my brilliance, I don't recall ever mentioning it.

6. What would you suggest? Perhaps I have already helped people steer clear of possible scam companies and businesses. The effects of writing in this manner are difficult to measure, but I will continue to do so as my time and energy allows.

Perhaps your guess about yourself is a Freudian slip, but you are correct about one thing - I will continue reporting on you - good or evil, as long as what you do peaks the interest of me and others. As for your intentions, motives, and feelings, you are more than welcome to post them here. I will even suggest that if you are interested in being interviewed and sharing your views with my audience, then I would be more than willing to conduct an interview with you about any topic you choose. If you're interested, feel free to contact me - pogue23 @ sbcglobal.net

Thank you for your feedback.

Walter Slayter said...

4/26/2006

Hi, Everyone from Walter Slayter

They say a cat has nine lives. I wonder how many of them are used up.
Charis Johnson stole my $12,000 December 10, 2005. She is a theif.
I contacted the law, the FBI, the Attorney Generals, and sent the proofs and paper work and they did nothing. Now the SEC is doing nothing. The thief lives on!!!
I have 12,000 reasons to want the thief brought to justice. Please do all you can to make that happen.

Thanks in advance,

Walter Slayter
wslayter@yahoo.com
Phone 870-364-5653

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