In Memory of Bruce Craig, a Passionate Advocate for Victims of Pyramid Schemes

I thought it would be appropriate to start off this blog with a post acknowledging the passing of one of the most dedicated advocates for victims of MLM-style pyramid schemes – Bruce Craig.

Some readers may remember Bruce from his appearances at the MLM conferences in 2021 and 2022 (https://www.mlmconference.com/video).  

Bruce was born in Chicago in 1938.  Bruce got a degree in marketing at Northwestern.  During summers in college he sold sewing machines, door-to-door, gaining experience in true direct selling (he claimed he was a dismal failure).   He went to law school and ended up as an Assistant AG for the State of Wisconsin, where he spent most of his career.  

He worked in the consumer fraud department and he was primarily responsible for Wisconsin’s cases against MLM companies like Holiday Magic, Koscot Interplanetary and Bestline.   Bruce was quoted by Senator Mondale in connection with his efforts to pass an anti pyramid scheme bill in Congress in the early 1970’s, and a letter from Bruce to Senator Mondale concerning the pyramid scheme problem was published in the Congressional Record.   http://moses.law.umn.edu/mondale/pdf12/v.118_pt.25_p.32660-32662.pdf   and http://moses.law.umn.edu/mondale/pdf12/v.119_pt.14_p.17860-17866.pdf

The case Bruce prosecuted against Amway was particularly significant.  Bruce did something that I don’t think anyone had ever done before or since.   He obtained the tax returns for all of the Amway direct distributors in the State of Wisconsin for the years 1979 and 1980 and had them analyzed by an expert.   The expert’s affidavit concluded that the average income of the Amway direct distributors was a loss of $918. 

In 1970, Bruce drafted Wisconsin’s regulation prohibiting chain distributor schemes.    See https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/code/admin_code/atcp/090/122.pdf This regulation is one of the few laws or regulations concerning MLM that does not exempt schemes that are supposedly based on “retail sales.”   Bruce recognized that the “endless chain” was going to cause harm regardless of whether some retail sales were taking place.  

After his retirement in 1997 Bruce continued to advocate for better laws and regulations of MLM, as well as more effective enforcement of existing laws.   He tirelessly contacted journalists, academics, politicians and regulators and urged them to do the right thing.   He continued doing this until the day he died last year.

Bruce was a tenacious advocate for victims of MLM.   He was also a loyal friend and trusted mentor to me and others engaged in this struggle.   I count myself lucky to have known him.   I know he was very pleased to see the next generation of consumer advocates – especially the young people in the anti-MLM movement on social media – and happy to know they were taking up the fight.

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