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Tag: Le-Vel

What do we know about CO 528-ZJV?

While the media have been in snooze mode over the past few days, I came across a short video blog posted on December 13 by Daniel Bishop. At 1:03 Bishop mentions “everyone wanting to know what happened to Shan’ann Watts’ car.”

https://youtu.be/4dHC3Xzken4

Bishop describes Shan’ann’s vehicle as leased, and given to her by Thrive as part of an “auto bonus.” Remember Thrive? How long has been since Thrive or MLM has entered the media narrative, or any narrative regarding this case?  Too long in my view. I suspect Bishop’s contention that the Lexus was a lease is true, and have suspected that for some time, but is there any proof of this?

What the Discovery Documents say about Shan’ann’s Lexus

Lexus appears 69 times in the Discovery Documents, while the word car appears 87 times. And there it is in black and white:

Curiously, the wording isn’t even that Shan’ann had leased the Lexus, but that the “Watts family” had leased it. This suggests that technically it wasn’t “Shan’ann’s car” even in the family sense, especially if Watts was paying for the lease.

 

Now we don’t know that for sure, but consider what we do know:

  1. The Lexus was usually parked inside the garage while Chris Watts’ truck was invariably outside [the vehicular equivalent of him not sleeping in his own bed, but in the basement].
  2. Watts’ work truck was outside during a hailstorm, one Shan’ann filmed, while “her” vehicle was in the garage. According to Watts, be believed his vehicle had been vandalized or broken into, but left his toolboxes in the back unlocked to “see if anyone was trying to break into the truck” again.
  3. Watts used the Lexus frequently while Shan’ann was away, including to drive his mistress to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve on the weekend of July 28.
  4. Following a six minute call to Shan’ann, Shan’ann sent Watts an insurance identification card on the Lexus on July 30, the morning following his return from the Great Sand Dunes National Park. It seems Watts used this information to renew the insurance [another expense] effective from August 15 to February 15. It’s unclear whether the car was insured prior to these dates, and who was paying the insurance premium. The fact that Watts appears to have requested insurance information may indicate that they had defaulted on these payments, or that he intended to take them over once Shan’ann was dead.
  5. Watts was not allowed to run errands in his work truck, which was fitted with a GPS and monitored by Anadarko. This means technically, neither Watts nor his wife were actually vehicle owners in their own right. It also meant he would necessarily need to use the Lexus himself, and Shana’nn’s Facebook does show Watts often behind the wheel, while she is in the passenger seat.

According to Bishop, the leasing company took back Shan’ann’s 2016 Lexus, and because it was too old to be leased out any further, they auctioned it off. So, CO 528-ZJV – like Chris Watts – is gone.

Over the past month or so, Chris Watts has been villainised [not without good reason] and Nichol Kessinger villified, particularly on social media. But one entity has come out of this debacle with barely a speck of blame. Let’s deal with Thrive again, briefly, and the “auto bonus” spiel. We’ll so via Shan’ann and other MLMers.

What Shan’ann and other MLMers say about the luxury car bonus

Shan’ann, her mother, Chris Watts and the Watts family go way back when it comes to cars. Shan’ann used to work at Dirty South after all.

So posing next to cars was almost second nature to her, and if you’re a mechanic, what’s wrong with you or your wife, or you and your wife, using a snazzy car to sell shit?

This just happened! Share this… Nickole Utoft just hit 12K and is going to pick out her Luxury Car Bonus. She can choose from Cadillac, Lexus, Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Tesla! I’m so excited for her! Paul Gravette Addy Molony Samantha Pasley Amanda Aikman

Posted by Shanann Watts on Monday, June 25, 2018

In the above video, Shan’ann and her fellow promoters are at the rooftop pool of a San Diego hotel, when Shan’ann announces Nickole Atkinson has hit her “12K”, and earned her auto bonus. Atkinson appears to shed a tear on camera, that’s how moved she is by her achievement, and the honor of being recognized by her MLM peers.

In the video, dated June 26, Shan’ann adds that Nickole had started working full-time as a Thrive promoter for the past month [presumably June], “working the business”, and that she [Nickole] had quit her job of 14 years to do that. Basically, after working for Thrive full-time for a month, selling vitamin patches and shakes, the company apparently wanted to give Atkinson a car to reward her for her hard work.

The Discovery Documents, however, disagree with Shan’ann’s claim that Nickole had quit her job in May or June 2018.

Here it is:

On August 21, when detective Baumhover contacted Atkinson, she was getting ready to do a night shift as a nursing assistance at Mesa Vista Nursing Home in Boulder, a short drive west of Frederick and Erie.

 

In the video, Atkinson mentions using her auto bonus to get a Tesla, but it’s clear in the crime scene footage that she’s still driving a white Mazda Dodge GT more than six weeks after the rooftop video was recorded.

We know that Chris Watts had received an auto bonus as well, yet in spite of Shan’ann’s grandstanding on social media in May that she was shopping for a new Lexus for him, on his behalf,  he never acted on his auto bonus either.

But Shan’ann was using Chris Watts’ Facebook as an additional “profile”, if you will, to market, promote and sell Thrive products. So his auto bonus, was actually hers.

But that exposes the above spiel as more than a little misleading. If Shan’ann was speaking on Watts’ behalf, telling everyone he was shopping for a new luxury car, when it was actually her auto bonus, her business, and her aspirations [or promotional aspirations], then she was representing an acquisitive ability that wasn’t merely a gross exaggeration, we’re able to see in the discovery dump that it wasn’t true.

Put simply, Shan’ann was advocating spending beyond their means as a way of promoting a product, and using the idea of living beyond one’s means [as a sort of dream-come-true fantasy] as a sales hook. In other words, her sales pitch was essentially to lure others into spending beyond their means as well. Quit your job – like I have – get free stuff, live the glamorous life, and…have no money at the end of it.

In one of the few instances where the Discovery Documents do deal with the Watts finances in some detail, notice the manner in which Watts cagily frames the situation around the Lexus.

It’s “their” car, not Shan’ann’s car, and it’s not a lease, it’s paid for by the company.

This is Watts doing a Thrive spiel to the cops, only, a police interrogation is where pitching fairy tales no longer works.

In reality, the Lexus wasn’t paid for by anyone, it belonged to the leasing company.

Now, it’s probably important to head off the counters to these counters, one of them being that the Watts vehicle was part of a hire-purchase arrangement, and that eventually they would become the owners of the vehicle.

One way to address that, besides through the semantics in the Discovery Documents [the word “lease” isn’t used multiple times accidentally], is to look at former employees and to see what they say about their experience with MLMs. So there’s not a lot of information out there from disgruntled employees, but there is some, like this, posted on Reddit in 2017.Of course, former employees are contractually and legally obligated not to disclose sensitive information, and if they do, they can be – and often are – sued.

But Thrivers don’t pose around fancy cars, and post themselves doing that on Facebook, do they?

According to lazymanandmoney.com, Le-Vel/Thrive aren’t unique in using the luxury car lure as bait. It’s pretty much standard practice when it comes to MLM companies:

The dirty little secret promoters won’t tell you, is that far from the auto bonus being a reward for hard work, the promoters are required to get a lease when they reach a particular milestone. This obligation then infects that person’s social network, as everyone goes gaga about X’s brand new car and the wonderful company X works for. It’s marketing gold, and it mainlines into the greed/envy/ego aspect of a person.

At 5:37 in the clip above, HBO’s John Oliver refers to the “dangling of vast lifestyle improvements”, especially flashy cars, and luxury travel, as being “at the heart of the MLM pitch.”

A cursory glance at Shan’ann’s Facebook profile provides confirmation of this. She uses almost every Live pitch to punt the lifestyle perks – flexi hours, better health, wealth, holidays and overall luxury. [Meanwhile, her credit cards are maxed out, she’s about to lose her house,and tragically in Shan’ann’s case, her life].

An argument can be made that Shan’ann started losing her life before she died. That she was so caught up in something, it swallowed her up, and encouraged the swallowing up and wholesale consumption of others, so that while this was happening, she was blinded to not one, by many obvious realities.

The Lexus is one reality that was employed in the Watts family fairy tale to convey an alternative reality.

The white Lexus in the Watts’ garage was a beautiful lie, and each day, that beautiful lie propelled Shan’ann and her two beautiful children through their days. Unbeknownst to them, the beautiful lie was slowly but surely conveying them – and their murderer – to an ultimate destination: permanent ruin.

Ironically, since Shan’ann’s nightmarish murder and burial on a leased oil site, rather than taking a knock, Thrive seems to have reaped a whirlwind of “positive” publicity.

Millions of curious Americans have visited Shan’ann’s still public page since August 13th, and in the process of getting to know her by watching her videos, millions have been pitched.

A sizable fraction of those visitors have undoubtedly converted into the Thrive fairy tale. Think about it. Thanks to Shan’ann’s grotesque death and dumping of her body “like trash” at CERVI 319, Thrive have likely seen a windfall of sales over the last four months leading up to Christmas.

Postscript:

The Discovery Documents also provide fascinating insight into how Watts changed his parking habits at the time of the murders, not only in terms of the truck [which was normally parked to the left of the front door, and Watts typically exited the house through the front door], but the Lexus as well.

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And then there’s this. The Discovery Documents are unambiguous about Watts not only backing up his truck onto the driveway on the morning of the disappearance, but that witnesses had observed the Lexus’s rear hatch was open at the same time. Fullscreen capture 20181223 023950

This could mean that one or more bodies were stowed in the boot of the Lexus prior to being transferred to the truck. It’s also possible then, that one or more of the bodies wasn’t carried outside in plain sight, but transferred instead in the semi-enclosed garage area, in the blind area of Trisnatich’s camera [in other words, from the Lexus hatch to the very rear of the truck].

Chris Watts: “Most Likely to Spend Daddy’s Money” and other T-Shirts

At 1:38 in the video clip below, Shan’ann reads aloud the writing on Bellas’s shirt:

“Does it say, ‘Most likely to spend daddy’s money’?”she asks Bella.

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Much of the Watts Family album is peppered with branding, aphorisms, quotes etc. There are a lot of words painted on walls, t-shirts, plastered over Facebook and attached to patches. There are dream boards and Thrive branded promotion messages. During virtually every promotion Shan’ann loads onto Facebook, she’s wearing the product, showing the product, sometimes eating the product or feeding it – on camera – to family, friends or other promoters.

By branding something, one is saying “this is what this is”. By branding someone, or oneself, one saying “this is what I am”, or “this is who I cam” [because of a particular product I’m using, and trying to sell]. But this is the biggest mismatch of all, in terms of the Watts family. How they were branded, and what things really were like, couldn’t have been more different.

Below is a sample of the incredible array of branded products and t-shirts Shan’ann used to brand herself and her family with.

Le-Vel Gear Store #ThriveVegas

Posted by Shanann Watts on Thursday, February 8, 2018

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Bahahahaha

Posted by Shanann Watts on Monday, April 24, 2017

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What did the mid-term elections have to do with the Watts case?

True Crime Rocket Science is about thinking a lot deeper and further than everyone else. Those visiting this page are encouraged to think further than the low-hanging fruit. This is an example.

What did the mid-term elections have to do with the Watts case?

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No, the mid-term elections aren’t relevant simply [and only] because they fell on the same as the plea deal hearing.

Shan’ann Watts, the company she promoted and the mid-term elections all have one central idea in common, and, believe it or not, most Americans feel very strong about this issue right now.  That issue is health care.

Let’s start addressing the three levels of this question at the far end, at the level of the elections and voters as a national community, and work our way back to Shan’ann and you, the reader.

1. What does it mean that Healthcare is such a big issue right now?

Health care is a huge issue, not only to Americans, but to many people around the world. Health care costs are rising. Obesity, diabetes and cancer rates are rising, and with it, health care [which ought really to be called disease care].

To appreciate the magnitude of the problem, one only has to look at how healthcare costs have increased in America over the past 20 years.

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While housing costs have gone up 57%, healthcare rates have increased by a factor of five. Over the same period, average incomes have increased only 2%. So it’s no wonder the biggest expense [the fastest growing expense] is the biggest issue right now among American voters.

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What does it mean that healthcare is such a big issue? Well, it means families with constrained incomes [like the Watts family], where unexpected medical issues and chronic disease care [for example a pregnancy, and an autoimmune disease like lupus] will almost inevitably face bankruptcy.

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2. What does Le-Vel and Thrive have to do with Healthcare, or the fact that it’s such a big deal to the average American?

Does Le-Vel have anything to with healthcare, healthcare costs, or the struggle for some families – like the Watts family – living paycheck to paycheck to pay for their healthcare?

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What does Le-Vel and Thrive have to do with healthcare? How about everything?

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Le-Vel markets itself as a health and wellness company, a panacea to America’s wellness dilemma. Put a patch on your arm and your healthcare and money problems are solved.

Thrive is the missing piece in the health and wealth puzzle. Stick on a patch and your life changes – instantly! Not only do you feel better [instantly] you can also make money helping millions of others to feel better too, and make so much money while you’re at it, you can have the luxury car of your dreams, you can even elevate your lifestyle from whatever it is to a PREMIUM lifestyle.

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If you’re not convinced by dry analysis, try Le-Vel’s own promotion spiel for size, and see if you pick up the twin solution for a health and income fix in their promo video about a revolutionary new, innovative, magical formula of powders, shakes and patches.

The part at the end, in black and white, is easy to miss.

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Zooming in the fineprint acknowledges that actually, Le-Vel products aren’t intended to replace healthcare, and becoming a promoter comes with no financial guarantees, in fact you “could also earn no income at all”. So…don’t give up your day job or your current healthcare provider?

So does Thrive even work? As a wellness product and a source of household income?

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One online review site cites “limited earning potential” as one of the downsides of Le-Vel. Just how limited are we talking about? According to the review, promoters can expect a paycheck of $30-$50 per month, which will require hard work, 3-5 hours daily to achieve. Imagine working 3 hours daily for a month and coming out with $30? How many waiters would want a gig like that, even if it came with a nice healthy salad bonus at the end of the month?

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3. What does Healthcare have to do with Shan’ann Watts, or why she was murdered?

Does Shan’ann’s health have to do with anything here? When I searched for MLM under the #ChrisWatts hashtag on twitter, I found just two posts. A paltry pool of just 29 voted on my poll about the impact MLM [Le-Vel/Thrive] had on the murders.

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It’s unclear whether Gerard Courcy is correct that Watts’ defense team intended to blame the murders on Thrive, but it would make a damned lot of sense if that was their strategy, wouldn’t it? They could lay both the financial burden at Le-Vel’s door, as well as the not entirely health affirming side-effects of their product, especially if used to excess.

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The short version is that unlike most Le-Vel promoters, Shan’ann had serious health challenges, and so did her youngest daughter Ceecee. Those health challenges and associates expenses don’t resonate with us because they’re not ours to deal with, or ours to pay. Adding a pregnancy to the equation, meant the medical expenses were about to be leveraged even higher.

Shan’ann Watts was murdered eight hours [arguably five] before a doctor’s appointment. Did that appointment matter to her murderer, do you think? Who do you think would be paying for it if Shan’ann was making $50 a month, or if she was doing really well, perhaps $250 a month?

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Now let’s get back to the original question:

What did the mid-term elections have to do with the Watts case?

Healthcare. In summary then, healthcare matters in the Watts case more than most have acknowledged thus far. A criminal trial would have exposed the minutiae of the healthcare debacle the Watts family found themselves in, and also the driving forces behind them. It would have presented millions of Americans, including the over three million who watched the video above, a swath of compromised individuals in effect, with a cautionary parable regarding one particular multi-level marketing company. A criminal trial could have saved tens of thousands of damaged and dysfunctional marriages and maladapative belief systems.

Because Chris Watts signed a plea agreement, not of this will come to light through the evidentiary process of expert witnesses, and the lazer focus of a high-profile trial covered by the media.

By his taking it all on himself, all the blame, Le-Vel has dodged a bullet.

No, no, no Nickole – a “best friend” should know better!

This post from last Saturday [November 3rd, 2018] has since been removed from Nickoke Atkinson’s Facebook timeline. Less than four months after the Watts family murder, Shan’ann’s “best friend” seems to be back into the swing of all things Le-Vel.

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Scroll down the comments and Shan’ann’s mother doesn’t seem like the grieving mother or grandmother, does she? Has Sandi Onorati Rzucek inherited Shan’ann’s MLM setup, is that why she’s so gung-ho about it?

Just how desperate are these Thrivers?

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Sound Familiar? 5 of the 15 Most Hated Multi-Level Marketing Companies Right Now [August 2018]

On August 10, 2018, just two days prior to the Watts Family Murder, Cheat Sheet published an authoritative list of the 15 most hated MLM companies in America.

The article opens with these ominous words:

If you have a social media account, then you’ve probably received a message from an old friend you haven’t spoken to in years. But usually that person isn’t reaching out because they miss you — they’re trying to rekindle your relationship so they can sell you something.

Multi-level marketing (MLM), also known as direct selling, is a strategy that some companies use to peddle their products. Consultants get paid by selling the product directly to friends and family in addition to recruiting new sellers into their “downline.” There are no physical store locations for this type of merchandise — if you want to order your leggings or anti-wrinkle cream, you have to call up your local sales rep.

Not all MLM companies are pyramid schemes — but many are universally reviled by both the people who work for them and the potential customers who are sick of constantly being pestered by friends to buy the products. Ahead, discover the most hated multi-level marking companies today — including the one with a billion dollar lawsuit pending (number 7).

Number 1 on Cheat Sheet’s list is LULAROE. Guess who sold LULAROE from home?

Number 12 on their list is YOUNIQUE. Guess who who was selling YOUNIQUE from her bathroom?

https://youtu.be/U0W8ixwbEY8

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Cheat Sheet lists LE-VEL as their 13th most hated MLM company. Cheat Sheet’s description of Le-Vel is appropriately cautious:

If you’ve seen someone wearing a curious looking sticker on their skin, you may have come in contact with a Le-Vel brand promoter. If you believe that vitamin nutrition patches are just what you’ve been missing in your life, then go ahead and strike up a conversation with them.

The company sells these patches to help with weight management, mental clarity, increased energy, improved circulation, and appetite control. Do they work? That’s for you to decide — but it won’t be cheap to find out. Like other MLM companies, the more people you recruit to sell magic vitamin patches, the more you earn.

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Two other hated MLM companies worth noting on this list are AMWAY and HERBALIFE.

Here’s the Cheat Sheet lowdown on Amway:

The largest and oldest MLM also has some of the biggest critics. Amway reported sales of $8.6 billion in 2017, making it a bona fide direct sales success story. But not everyone is thrilled with what they’re selling — or how they’re selling it.

MLM companies often tout flexibility and the opportunity to get rich quick. But Amway distributors aren’t always successful. One former rep put it this way:

“The two years I was supposedly building my Amway business, I lost nearly $10,000 on tapes, seminars, books, gas, and travel expenses for out-of-town seminars. My earnings? Less than $500 total. Since I was unemployed — and pretty much unemployable for any nonburger-flipping job — those $10,000 came exclusively from my grandmother, who was also my biggest (and only) Amway customer, buying expensive, ‘concentrated’ Amway products she didn’t need, every month to support me.”

Now, Herbalife.

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Want proof that people hate Herbalife? The Federal Trade Commission mailed checks to 350,000 people who lost money running Herbalife businesses. This is one of the largest settlements and distributions the agency has ever made.

While they were never officially called a pyramid scheme, the PR disaster forced the company to restructure and seriously rethink their marketing efforts. The majority of profits came from recruiting new sellers, not from selling product. And that is the very definition of a pyramid scheme — whether they admit it or not.

If Shan’ann Watts was in over her head with Le-Vel, the fact that she was also drinking the MLM Kool-Aid with at least two other companies shows just how deep into a debt-trap the Watts family must have been in the summer of 2018.

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“Because of Le-Vel…” I am…dead?

MLM has been compared to a cult. The cliche fits because both involve prescriptive beliefs, members only and members only rules, non-disclosure agreements, scams to make money and ultimately, ruin and doom for those who drink the Kool-Aid and sign their lives away to these schemes.

In the two years Shan’ann Watts was involved, she went completely over to the dark side. She wore the t-shirts, it took over her social media, it took over her family, it took over her mind. Even her phone was branded with the Le-Vel logo.

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Below are a few screengrabs from one of Shan’ann’s Live videos. They reveal the particular flavor of Kool-Aid the Le-Vel cult was drinking.

At the very bottom is Shan’ann’s prayer flag, sticky-taped onto a makeshift shrine to Le-Vel.

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Because of Le-Vel Shan’ann Watts was able to retire at 33-years-old. That’s quite a boast. Is it true?

And then there’s this:

Because of Le-Vel I have my life back.

But did it give her her life, or cost her her life?

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Shan’ann Watts: Just another [Chaotic] day in the life of a “Stay-at-Home” Mom

Le-Vel wasn’t the only MLM company Shan’ann Watts was hawking products for from home, there were others too including Lula Roe clothing and Younique cosmetics. Rocket Science has covered this in a recent post listing these MLM brands in the top 15 most hated in America.

It’s one thing to name and shame these companies, it’s another to go behind-the-scenes and get what this looks and feels like.

In Shan’ann’s Facebook Live video below all the usual suspects are there – Chris Watts, the Thayers, Nickole Atkinson and her daughter Madison. Far from being just a regular stay-at-home, Shan’ann was working hard to turn her home into a MLM shopping mall.

Pro Bar Taste Testing

Posted by Shanann Watts on Sunday, February 25, 2018

If there was a fair amount of time spent on Facebook Live promoting Thrive patches, that wasn’t all. There was also Younique, to be promoted while Shan’ann was going through her morning ritual. She apologizes halfway through for her daughter Bella watching Mickey Mouse on television. This is her attempt at monetizing every marketable moment she can from home.

https://youtu.be/bfMVMrx4kXk