1Heluva Scam
By: Bill E. Branscum
Copyright 2003

No, I haven't suddenly taken up profanity - I kid you not, Fred Srock and company actually named their latest pyramid scheme, "1Heluva.com." I guess they thought it was somehow more glamorous and endearing than "ClickityCash.com," or "BubbleBucks.com," the names they use for some of their other Internet programs.

In actuality, Fred R. Srock owns a number of web sites including: AutoLinkPro.Com, 1Heluva.com, BubbleBucks.com, LuckyBuckyLinks.com, MyButterFlyLane.com and his most recent claim to shame, ShowUdaMoney.com

After receiving a call from Cindi Kerst, an investor in 1Heluva.com who suspected that she had been conned, I looked this thing over. One of the things that first struck me, was the fact that Srock seems to deliberately target single mothers in his ads. It also struck me that he exhorts people to borrow money against credit cards, or mortgage their homes, to generate investment capital to pump into his Ponzi scheme.

"HEY - so you’re not a "salesman". OK, fine. And you don’t have even $3,000. Ok, fine, but I bet you can still get it. How much would it cost you to charge $6,000 to your credit cards. Now come on folks, honestly, you have to be NUTS not to do this! Take a second mortgage on your HOUSE if you have to - you’re GOING to make more, MUCH more than it will cost you! Fred Srock"

Schemes, scams and cons are always a crime, and the big boys don't always prey upon those who can afford it, but at least they prey upon adults who make bad choices. Single mothers have no choices; when these people bait them with an opportunity to support their children, and stay home with them, they are capitalizing upon an instinct as fundamental as life, and as old as time. Any mother, who is a mother, will always risk anything for her children.

Encouraging single moms, and others similarly situated, to borrow against their credit cards, to come up with money so you can steal it, is an especially repugnant outrage.

I thought this case would make an interesting addition to this web site for a number of reasons. First, Ms. Kerst has an unusual agenda in that she doesn't want to recover money, or force the production of proceeds as promised. She asked me to take my best shot at shutting this nonsense down - PERIOD. There will not be any effort to call this off, or any deal requiring non disclosure.

Second, many of you have consulted with me on this issue, asking how to deal with the rampant proliferation of con artists on the Internet - who to present these cases to, and how to best present them. This case presents a good opportunity to walk you through the process, so you can use it as a guide in your own cases.

Third, the Srock organization did something I have rarely encountered in this business. In the wake of her complaints, Ms. Kerst has suffered a backlash of retaliation. These people published her personal information on the Internet, and exhorted their "investors" to harass her, claiming that she was rocking the boat, and might cause all of them to lose their "investment." Con men are usually polite, sophisticated, people corrupted by sociopathic tendencies, but they are almost invariably of above average intelligence. Badgering, bullying and beleaguering a victim who has already blown the whistle is a stupid thing to do.

Finally, I believe that Fred Srock will make a wonderful poster child. He, and those who might choose to be like him, should know that there are vulnerabilities that should not be exploited, and it is unwise to start playing hardball unless you can be reasonably certain that you have the only bat.

Ye Shall Not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If you afflict them in any wise, and they cry out at all to me, I will surely hear their cry and my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. Exodus 22: 22-24

Fred and Debbie Srock

Fred Srock advertises wonderfully complicated investment schemes in the form of Internet "click for cash" programs, that none of the investors I have talked to seem to understand.

One thing soon becomes clear to those who invest; it's a Ponzi scam that serves to make money for nobody except those who promote it.

Is it just me, or would the addition of a red outfit and a pitchfork make 1heluva devilish looking dude out of smiley?

I invite those of you who consider yourselves to be shrewd, sophisticated investigators, of above average intelligence to visit http://www.1heluva.com and http://www.ClickityCash.com, read the information, and try to figure out exactly what sort of enterprise it is that he is encouraging people to borrow against their credit cards and homes for the privilege of investing in.

I don't suggest that you waste a lot of valuable time there - just put yourself in the position of the not-so-sophisticated single mom, desperately looking for a way to make money from home, and imagine trying to figure this out.

Now, having satisfied yourself that you have no earthly idea how this investment scheme is supposed to work, or where the money comes from, note that the 1Heluva.com home page clearly has a banner that says ".02 per click" and "$1000's in rebates paid each month." If you study it, you will note that the banner is actually for some other site. In the event that they change this page, a screen print of the 1Heluva.com page that I am referring to can be seen here: Exhibit.

Apparently, Fred Srock would have it believed that he has somehow devised a program that will pay people thousands of dollars every month for surfing the web, and clicking from web page to web page. For those of us who spend enormous amounts of time on the Internet, that sounds pretty good. To the single mom, sitting at home, trying to figure out how she can provide for her children, the opportunity to make money while surfing the web from home is a dream come true.

In fact, it's not just any old ordinary dream he's promising. Just take a look at the ClickityCash "Commission Calculator" to see what a saint Fred wants us to believe that he really is. In case they take it down, a screen print of the ClickityCash Calculator can be seen here: Exhibit.

It represents that with a $700 investment, "Your monthly potential earnings" $38,659.50."

As you can see, Saint Srock is a self-professed miracle worker. His program is supposed to allow people to profit from their click, click, clicking - as well as the frenzied clicking of every other wannabe work at homer they know. Of course, that is assuming that they will invest every dime they can borrow for the privilege of being part of their program.

Just to be clear, this program isn't limited to single moms - in the spirit of modern day social philosophy, Fred Srock is an equal opportunity con artist. He will steal from anyone.

Marsha K. Delfs is one of the victims who contacted me, asking to join Ms. Kerst in pressing a complaint. She is a lady dealing with some difficult personal challenges, and trying to care for a mother with Alzheimer's as well. She's not a single mom, but he took her money too. One hundred seventy-one dollars and sixty-six cents is not a lot of money to most of us, but to some people, it represents a lot. In any event, where "Thou Shalt Not Steal" is written, I cannot recall seeing a specified amount.

This isn't limited to women, or small amounts of money either. Richard Morgan contacted me to join in pressing a complaint, fully aware that Fred Srock has threatened to close the accounts of anyone that do. Richard expressed himself rather well:

"My name is Richard Morgan and I also want to complain about the 1Heluva scam. I personally "invested" over 18,000 when they guaranteed a 12% monthly return. That's the only reason why I invested like I did. This months projected return on $18,000 is expected to be around 7 dollars. This is totally wrong and criminal."

Yes, Mr. Morgan, it is - wrong, and criminal. In fact, it is violative of state laws and federal laws, intended to protect consumers and investors. I will bring this to the attention of the appropriate authorities, and see what they will do.

Having been employed by the US Department of the Treasury, I am reluctant to turn in tax cheats and claim a reward; however, I am loathe to let anyone get away with anything who abuses my clients. This does present a good learning opportunity for any investigator who may wish to go through the process - but I won't give you the information you need unless you have a valid PI License.

What you will do is, dial the Informant Communication Hotline at 1-800-829-0433, Monday thru Friday, 7A-10P. Tell them you have information that Fred R. Srock, SSN 301-54-5005 is engaged in criminal activities, and tell them up front that you want to file Form 211, Application for Reward for Original Information. They can fax or mail it to you.

Form 211 will ask for your true name and signature. Mail it to the Informants Claim Examiner at the IRS center nearest you. Addresses are listed on the back of the form, or you can call the Informant Communication Hotline for help.

Identifying him won't get you a thing - you will need the financial information I have to make the claim. It will take a long time to process, and the most you will get is 15% of what they recover. I will only provide the information to an investigator willing to share their perspective about going thru the process, although you can, of course, remain anonymous here.

We will initiate a link to the story once that process has been initiated.

I am also preparing a Complaint and an Affidavit to submit to various enforcement authorities. The Affidavit is available for your review by clicking on the following link, Affidavit; we will initiate the following links (they will turn blue) once we start sending them out on Monday as follows:

Affidavit in Support of Complaints

Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC)

The Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). It's mission is to monitor trends in fraud perpetrated via the Internet and provide a convenient reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of a suspected criminal or civil violation. For law enforcement and regulatory agencies at all levels, IFCC offers a central repository for complaints. To see the Complaint, please click the blue link.

Securities Exchange Commission (SEC)

The SEC Division of Enforcement was created in August 1972 to consolidate the SEC’s enforcement activities. They are empowered to pursue a variety of administrative proceedings, which are heard by administrative law judges and the Commission itself. They petition for Cease and Desist Orders to be , may be instituted against any person who violates the federal securities laws and the Commission may order the respondent to disgorge ill-gotten funds in these proceedings. With respect to regulated entities (e.g., brokers, dealers and investment advisers) and their employees, the Commission may revoke or suspend registration, or to impose bars or suspensions from employment. In proceedings against regulated persons, the Commission is authorized to order the payment of civil penalties as well as disgorgement. John Stark is the Senior Investigator responsible for the investigation of violations of securities laws perpetrated via the Internet.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The Federal Trade Commission, is an independent agency of the United States Government created by statute. 15 U.S.C. §§ 41-58. The Commission enforces Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a), which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce. The Commission may initiate federal district court proceedings to enjoin violations of the FTC Act and to secure appropriate equitable relief in each case, including restitution and disgorgement. 15 U.S.C. § 53(b)

VA Division of Securities

The Virginia Division of Securities and Retail Franchising is responsible for the regulation of securities, broker-dealers, broker-dealer agents, investment advisers and their representatives. They handle complaints and conduct investigations regarding code violations or misconduct relating to Securities and Retail Franchising. Max Zoeckler is their Chief Investigator.

VA Office of Consumer Affairs

The Virginia Office of Consumer Affairs provides protection to consumers against fraudulent, deceptive, and illegal practices in the marketplace. They serve as the central clearinghouse for the collection, evaluation, investigation or referral of consumer complaints. Stuart Ashby is the Manager of this office.

Local Law Enforcement: Chesterfield County, VA

I contacted Sgt. Marrian, the Supervisor of the Chesterfield County Police Department's Economic Crimes Unit. Sgt. Marrian, a career investigator with twenty-three years experience, expressed significant interest in the situation and indicated that he would pursue the complaints. Oftentimes, local law enforcement can be the most effective resource available.

Local News Media

I discussed the situation with Donna C. Gregory, an Investigative Reporter employed by the Chesterfield County Observer. She seemed to have a firm grasp of the financial issues involved in these sorts of scams and appeared to be sincerely interested.

Update - Click here for News Article

I addition to my own research, and in order to better support my assertion that Fred Srock is engaged in the propagation of various Ponzi scams via pyramid promotional schemes, I consulted with other investigators who are recognized experts in the field of Internet crime. I elicited the opinions of: Brian Ingram, Texas; Kevin Ripa, Canada; Ian Carter, the United Kingdom; and Jim Parker, North Florida.

Once their comments are available, the following links will make them accessible.

Brian Ingram

Ian Carter

Jim Parker

In actuality, there's no shortage of comments and opinions on the net about this guy and his scams. You can visit various forums by clicking here, here and here.

I welcome your comments, questions and suggestions.



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© Copyright 2002 - Bill E. Branscum. All Rights Reserved.