The Suze Orman Problem:
Scams, Shams, and Shenanigans
Welcome to a presentation that I would have preferred to not be obliged to share. My hope is that this presentation, filled with links to clear examples and evidence from many media sources, will help stop the "oil spill" of damage from Suze's continuing corrupt shenanigans. There is also much for society and individuals to learn about how an unethical waitress scammed her way up to a position where she has caused serious damage to individuals, the economy, and the fabric of society.
The story of Suze Orman's climb to fame and her use of tainted advice and influence to increase the corporate profits of her supporters and fill her pockets with tens of millions of dollars from big banks and big business (in spite of Suze having almost no actual financial education or credentials) is filled with important examples and lessons that individuals and society need to learn if we are not to be fooled and plundered again and again by these sometimes-camouflaged instruments of corporate greed. Suze is a good example to study in this regard, because she has been nurtured and supported by many corporations and big business billionaires. Obviously, Suze Orman is only one part of the overall problems of today's society, but she is one of the most influential and mistakenly trusted voices in today's media landscape.
Is this really the kind of face a financial advisor should display when someone asks if they can afford a laptop computer, assumedly with the intention of improving their lot in life? With this as America's "face of personal finance," it is no wonder our economy has gone down the tubes.
This is Suze Orman's narcissistic sociopath dream come true: shaming and shouting at people, on her whims, decreeing from on high that they are "Approved" or "Denied," and expecting callers and and others watching and listening to follow her whimsical "entertainment-based," often reckless, insensitive, and corporate-sponsored commands when making some of the most important decisions of their lives. All from someone who never completed a single college course in finance and has no current financial credentials aside from those manufactured by the media machine behind the Suze Orman facade.
Unfortunately, I got scammed into being part of the Suze Orman facade early on, which is one reason I feel personally responsible for speaking up about this. In 1991, I met a real life con artist while offering volunteer service producing a video for a spiritual organization. That con artist was Suze Orman, and she managed to scam me and others who also came to regret it into helping her onto the public stage at a time when she was unpublished, unknown, and deeply in debt. This took place less than a decade after Suze was waitressing and selling water filters to barely get by. As a waitress, Suze had conned Merrill Lynch into hiring her for six months to fill their new women quota regulations in spite of her not having had a single drop of financial education or expertise. Merrill Lynch also hired her under threat that otherwise she might sue them for bad choices one of their brokers had made with investing $50,000 Suze had previously conned from customers at the Buttercup Cafe. Suze got a nearly 400% pay increase doing something she had zero training to do. Around Merrill Lynch at that time, Suze was fodder for snickers as she used crystal pendulums to make investment choices, since she had no financial education or expertise. After Suze convinced the manager that she would happinly fill their woman's quota for the needed six months, she turned around and sued them while working for them right before the six months were up, which meant that Merrill Lynch couldn't legally fire her. (Watch Suze proudly tell this story herself)
On went the scams from there, until a few years later, when Suze convinced me and others to help her onto the public stage at a time when she was unpublished, unknown, and deeply in debt, and in spite of Suze acting in seriously troubling ways from the day we met. It took Suze using every tactic in her arsenal to con me into going against my usual commitment to honesty and integrity to first get Suze booked on her first two television appearances and then to use those appearances and other footage I filmed to produce, script, and edit a deceptive video that misrepresented Suze's lack of financial expertise and media experience. This was the video that got Suze her first book deal after her proposal had already been turned down by more than thirty publishers. After her first book was published, Suze encountered ICM agent Binky Urban, who was happy when Suze admitted that she couldn't write (Linda Mead had written Suze's first book). Urban exclaimed, "Kid, those eyes of yours will make us millions of dollars but you've gotta lose 30 pounds," and explained, "I just thought, 'Great. Finally an author who knows she can't write.'" From there was born the machine of behind-the-scenes experts, ghost writers, and PR machines that would create the Suze Orman financial expert facade, which she has used to fleece the public time and time again.
Only rarely have major journalists been brave enough to speak up about the obvious and easily discoverable problems with Suze Orman and her advice. Most major media venues have conflicts of interest regarding Suze's powerful protectors, including Oprah Winfrey and many other corporate and media billionaires. One major journalist who has spoken up recently is David Schuster. Schuster has been an anchor on MSBC, CNN, and Current TV, and now hosts a political talk radio show that apparently doesn't have their finger in the "Suze Orman pie":
I'm just one of many whom Suze has conned on her way up into a position of undeserved public trust and influence, which she has used to plunder the poor, to fleece Oprah's flock, to distort the economy, and to dole out pseudo advice that she has been paid handsomely to say by a long string of corporations and banks, all while generating shocking, fear mongering, and often inaccurate headlines to increase her celebrity and up the price for her "price for advice" schemes.
While some of the books and products that have come from con artist Suze Orman and her behind-the-scenes experts and ghostwriters may have been helpful to some in organizing their finances, the documentation in this presentation shows quite clearly that any possible benefits from Suze's mixture of useful advice with her abusive personality and webs of deceptive scams, shams, and shenanigans have come with a terrible cost to individuals and the economy that seriously outweighs any potential benefits in helping some people to organize their Roth IRAs.
Here you can watch Newsy's humorous but sobering view of Suze using her ill-gotten public influence and blatant fraud to fleece the uneducated and the poor with her so-called "Approved" prepaid debit card scam:
(If the video doesn't load, click here)
UPDATE, November 2013: Here are two other recently released resources for finding out more about the Suze Orman Problems:
I recommend this article in "The Daily Beast," which presents some of the information in this article plus other relevant information, written by The Daily Beast's managing editor, Adam Auriemma. It includes many quotes by Suze that show her narcissistic sociopathy, including, "I don’t question myself anymore. If I think it, I know it is true, and I don’t care what you say to me. I know my thoughts are true."
Also recommended, Helaine Olen's book, "Pound Foolish," which gives an extensive look at the Suze Orman problem from a finance expert perspective. Olen chose to make the chapter warning people about Suze chapter number two, due to its importance.
I invite journalists and government agencies to use the information and research presented here to help protect the public good.
I generally recommend focusing on the positive and thinking well of ourselves and others. Nevertheless, sometimes we are called upon to speak up with critical information to bring attention to a problem that is causing significant widespread harm to the United States of America, and to the world.
It is usually fun and exciting to watch someone you've helped as they climb to great levels of fame and fortune. I've had a pretty good record of helping knowns and unknowns to achieve new levels of success with my filmmaking and other skills. When those I've helped use their newfound influence in positive ways, I feel very happy, knowing that my efforts have contributed to bringing more good to the world. However, that has not been not the case regarding the two years I spent making the biggest mistake of my life, helping Suze Orman onto the public stage at a time when she was unpublished, unknown, and deeply in debt, in spite of the fact that she behaved in seriously alarming and unethical ways from the day we met. Then came Oprah, who turned my error into a worldwide blunder.
Personally, I would rather see Suze off happily enjoying her yacht than locked up wearing prison garb, although others are serving time for the same kind of shenanigans she has used to move money from trusting sheep into her pockets and the pockets of the banks, corporations, and media conglomerates who have their fingers in the Suze Orman pie. I tend to think of con artist Suze Orman, who never took a single college course in finance and uses behind the scenes experts to feed her information, as a Bernie Madoff for the middle class and poor. Therefore, if the only way to stop the economic and social “oil spill” damage Suze Orman continues to cause to the world is for Suze to be held legally accountable for the damage she has caused, then I would have to vote for Suze receiving well-deserved justice for her greedy and destructive actions that have harmed many lives, the economy, and the fabric of society.
Suze plunders the US economy and the lives of millions of people using the immense undeserved influence and untouchability that came in part from my helping her onto the public stage in the early 1990s, but mostly from being pushed onto the public by Oprah Winfrey and others as a financial expert. And if you think Suze Orman must be a financial expert because she has "written" so many books and "espoused" so much advice, the links in this article will show enough tip of the iceberg to indicate how behind the scenes ghostwriters, PR teams, finance experts, and various corporate and media liaisons have been creating and maintaining the Suze Orman expert sham since the beginning of her career.
Unfortunately, I got roped into helping to begin the Suze Orman shamathon at a time when Suze was unpublished, unknown, and deeply in debt, when she convinced me to produce a deceptive video that misrepresented Suze's credentials and media experience in the early 1990s. This is the video that got Suze her first book deal after her proposal had been turned down by more than thirty publishers. Therefore, I feel a sense of personal responsibility to try to stop the damage Suze Orman Inc. continues to cause, month after month, and year after year.
Certainly legal justice would be well-deserved just for Suze's 2012 efforts to scam the poor and uneducated into moving their money from banks and credit unions onto her problem-ridden prepaid debit card by telling viewers throughout the media landscape that her fee-laden card would only cost them $3 per month, and that it would do some vague thing to help their FICO scores, neither of which is the case. Even the financial journalist community that has been too fooled or afraid to speak up about Suze's prior scams and shenanigans stood up en masse to warn consumers about Suze's "Approved" prepaid debit card scam, an example of blatant fraud that you can see clearly in the links and media throughout this article.
Suze always liked to control the people around her. During our association, she would throw such a fit if I didn't hold a fork the way she thought I should, that our meals together sometimes reminded me of Helen Keller's spoon fight scene. And that’s the least of her controlling, deceptive, and destructive behavior during our association. Now this sociopath has found a position where she literally gets to yell "DENIED" at people who, in many cases, are simply trying to pursue their dreams, with with many trusting harmful advice from someone whose behavior they would never wish to emulate, a supposed "financial expert" with an almost complete lack of financial education, who has no current credentials as a financial planner or advisor of any kind.
What people need instead of this circus charlatan is someone who gives dependable information and guidance on how each person can arrange their priorities based on their individual circumstances and aspirations. Suze’s shenanigans have killed many dreams (as with this woman who made the mistake of calling into the Suze Orman Show), ended many marriages (with this frequent advice), and ruined many people’s relationships with their family (as with this disappointed mother who assumed Suze's advice was trustworthy).
If you take a few minutes to click on any of the links throughout this article, you will find undeniable proof of who Suze Orman really is, behind her false facade and webs of deceit. Suze's expertise is in creating a false facade of trustworthiness and expertise, pumped up by PR teams who get Suze booked on big shows to generate shocking headlines to increase her influence that she then distorts and uses to generate more "price for advice" schemes to fill her pockets. She's a scam artist and a scoundrel.
Lest anyone think that Suze is on the side of the poor or middle class, with her oft-repeated PR-created slogans such as how there is a highway into poverty and not even a sidewalk out, you can be sure that she is quite happy to hasten the poverty of others to further enrich herself and the banks and corporations who have been profiting directly or indirectly from Suze's shenanigans -- something she proved as clear as day by pitching her fee-laden prepaid card to the poor, with false fraudulent promised that using her card would improve their FICO scores. The billionaires and corporations who have been plundering the economy surely look at Suze Orman as quite an ally for keeping the masses disempowered, distracted, fearful, and in shame, a "people last" movement disguised as "people first," for which Suze Orman, Inc. has been richly rewarded.
After nearly the entire financial media felt obliged to warn people and call Suze out on her prepaid debit card fraudulent scam in spite of any fears they might have of angering a revengeful Suze Orman and her many powerful protectors, including Oprah Winfrey, Suze started shifting some of her focus to setting up scams that will fool and plunder other countries, including the Philippines, Australia, and Malaysia, with indications of that plan here and here.
I don't suggest that Suze doesn't have any impressive skills or achievements (although I think her greatest skills are of the con artist variety), nor do I deny that some of the general financial information and products that come along with the serious problems strings of scams aren't helpful to some. For example, a con artist who has misrepresented their house painting credentials may still be able to do a decent job of painting your house, but it's not worth it if they are stealing your belongings and destroying your home at the same time.
Suze Orman admits that she is not officially a financial investment advisor, nor a journalist -- she doesn't even have a current Certified Financial Planner license, as you can see by searching for Suze Orman in the CFP Board database. Being completely uncertified, Suze thinks that being completely uncertified means she does not have to follow the integrity rules and guidelines of any profession. What she is, is a successful, professional con artist. In November 2013, infomercial huckster Kevin Trudeau was found guilty of criminal contempt for making misleading claims in TV infomercials for his best-selling weight loss book. Yet Suze Orman continues to commit far worse blatant, widespread fraud without any legal repercussions, at least thus far.
Suze also readily admits, "I'm not in this for charity. This is a business, and anybody who thinks that it’s not a business is an idiot... I'll tell you the sources of my income -- everything I do is a source of income to me." No wonder the economy is in the mess it is in, with this shyster -- named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world after being nominated by one of her billionaire buddies -- running continuous scams on the United States, and now moving on to plunder other countries.
From Susan Antilla, Bloomberg View:
When caught in her shenanigans, Suze claims to be nothing more than a celebrity, which allows her to use her name to fool and plunder the public, who assumes that she is both an accredited financial advisor and a trustworthy journalist, because she has been pitched as both throughout the media landscape for fifteen years, using false credentials from the beginning.
It has been a personal burden to know that I bear some responsibility for these many years of damaging effects from Suze fooling, plundering, and ripping off the world. In the early 1990s, I spent two years helping Suze Orman onto the public stage at a time when she was unknown, unpublished, and deeply in debt. My assistance included allowing Suze to talk me into producing, filming, scripting, and editing a video that misrepresented her financial credentials and media experience, one of many times Suze Orman has talked someone into compromising their own integrity and fudging her credentials. It was this video that helped Suze get a deal for her first book after her proposal had already been turned down by more than thirty publishers. This error of judgment is especially regretful because I had dismissed many warning signs about Suze's troubling, even sociopathic ways, which were evident from the day we met. I have certainly paid the price for this mistake, and unfortunately, so have many individuals, families, and the U.S. economy. For that, I apologize.
Talking people into violating their usual integrity to help her get whatever her voracious appetite is desiring at the moment seems to be a fairly common occurrence in Suze Orman’s real life story. She has certainly been known to go after people when they stop going along with her schemes, as she did to a credit union expert who helped Suze get a whole lot of positive publicity and more than a million dollars (read more about that in the credit union section). The story of Suze Orman’s road to fame and fortune is not one I would wish to see repeated or held up as an example to emulate.
Regardless of perhaps helping some to organize their finances with general basic advice not to spend more than you earn, Suze Orman's scams, shams, and shenanigans have been, and continue to be, extremely harmful to individuals, the economy, and the world. In this article, you'll find all the proof any thinking person should need to be convinced that Suze Orman is, in the words of former MSNBC News anchor David Schuster, “A huckster and a fraud.”
Having known Suze all too personally, I can add a few more troubling adjectives to this description - including thief, liar, and rapist - that should give pause to Oprah Winfrey, Louise Hay, Ariana Huffington, and others who have given undeserved credibility to someone who, based on the clear examples and information in this presentation, and backed up by Suze's own words, is little more than a creative and experienced con artist, someone who never took a single college course in finance, a South Side Chicago gangster wannabe who loves to brag that she grew up in the hood, and "has more hood in her than most," a Bernie Madoff for the poor. Suze is quite a successful gangster; after all, she has conned the world.
Suze was a waitress with zero financial education who convinced (i.e. conned) her bakery customers to invest fifty thousand dollars in her plan for a new restaurant. She then ran a scam on Merrill Lynch, threatening to sue them unless they hired her, which they did for a six month contract, even though Suze was a waitress with zero financial education. However, when the six months was almost up, Scamming Suze sued them anyway, so they legally could not fire her. Suze often admits to using the new affirmative action loopholes at the time, where financial businesses needed to find women, qualified or not, to met their quotas, to begin her career, a story she loves to tell in her often-recited biography, which she describes as if it were behavior to honor and emulate.
Suze regularly uses behind the scenes experts to write her books and tell her what to say, beyond the basics she's picked up along the way. That alone wouldn't concern me so much, however Suze then distorts that advice with whatever "price for advice" shenanigans she has going on at the time, with a long string of corporations and banks paying for her to skew her advice to get more unsuspecting viewers and readers to buy their products. Then come all of Suze's PR Team's big headline blasts to cover up bad press and keep Suze Orman's name in the news, thereby increasing her pseudo advice price.
What does Suze Orman offer that is worth subjecting the world and economy to her uncredentialed, corrupt ways? For the past fifteen years, Suze has trotted out the exact same lines in talk after talk, including pearls like "Women fake orgasms but men fake finances," which she has probably said in literally thousands of talks by now. I generally avoid watching Suze, aside from doing research for this article, yet I've heard her say the same few lines in almost every talk, including the apparent joke that women live longer than men, so she thinks "we're killing them off." The audiences laugh, not realizing that they're listening to a sociopath who just might have a few people killed off if she didn't think she'd get caught. Posting this article might put me on that list, so if anything strange takes place, you know where to look.
From Conde Nast Portfolio: "Seriously, Do Not Mess with Suze Orman"
I recently spoke with one of the experts Suze has used during the past few years to feed her information that she would then repeat as her own on television interviews and in social media. This recently exploited expert, who may be sharing some of his experiences and observations of Suze in an upcoming book, contacted me to say that the information presented here is so accurate that those involved with their association almost felt as though I must have been in the room during their seriously troubling experiences with Suze. But as with any con artist, once you've seen her patterns, it is easier to figure out at least some of what is going on behind the scenes.
Regarding the information I've presented here, which I've gathered with just some periphery research, this expert said to me, "We both know it's just the tip of the iceberg," and added, "Suze is the meanest person I've ever met," two sentiments with which I concur. Suze has also shown the least integrity of anyone I've personally known, and I've worked with thousands of people during my career, including at many major studios in the Hollywood television and film industry.
It’s bad enough to steal from people when you don’t have enough, but for Suze to plunder the economy and the poor to fill her own already overfull pockets is terrible. Her patterns of trying to destroy the lives of those who have been most helpful in her climb to the top -- with Suze's frequent use of making and breaking false promises, scamming, ripping off and trying to ruin the reputations of good and decent people whom she has tricked into helping her on her way up -- is despicable.
As just one of many examples of her skewed advice, Suze has told many callers and millions of people that if the person you love and have married is not good with money, you should divorce them. This is just one view into the mind of someone who has been notorious in her social circles for making and breaking major promises left and right without a second thought, and for causing serious damage to people's lives after they helped her to achieve their goals. I'm not the only one who has experienced the damaging effects of Suze's behavioral disorder patterns; many who have personally known Suze would agree with my assessments, although quite a few have signed confidentiality agreements, and others have thus far preferred not to speak out publicly about something so filled with potential backlash. I don't blame anyone for holding back, but nevertheless, here we go.
As a spiritual author, I also have concerns about how Suze gives a false impression of her own wisdom by plagiarizing and presenting as her own wisdom direct spiritual phrases she picked up from our mutual guru and the ashram community from which Suze was all but banished in the early 1990s for cheating and abusing mostly women community members, before she went on to con and plunder the world. Suze is a rare predator who takes advantage of spiritual people, plundering them while knowing that they are making efforts to not speak badly about anyone, and to take personal responsibility for whatever happens in our lives. Suze found the mother lode of exploitable people at the ashram, but then again, she has managed to exploit people from all walks of life.
Just a few years before Suze decided to become a "financial expert," she was staying in the home of a mutual friend while visiting the main ashram community. At the time, Suze was deeply in debt and unable to afford to rent her own place -- as this mutual friend told me, Suze was penniless, selling multi-level marketing water filters, and behaving very badly toward her host.
Unfortunately, this friend had not told me about Suze's troubling behavior until after I'd already been scammed, so I just assumed Suze was a trustworthy member of our mutual spiritual community when someone from the ashram foundation's headquarters asked us to work together to produce a video for their worldwide broadcast. I also did not know that our mutual guru had already told Suze to stop harming other devotees, something Suze herself told me after she had already sunk her claws into me.
Although Suze lied and behaved in seriously troubling ways from the day we met, it took a long time for my naive self to realize that I was dealing -- not just with a person who has usual flaws -- but with someone who is a narcissistic sociopath, who thinks anything is true just by virtue of her having said it. In my observation and personal experience, Suze Orman is proficient in lying, deceiving, scamming, stealing, using and abusing people as a game, and turning people's lives upside-down to get more of whatever might satisfy her delusions of grandeur and greedy desires of the moment.
Many powerful media and publicity people have knowingly or unknowingly worked very hard to turn this egotistical con artist with almost no finance education or credentials into one of the most influential people in the world, and to cover up waves of outcries from less powerful but more ethical financial journalists about Suze's scams, shams and shenanigans.
Throughout this presentation, you will find links to many of these articles, especially in the section about Suze's "Approved" Prepaid Debit Card fraudulent misinformation campaign that continues to this day in spite of more than a hundred articles from financial journalists, top to bottom, warning consumers about the card. A sociopath cannot be swayed, because all they want to do is to win whatever game they've conjured up in their heads, which in the case of Suze's "Approved" card, includes using blatant fraud that should have already landed her in serious legal trouble to fool the public, especially the poor, into funneling even more big money into Suze's already bulging pockets.
SInce her early days, Suze has caused continual serious damage to a long string of individuals and to the economy -- creating and contributing to society's growing obsession with money, not in a healthful way, but with shaming, fear mongering, and "advice for a price," where corporations and banks know they can buy Suze Orman's undeserved public influence and pay Suze to distort her advice in ways that will put more money into their pockets, as they in turn put money into hers. Suze has received tens of millions of dollars from deals that have called for her to put her bared, uber white false teeth and undeserved public trust on their products, to distort her fake expert advice (mixed with general financial information), and to create big PR pushed headlines that benefit only herself and a long string of corporate and bank sponsors. And that's still just the tip of the Suze Orman problem.
Others who have helped Suze's career also ended up being seriously harmed by her, although obviously not many would want to speak out about it publicly. Perhaps if and when it becomes safer to do so, more will come forth and speak up. One of the financial experts who was offered a job working behind the scenes to feed information and help perpetrate the facade that Suze has had a financial education had a few things to say in his/her comment on a March 2012 Salon article.
You can find more examples of Suze's behavioral problems below.
Financial radio host Cynthia Oti is the main person who helped Suze create her financial platform, I'm sure with the same kind of promises of repayment that Suze used to con me and others on her way up. Cynthia was devastated after being treated terribly by Suze after helping to start her career. It wasn't enough for Suze to traumatize this sweet woman during her life; when financial radio host Cynthia Oti died in a plane crash some years later, Suze used her CNBC show to disrespectfully denigrate her memory as somewhat of an "un-eulogy," saying, "I didn't feel bad about it, and everybody was saying to me, 'Suze Orman, what is the matter with you?' And I was like, 'What do you want me to do? I didn't like the person! The person screwed me over! Why should I like this person — I don't care, that's their problem." This is how Suze dishonored the memory of a kind and sweet woman who she cheated and plundered, attempting to ruin Cynthia's good name soon after Cynthia Oti was one of the few names featured along with my two mentions in the acknowledgments of those who helped to begin Suze's career with her first book.
If you're one of the many who can see that Suze is obviously a charlatan and are not concerned because you can't imagine that very many people actually listen to her, think again.
For those who think Suze cares about you and others based on some of her publicity positions and headlines, the clear evidence in this article may help you realize that certain altruistic-sounding headlines may be little more than ways of generating support for her rip-offs, such as publicly decrying poverty while pitching to the poor her fee-laden "Approved" prepaid debit card scam of 2012, making them think she was on their side and that this card was going to magically improve their credit scores. As Adam Auriemma of the Daily Beast said so well, "It's like working for Merrill Lynch while suing Merrill Lynch all over again." Suze's entire life has been a series of scams and stabbing people in the back, and now she has stabbed the entire United States in the back, and is looking to bring her deceptive wares to the rest of the world.
This article is not a matter of retribution, even though Suze did steal more than $100,000 from me and intentionally caused major problems to my life after I helped her to realize her greatest dreams, just as she has also caused damage to the lives and careers of others who helped to start and expand her public career. I wish well for everyone, including Suze Orman and other criminals. However I can not in good conscience stay silent when I have the information and ability to speak up to help stop the damage that Suze has caused to the world in a myriad of ways during the past fifteen-plus years.
Suze Orman -- who had zero financial education or credentials not so long before she became, as she likes to call herself, "the world's most trusted financial expert" -- has obviously learned some basic finance information over the years, although she continues to use behind the scenes experts to cover her lack of education, beyond what she's picked up from watching CNBC or reading newsletters. I spoke with one of the finance experts with whom Suze has associated in recent years, who confirmed that Suze would ask this behind the scenes experts what to say about current financial events before her interviews and in social media responses to current events, repeating this expert's advice as though it were her own. That is troubling enough, but even more alarming is how Suze mixes that falsely presented general information with her "price for advice" headline blasts, luring millions of trusting sheep into her traps, skewing and distorting the economy through her extreme, Oprah-bestowed influence, and filling her pockets with five homes, a yacht, and at least tens of millions of dollars from the long string of banks and corporations who have paid for Suze to skew her advice to suit their bottom lines.
And don't say she didn't warn you.
"I'm not in this for charity. This is a business, and anybody who thinks that it’s not a business is an idiot... I'll tell you the sources of my income - everything I do is a source of income to me."
- Suze Orman (Chicago Tribune)
In my opinion, as someone who is not a professional psychologist but who was brought up by psychology teachers and studied psychology from age seven through to my studies at the University of Michigan, Suze Orman fits the profile of a narcissistic sociopath, and perhaps a few things beyond that. With her sociopathology, she has created all kinds of liaisons that have allowed her to fool a whole lot of people and cause serious damage to individuals, the economy, and the fabric of society, all while filling her pockets, and those of her corporate sponsors and billionaire buddies. This is why I have felt obliged to create and offer this article that is filled with links to clear examples of these problems.
Suze's distorted, cookie-cutter advice (much of which is fed to Suze by her behind the scenes experts who have actually had some financial education, or paid for by banks and corporations), has also apparently pleased her billionaire supporters, who have made considerable efforts to keep Suze's career afloat, even after Suze's scams were almost universally called out by finance journalists in response to the blatantly fraudulent Suze Orman "Approved" Prepaid Debit Card scam of 2012 that brought forth more than 100 articles from finance journalists top to bottom, warning their readers about the crummy product Suze was fraudulently pitching with blatant lies throughout the media landscape.
The PR blitz to cover up all these warnings about Suze's prepaid debit card scam was headed by Hilary Rosen, the same woman and PR political lobbyist team that represented BP in overcoming bad press from their Gulf oil spill.
Suze's "Approved" Card scam came with around 100 appearances on top television shows, radio, print, and political appearances, including at the National Press Club to give this stupid, mediocre, even crummy fee-laden prepaid debit card the appearance of being what Suze called her "People First Movement."
Here you can watch a humorous but sobering overview by Newsy about the serious topic of how Suze Orman's "Approved" prepaid debit card is fleecing customers:
(If the video doesn't load, click here)
In this extensive, year-plus PR blitz, Suze focused on moving massive amounts of money from proper bank accounts and the pockets of the poor, minorities, the "Occupy" Movement, and less financially educated people who Suze sees as sheep for her self-profiting slaughter, and moving all that money right into her own pockets and those of her partner, US Bank. (And watch out Philippines, Suze's scams are coming to you next!)
This article is about Suze Orman, but it seems I should at least introduce its author. Here are two pages that give some info on my background and works: LinkedIn page • Main web site. Many others could speak up powerfully about this topic with their own information and troubling experiences with Suze Orman, but most have not yet offered their pieces of the puzzle publicly. I hope more will, so we can clean up these problems and stop the continuing damage of someone who has used her undeserved influence to fool and plunder the public for far too long.
Obviously I would prefer to be known for my television and film works or positive literary and music contributions rather than the not-so-illustrious distinction of having been one in a long line of people who this "Elmer Gantry of finance" has used, abused, ripped off, lied to, stiffed, violated, and spread false rumors about after they helped her to achieve higher rungs on her uncredentialed, fraud-laden quest for power, fortune, and fame. Like many others who could speak up about this matter, I preferred to stay silent rather than to publicly call someone out for problems that just seemed so obvious, not only to me, but to nearly every person I've ever discussed this matter with. Occasional journalists over the years have been brave enough to call out revengeful Suze regarding some of her unending strings of deceit and behind the scenes shenanigans, but their warnings have been all but covered over by Suze's teams of media protectors, political lobbyists protectors, PR protectors, billionaire protectors, corporate/bank protectors, and Suze's biggest protector, Oprah Winfrey, who really should know better.
This presentation offers clear evidence and examples of how a waitress with zero financial education convinced her Buttercup Bakery customers to loan her tens of thousands of dollars, after which she scammed, deceived, charmed, bribed, used, abused, misrepresented, sued, ripped off and plundered many as she made her way to the top of the financial, political, family, career, and social advice game, causing serious damage along the way to individuals, the economy, and the fabric of society.
Suze Orman may be only one of many problems that have been corrupting today’s society, but she is one of the main logs, whose removal from public influence would help to free the economy and the flow of public consciousness to move into a much better place than Suze's cookie-cutter pabulum of shame, fear, and greed, mixed with her skewed views of the world, corporate-bought corrupted advice, and -- oh yes -- some general, basic, often incorrect finance information and advice that can certainly be found through less sociopathic advisors. You will find specific examples of these and more in the links throughout this article.
For the past fifteen years, Suze Orman, Inc. has used her Oprah-bestowed untouchability and extreme clout, along with disaster control experts, PR managers, and political lobbyists, to blast her ever-changing, often bank and corporate-sponsored advice and headlines throughout the media landscape. Suze has used her angry and bullying nature that I knew all too well in the early 1990s to intentionally create fear, guilt, shame, and a sense of dependence on her pseudo-expert facade in millions of readers and television viewers.
Suze's corrupt nature, together with her extreme clout and profiteering advice for corporate purchase, have distorted the economy and harmed many people's lives. Suze sold her public trust for a long list of multi-million dollar side deals with corporations and banks, agreeing to disguise their profit motivated advertisements as trustworthy advice, just as she disguised herself as an educated financial expert who was given an "Oprah-dusting" of integrity and trust.
From the beginning of her career, Suze has been deceptive about her credentials. I made the big mistake of allowing Suze to talk me into getting her on her first two television show appearances and then producing a deceptive video that misrepresented her media experience and financial expertise. This was the video that helped unknown Suze get her first book deal with a publisher who would only consider authors who already had a media presence -- this was after Suze's proposal had already been turned down by more than thirty publishers.
After her first book was published, Suze continued to be deceptive, which eventually turned into her "price for advice" schemes that allowed corporations and banks to pay her tens of millions of dollars to disguise advertisements for their products as trustworthy financial advice. Just a few of the corporations and banks that have paid or partnered with Suze’s “price for advice” schemes are: Selectquote, US Bank, FICO Corporation, Lending Tree, General Motors, Assurant Health, TD Ameritrade, General Electric, and even the Milk mustache campaign, where she touts drinking milk as a wise financial investment.
I also have some other speculations about roles Suze is playing in shifting the wealth in this country in ways that may be harmful to individuals, our country, and the world, including her billionaire and corporate supporters, deals and partnerships with many large corporations and heads of large corporations, and who knows who else -- telling people to work many jobs and not purchase anything they might enjoy, which sounds a bit like some of the troubling worker class factories in China, where Suze's wife, Kathy Travis, lived and did business for two decades.
Suze's company has access to the most private personal and financial data from millions of people who have signed up for her various wares, including will and trust software programs and newsletters she has given away for free, but not necessarily without motive. With Suze's Will and Trust kit, users actually have to upload their most private and personal information -- including social security numbers, income, and even who they are choosing to leave their resources to when they die -- right onto the Suze Will and Trust's server. Companies make big bucks from such kinds of data mining, although again, I don't have any proof of what exactly Suze might be doing with the private and personal information of millions of people, or whether this is another case of bringing sheep to the slaughter.
One of many disappointed customers who purchased Suze's "FICO 4 You" kit on QVC expressed in their review, "I did not know that I would have to enter my SS#, I do not give this out over the internet no matter how secure they may say it is secure, they should have mentioned this on the show..." Which begs the question, how on earth did that con artist I knew back in the 1990s, who I wouldn't even trust to babysit a dog, end up generating enough public trust to have access to the most private and sensitive information of millions of people?
As practice in looking at Suze Orman's long strings of fraudulent shenanigans, let's look at another angle of Suze's "FICO 4 You" kit that she was selling on QVC in 2011 and 2012. It looks to be one more Suze scam that took advantage of the financially uneducated by calling itself a FICO kit, without apparently giving anyone their actual FICO scores. The description on QVC says that you get certified FICO scores, but then in the fine print below, says you get "Four prepaid TransUnion FICO Scores," which Suze herself had previously called "FAKO" scores. As the first reviewer on the QVC page says, "This program was clearly advertised during the show to receive FICO scores and credit reports from all three credit reporting agencies, when in fact it is only for Transunion. No more Suze Orman products for me. This is the second Suze product that I am disappointed with." If that reviewer did figure out that Suze was a con artist and stopped buying her advice and wares, then I'd say he or she got off dirt cheap.
Many were fooled into thinking this "FICO 4 You" kit was giving them actual FICO numbers, because Suze was all over the media landscape, making tens of millions of dollars from her deal with FICO, while telling the American public that knowing and improving their FICO scores is the most important thing they can do for their finances. When people heard her commands to get their FICO scores and went to FICO's website to get this all-important tool, there were Suze's bared teeth and crazy eyes on just the product she had said to buy.
FICO is clearly indebted to Suze for using her undeserved clout to put them on the map, which perhaps is why they've let her plunder the public by deceptively using their name to pitch her "Approved" prepaid debit card scheme, with barely a disclaimer, when FICO probably would have sued others for doing the same. In a 2005 announcement, FICO proudly announced that Suze's pitches had taken them "from a one-product experiment in consumer education," to selling tens of millions of FICO scores, with Suze's cut at around 50% of each fifty dollar kit.
Suze apparently thought, "Hey I can make even more money by deceptively selling TransUnion FICO scores as though they were actual FICO scores" to unsavvy QVC customers, at $33 a pop. We'll call it a "FICO 4 You" kit, and we'll have TransUnion say that their scores are TransUnion FICO scores." This also put TransUnion's fingers right in the Suze Orman pie, just where she wanted them to be for her biggest con, the "Approved" prepaid debit card scam. Suze's quite adept at creating latticeworks of words to fool people into thinking her products are something they are not, although she also does fairly often cross the line into outright fraud in ways should really be addressed by government agencies that are entrusted with protecting the public from such scams.
Most QVC viewers had already heard Suze going on about the importance of getting their FICO scores, as she'd gleefully use the disaster of the day to scare them into buying her latest box. These trusting QVC viewers probably assumed Suze was selling the same FICO kit they had seen her pitching in other places, but as she wanted to offer it at a special price for her beloved QVC viewers who she always says she cares about so much and wants to give the best deal. I'm sure that is exactly how she pitched her QVC FAKO FICO kit, based on reviews and Suze's usual shenanigans on QVC and elsewhere, such as giving using con artist lingo to give the false impression that her prepaid card would likely only cost $3 per month for most users, and that it would do some vague thing improve their FICO scores. Suze's pockets have certainly gotten a lot of mileage out of her deal with FICO and their obvious reluctance to call her out on these plundering shenanigans, clarifying the truth for only one journalist of the many who were questioning Suze's card and extravagant, obviously deceptive pitches:
Why FICO is not interested, Excerpt from the Baltimore Sun:
Since FICO didn’t back up Suze’s prepaid debit card creating FICO score scam, Suze is in her usual M.O. of trying to ruin them after she maid tens of millions of dollars off of her deal with them, just as she tried to ruin the livlihood and reputation of the Credit Union expert who helped Suze make over one million dollars from a questionable deal with NCUA.
During the Money2020 conference in October 2013, Suze managed to use attendees as pawns to spread her revenge against FICO:
Once you realize that Suze Orman is a walking scam machine, then it is easier to see how everything she says and does is motivated by, well, let her say it herself:
"I'll tell you the sources of my income -- everything I do is a source of income to me.”
-- Suze Orman
During the same Mony2020 conference, Suze also used her usual tactic of accusing others and sounding as though she is altruistically against whatever she herself is doing, with this doozy:
"DARVO" is a common tactic of con artists: Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.
Watch an interview titled, "Suze Orman's Snake Oil Schemes":
Suze's shenanigans have been going on since before and throughout her climb to the top, with only a few in the media willing to point out the Empress's new clothes, including a 1998 Forbes article that called Suze out for outright lying in her biographical descriptions, and a 2004 Chicago Tribune article that clearly shows the kind of word and identity changing games Suze plays while trying to cover up her long strings of unethical actions.
From the Chicago Tribune:
As a certified financial planner, Orman is required by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, a private industry regulatory body, to disclose her sources of income to clients. That rule applies to one-on-one paid consultations, but not TV shows. Asked why she doesn't offer a similar disclosure to her viewers, Orman said: "I'll tell you the sources of my income--everything I do is a source of income to me.”
Suze has used her undeserved position - not to improve people's lives or have a positive effect on the economy or the world - but to fill her bulging pockets with tens of millions of dollars in paid pseudo advice, creating fear, shame, and anxiety with her angry demeanor and dire predictions. Nevertheless, even these troubling issues are still just a part of the larger "Suze Orman Problem." For many years, Suze and her PR team have blasted out scary and disturbing headlines and negative memes that have kept her in the news, allowing her to get the best price for her corporate sponsored "price for advice" shenanigans, with barely a peep from a media landscape too afraid of stepping on the toes of almighty Oprah to speak up about what must have been obvious to at least some of the journalists' intelligent assessments, as the Suze Orman problems have been obvious to nearly 100% of the people I've spoken with about this matter. As you can see in this clip, George Stephanopoulos doesn't seem too thrilled to have Suze spreading her prepaid debit card scam on Good Morning America.
It is time for financial advisors who are not sociopaths or greedy plunderers to guide today’s economic and social memes and mores. I invite journalists to use any of the research and the many informative links presented here to create more properly composed articles, books, or news features for the sake of protecting the public from the continued shams and other problematic advice and behavioral examples of "Suze Orman, Inc."
Beyond wanting this article to be interesting and educational, I hope it will inspire second thoughts for the many news and other media figures who have knowingly or unknowingly given Suze pass after pass for her shenanigans while pushing her onto the public stage as a bonafide "expert," "wizard," and "guru," in spite of the fact that her only college education was a B.A. in Social work that she took many extra years to get, never taking a course in finance, and never getting above a grade "C" in even a single one of her classes. Obviously, Suze has had enough intelligence to learn basic financial information, and quite a bit of intelligence to arrange all the scams and shenanigans she has run on the American public and many individuals along the way. As for the question of who has been writing Suze's books, here is one clue. Here is another. I have heard directly from another financial expert whom Suze has called upon to tell her what to say in upcoming interviews, or to post on social media, which she then posts as her own advice. A bit of proper research by an investigative reporter would surely yield many more aspects and examples of the Suze Orman problem.
Eric Tyson, author of books including, "Personal Finance For Dummies," "Investing For Dummies," "Mutual Funds For Dummies," and "Real Estate Investing For Dummies," has been warning readers about Suze's deceptive career for years. In an article on his website, Tyson says: "As with Bernie Madoff, for many years, there have been major concerns raised about Suze Orman's representations and stated background which have largely been ignored and kept underground." Click here to read Eric Tyson's page regarding Suze's lack of honesty and credentials.
I hope the information presented in this article will give pause to at least some of the millions who have simply trusted that today's popular media figures who have pitched Suze as a trustworthy advisor have done so after proper background and other checks regarding whom they are presenting as being credentialed and trustworthy. I hope society will rethink, beyond the kind of basic financial information that can be easily found by other, non-sociopathic financial authors and journalists who have actually studied finance in a school, whether Suze Orman should really be a trusted advisor for some of the most important family, career, relationship, child rearing, and other personal decisions of their lives.
One thing I've learned from personal experience and subsequent observation is that Suze Orman says and does whatever it takes to get more of whatever she wants, regardless of who and what (ie. people's lives, the US economy, the fabric of society) gets harmed in the process. Suze has a history of pushing down and harming those to whom she should be most grateful, which in the bigger picture, includes her fans and the United States economy that she has recklessly distorted and plundered through her lack of actual education in financial matters, coupled with a sociopathic ability to lie with more sincerity than most people tell the truth, all backed by a whole lot of behind the scenes deals with billionaires, corporations, ghostwriters, PR firms, media tycoons, and banks. You will find in the links of this presentation examples that clearly illustrate how the DSM textbook description of a narcissistic sociopath could have been aptly titled, "How Suze Orman Behaves and Thinks."
This interview clip shows some of Suze's narcissistic sociopathic behaviors:
Not only has Suze personally caused damage to a long line of people while climbing her deceptive ladder to fame and supposed expert status, but she has caused serious damage to the economy and society by pushing around her undeserved economic clout and PR-BS created "expertise" to recklessly spread corporate sponsored decrees and her own distorted views in ways that have impoverished as many people as the general financial advice she mixes her scams with may have helped. But as Suze likes to brag, economic downturns are just what her PR machine of greed feeds on.
The reason a page like this, filled with many easily visible -- in fact, impossible to avoid -- examples of Suze Orman’s problematic behavior, deceptive advice, scams, shams, and shenanigans has to come from an individual blog and the relatively few journalists who have been brave enough to speak up clearly about the “Empress’s new clothes” over the years, is because many powerful and wealthy people in the media, politics, and corporate arenas have their fingers in the “Suze Orman pie,” or are connected with those who do.
How many media celebrities and journalists would want to speak up, even about a problem that almost every single person I've ever spoken to about this matter can clearly see, if it might anger the almighty Oprah and potentially cause big problems for their own careers? Who wants to go against Suze's powerful political lobbyist PR protector, Hilary Rosen and her firm SKDKnickerbocker, which describes itself as, "a full-service public relations practice that offers crisis communications, branding, marketing, media training, digital/social media advice and message development."
Here is an excerpt from Suze Orman's main PR protector Hilary Rosen's Wikipedia page:
Rosen and SKDKnickerbocker had their hands full in 2012, trying to cover up hundreds of articles throughout the financial and general media that warned people about Suze's "Approved" prepaid debit card scam.
Suze's PR firm SKDK also coordinated lobbying campaigns that called for hundreds of billions in tax breaks on corporate profits made overseas, and have been called out for improperly using extensive political ties to benefit their clients. Hilary Rosen also represented RIAA when they destroyed Napster and represented BP to smooth over bad press regarding the Gulf Oil Spill. All these questionable efforts apparently prepared Rosen and SKDK to create a massive media blast in 2012 that all but covered up hundreds of warnings from financial journalists top to bottom to protect consumers from being ripped off by Suze's "Approved" prepaid debit card scam, which I would guess Rosen and SKDK stood to profit from mightily if it had taken off as planned (they're still trying!).
Suze is also managed by the powerful agency ICM, and has been published by many different publishers, who would probably be reluctant to print anything adverse to one of their bestselling authors. If not for this behind the scenes web that protects her, Suze Orman would have long ago been out of her position of extreme public influence and would probably have already been indicted, convicted, and causing scams and shenanigans with her fellow inmates.
Nevertheless, even after hundreds of articles by quality journalists in 2012 finally at least warned readers about Suze's prepaid card scam, Suze was subsequently named in early 2013 by one of her loyal billionaire supporters, Steve Forbes’ magazine, as the ninth most influential celebrity in the world. For those who have known Suze’s evil ways personally and up close, that designation, even if fudged by Forbes, is as concerning as any could be. Number one on the most influential celebrity list, Oprah Winfrey, continues to push Suze onto her fans, in spite of being aware of at least some of the serious problems clearly demonstrated in this presentation. At the end of this linked clip, you can see Oprah very nervously and unequivocally rebuffing her entire producer team, when they bring up their unanimous concerns about Suze’s problematic behavior on the show, with Oprah yelling at her dog and practically shouting that she supports Suze one-hundred percent. What's up with that, dear Oprah?
In her 2012 "Approved" Prepaid Debit Card scam, Suze and her PR team used a widespread, media saturated, clearly fraudulent misinformation campaign to convince, con, cajole, and beg people to move their money from banks onto her fee-laden prepaid debit card that is owned by none other than US Bank. She did this by fooling people throughout the media landscape with a blatantly fraudulent misinformation campaign and a special focus on plundering the poor and uneducated, who unwittingly spread Suze's false snake oil scam throughout social media.
Suze used latticeworks of con artist wheeler dealer words (and enough fine print disclaimers to perhaps save her from the fraud charges she certainly deserves) to fool people from all walks of life - with a specific focus on poor minorities - into thinking that her card has only a few fees and that moving their money to her prepaid debit card would save them money and improve their FICO scores, which is not the case.
Journalist Eileen Ambrose said in an article for the Baltimore Sun that "Transunion did not return phone calls seeking information about the pilot program," although she does quote FICO spokesman Anthony A. Sprauve as saying, "In our experience, spending is not actually a great indicator of the thing that the FICO score tries to measure, which is the likelihood you're going to default on a credit bill."
Nevertheless, even though FICO basically poo-poo'd the idea while walking a bit on eggshells with their business partner, Suze was stuck with her widely broadcast scam, where she had emphatically said throughout the media landscape that within two years, TransUnion would know if prepaid debit card use could create a FICO score. After all, that's why so many people paid huge fees to use her card. Many finance experts wondered what Suze would do in two years, when her scam never brought the promised results, which it certainly would not.
In November, 2013, the jig was up, but Suze knew that one more lie with a smile could take care of the matter, backed up by the silence of TransUnion.
From The Daily Beast, November 2013:
The FICO scores that Suze suggested her prepaid card would improve are the same FICO scores that Suze basically put on the map and from which she has already made tens of millions of dollars, often telling people their FICO score is the most important thing in their entire financial lives, while pocketing 50% of the profits from the Suze Orman FICO kit that showed up on FICO's main page for many years.
Even though FICO's spokesperson did officially, barely, go on the record saying that Suze's promises were not based in reality, they did not go nearly as far as they would have or should have if another con artist were using their name to fool and plunder consumers. FICO clearly did not speak up to properly warn consumers, because FICO too has it's finger in the Suze Orman Pie.
Had Suze's prepaid debit card con been successful, Suze's windfall of perhaps tens or hundreds of millions of dollars (because for Suze, too much is never enough) could have caused even more troubles to the economy than Suze's previous shenanigans have already caused.
Over and over, year after year, Suze's teams have created big headlines to cover up and play the public as fools whenever Suze is called out by journalists, sometimes going so far as to get articles removed or re-edited, even months or years after they were published. Suze's PR teams use their media clout to out-publicize and protect her from very well-deserved bad press, as they did with bold mastery in 2012, when well over one hundred articles warning consumers about Suze's prepaid debit card scam were all but covered by more and bigger media blitzes that included outright fraud, as you will see in the examples below.
This photo was taken just as the homes of hundreds of thousands of Suze's customers who had followed her advice -- or at least one of her behind the scenes expert's advice -- to buy a house and pay extra money to lock in a 7% mortgage rates before interest rates plummeted below 4% -- were going into foreclosure. This is just one of many examples of how people who followed Suze's advice have lost big, while Suze came out swimming in tens of millions of their dollars. More recently, those who trusted Suze's massive public push for people to buy gold also lost big, while she cleaned up to the tune of millions by quickly buying and selling her own gold stocks and bragging about how much she made, while everyone who followed her advice lost a lot (see "Suze's personal gold rush").
Suze may not be the financial genius she claims to be, or the marriage, childhood, relationship, or career expert she purports to be, but she is certainly a successful con artist, which I suppose is made easier by the sociopath's ability to not be bound by the usual kinds of morals and conscience that most people have. Suze Orman is like the Paula Deen of finance meets Bernie Madoff for the poor. She teaches people how to "cook" their finances, but with approaches that are spiritually and personally unhealthy, even if some of her basic financial information -- much of it fed to her by behind the scenes experts -- may have helped some to arrange their finances. I may agree with some of Suze's political stances, but it is not worth it to have a sociopath even on your side.
The Suze Orman "Approved" Prepaid Debit Card Scam
Here is Suze's B.S. Press Release for her fee-laden prepaid debit card -- just the kind of product any good financial advisor would advise staying away from:
In hundreds of appearances in early 2012 (with television clip examples to view below) Suze used quite obvious con artist lingo to falsely and fraudulently insinuate the false impression that using her prepaid debit card would improve customer's FICO scores, and only cost $3/month "if you use it how Suze tells you to." Many articles by finance experts warned people that the card will do nothing for your FICO score now and probably never will. Basically, Suze's "Approved" card sends your spending information for free to TransUnion, even though FICO has said they're not interested. And in exchange for giving TransUnion free advertising and customer information, they have apparently agreed to give cagey answers to journalists who are trying to find out the truth.
From the Chicago Tribune:
When do you think we'll hear the results? Would anyone like to place a bet on what they will be?
Well, 2013 is nearly over, so... just keep putting your money into Suze's pockets while we keep waiting for something that will never happen, eh?
Update: In November 2013, Daily Beast editor Adam Auriemma asked Suze the big question, which she swept away with her usual smile and lie combination (in an article filled with examples of Suze's sociopathy and lies).
Regarding Suze's claim that the "Approved" card will only cost $3/month, "If you use it how I tell you to," this is simply deceptive snake oil salesman talk. If you don't have direct deposit from your job (or another bank account to transfer the money from, although that option seems to have been not working for some card in mid-2013, based on online complaints), there is no chance of avoiding these fees, not to mention nearly $5 a pop just to load the card, and $2 per customer service call when Suze's very buggy card loses people's money and has many other problems.
Here are the 20 fees in the small print of the Suze Orman "Approved" card
(13 more than the "L'il Wayne card"):
I'm sure Suze and Co. were smacking their lips at the possibility of plundering millions, perhaps billions of dollars from mostly the poor and uneducated citizens of our country (she is currently trying to spread the scam to other countries such as the Philippines).
Regarding Suze's blast throughout the media landscape, spewing her misleading scam suggestion that this card is going to do something to improve user's FICO scores, if you look deeply into the "Approved" card disclaimers, you find this: "The Approved Card is not designed to improve your credit record, history, or rating. Use of The Approved Card will not and cannot improve or fix your credit score or rating." That is a far cry from what Suze Orman suggested and insinuated in at least one hundred media appearances and interviews. Apparently Suze and Co. think putting a disclaimer on a difficult to find page of the "Approved" card website should prevent them from being prosecuted or repaying customers who were fooled by her deceptive pitches.
The media clips at this link are examples of Suze turning popular and trusted television show hosts and journalists into assumedly unwitting coconspirators in her prepaid debit card fraud. This next example really takes the cake, as Suze uses an innocent student show host to fraudulently push her card onto young people, funneling more money into Suze’s pockets from students who may be fooled by what in this case includes provably blatant lies.
In this clip, Suze blatantly lies, specifically telling a student show that FICO is on board with her exploitative prepaid debit card, which they are not:
Why FICO is not interested, Excerpt from the Baltimore Sun:
This is simply a PR media-fueled fraud. Suze saying - hundreds of times throughout the media landscape - that she will send your information to TransUnion, a "major credit bureau," would be like telling someone, "If you pay me a long list of fees to help your writing career, I'll send your writings to top publishers," and just putting them into an envelope and sending them off to be tossed on the slush piles with all the other unsolicited documents. Although at least in the manuscript analogy, there is a small percentage of chance that one of the slush pile interns might notice the pages in the recycle bin and find them worthy of showing someone at the company.
Seriously, if Suze were really offering this debit card as a genuine movement to help consumers and change the credit score system as she proclaims, she wouldn't be asking some of the poorest people to pay and give their personal information for her so-called "experiment," using only the the Suze Orman TM Approved Card, when there are already many established prepaid cards in use that could be studied. A person who really wanted to change the FICO scoring system - and not just fool people into thinking they are getting something they're not - might lobby for the reporting companies to look at various avenues of payments, such as rent, utilities, and other areas that might be able to show a person's trustworthiness more accurately than having TransUnion look only at the Suze Orman "Approved" prepaid card.
From a January 2012 interview with Good Business:
Here Suze is using her usual tactic of accusing others of doing exactly what she is doing, mid-con. Can you imagine that some of those "others" might have used a B.S deal like this with TransUnion as a marketing gimmick? Whatever of your private information Suze is sending along to TransUnion -- anonymously -- while you pay the many fees of her card has a zero percentage chance of doing anything to help your credit score now, during the next two years of paying those potential 20 fees of up to $30 a pop for Suze's card, and most likely will never affect anyone's credit score, based on responses from credit experts and FICO themselves.
Nevertheless, Suze appeared on show after show, painting a very deceptive latticework of words that included her promises that the card would never cost anyone more than $3 per month*, with a special focus on fooling minorities, the poor, and those not educated about financial matters into trusting Oprah-blessed Suze Orman, and shoveling their few dollars into her insatiable pockets.
More than one hundred articles warning consumers about Suze's prepaid card were published in the first two months of 2012, followed by a deftly executed publicity blitz coverup by Suze's PR team, headed by the same publicist who represents the BP oil spill. The cover up blitz was so successful that even months after so many articles revealed what a bad deal Suze's card was for consumers, the NCLR Hispanic civil rights conference welcomed Suze to feverishly pitch, fool, and plunder their attendees, ironically with CFPB head Richard Cordray present in the same venue. Cordray also appeared on the same Marketplace Money show where Suze read out her well-rehearsed latticework of convoluted words in response to Tess Vigeland's questions. Suze's deceptive behavior during the Marketplace Money interview even drew criticism from one of her previous supporters, Felix Salmon of Reuters, who has been known to valiantly defend Suze from criticism by other finance journalists over the years. Finally, even Felix saw the light enough to write an article titled, "Suze Orman's Conflicts."
One finance blogger titled his article about Suze's prepaid debit card scam, "Suze Orman has shown her true colors."
I have known Suze way too up close and personal as a thief, liar, and worse (click here to read some of my personal experiences with Suze). Suze is, without a close second, the most dishonest and inhumane person I've personally known. Having experienced and witnessed Suze's scams and the damage she has caused to many lives on her climb to the top, I have come to see her as a shyster and sociopath.
Therefore, I would suggest that the 2012 Suze Orman prepaid debit card scam is not a sudden greedy act, but one more view of her seriously troubling true colors. I learned long ago that the way to understand Suze's actions and statements is to just assume that in nearly all cases what she says and does are deceptive and profit-motivated.
The fraudulent con Suze is running becomes more clear with research such as in this article from the Baltimore Sun: Credit experts raise doubts on Suze Orman's prepaid card as a credit-scoring tool:
FICO, which produces a widely used credit score, also questions the value of the information. Spokesman Anthony A. Sprauve wrote in an email that FICO considers only credit history information on reports from the major bureaus — and spending on prepaid cards isn't part of that. "In our experience, spending is not actually a great indicator of the thing that the FICO score tries to measure, which is the likelihood you're going to default on a credit bill," he said.
Nevertheless, Suze continued to go on probably a hundred television, radio and print interviews, blatantly suggesting that her card was a trustworthy route to improving your FICO scores, with results like this:
Watch as Good Morning America allows Suze to perpetrate her fraud on their audience
The clip below shows George Stephanopoulos and Juju Chang giving Suze infomercial space on Good Morning America to fool their audience into buying her "Approved" prepaid credit card, which by that time had already been universally panned as a bad deal by nearly the entire financial expert community. This rendition of Suze's prepaid debit card scam begins with Juju Chang's voice over saying, "But now, Suze's turning her firepower to a different kind of card, warning against the pitfalls of debit cards, especially prepaid debit cards." This is a classic Suze con artist technique of warning people against the very scam she is about to perpetrate on them.
In the clip, Suze also makes the same fraudulent insinuation she made in at least a hundred appearances and interviews throughout the media landscape, giving the blatantly false impression that her prepaid debit card will do anything thing to improve users' FICO scores, a suggestion that even FICO has balked at at, along with a long list of financial journalists who wrote articles to warn and protect people from Suze's prepaid debit card scam.
When the clip goes back to Suze's live interview with Stephanopoulos, it becomes one more clearly deceptive infomercial for her card. In this Good Morning America clip, Suze blatantly lies, saying she can promise that the card would only cost users $3 per month, with the same oil snake salesman line she used in many appearances, saying it would only cost $3 per month "if you use it how I tell you to." This $3/month charge would be highly unlikely for most people who would need to use a low quality financial product such as a prepaid card that is filled with a minefield of fees. Suze never mentions that her "Approved" card has twenty fees -- more than either the Lil' Wayne or Russell Simmons cards -- nor does she explain, as a good financial advisor should, that unless card users have direct deposit or already have a bank account, they will have to pay $3.95 - $4.95 every time they add even a small amount of money to the card, plus many fees that are only waived if they have direct deposit or transfer money from their bank account.
Suze tells George that she put her own money into creating the card, and hopes to make big profits from those twenty possible fees that she doesn't mention, including $2 to call customer service, $20 for a check copy, $25 for a postal reject, and $30.00 for a payment inquiry. Based on the complaints that have been expressed in social media during the short time since its launch, Suze's card has had quite a few technical problems that have cost subscribers a lot of unexpected fees. Many have been charged fees for multiple customer service calls to try to sort out the card's technical problems, which have included losing some users' entire deposits on top of all the fees these fooled consumers have had to pay to call customer service to try to find the money that the card lost. And if these fooled card purchasers trust Suze and sign up for Suze's offer of another year of TransUnion scores at nearly $150 per year, they'll have just put more of their hard earned dollars into Suze's pockets for something that is easily available for free. Great financial advisor, eh?
Watch the con artist at work on Good Morning America:
You can see how uncomfortable George was to be Suze’s infomercial straight man for a product that had already been universally panned by the entire financial expert community by the time of this shameful appearance. Suze gave similar and even more deceptive spiels on many other shows.
2013 UPDATE: Based on complaints in social media mid-2013, it appears that bank transfers are no longer working with the "Approved" card, at least for some users, if not all who were fooled into buying Suze's fee-laden card.
I don't know if the card will no longer accept bank-to-card transfers in the future or if this is one of the many glitches that have burdened users of the card. And in gangster brilliance, the card is set up so that every little technical glitch in the card brings another windfall of fees into Suze's pockets, from $2 customer service calls to all the fees people will now have to pay if they can't use bank-to-transfer, which was one of two ways to avoid several of Suze's 20 fees.
With bank-to-transfer unavailable, customers who do not have direct deposit set up with their jobs will now pay $2 just to withdraw money from the designated Allpoint ATMs (plus more at non-Allpoint ATMs), as well as $1 for a balance inquiry, and other fees that were supposed to be waived if you deposited directly from your bank account (of course, depositing money to a prepaid card makes no sense for almost anyone who already has a bank account). Plus they will have to pay $3.95 to $4.95 to use a service like Western Union to put money onto the card.
Clearly, part of the "Approved" card minefield is that each glitch in the system funnels more money from her fraud victims, who were promised that this card would be a great financial solution that wouldn't cost more than $3 per month and that it would improve their FICO scores. Now, unable to transfer money from their bank accounts to their Suze Orman card, these folks have been victims of a bait-and-switch on top of the overall "Approved" prepaid card con that will plunder them left and right as they try to find out why they've been plundered. What a scam. Why have govenment agencies not shut this scam down? The CFPB certainly knows about it.
One blogger tried out the Suze Orman prepaid card herself since she is writing a free e-book to help homeless people with their finances and thought it might be a good option for them. Even with her own financial savvy, this blogger was immediately hit with unexpected fees due to problems with the card:
More examples of Suze's Prepaid Debit Card Fraud:
One of many CNN segments Suze appeared on to fool people into buying her fee-laden card was fraudulently titled, "Prepaid debit card to help credit score." On this John King show, Suze also admits that she funded the card herself so others wouldn't make money, leaving Suze and her partner US Bank to wolf down all those massive fees the card would plunder from the public, with Suze's special focus on fooling the uneducated and poor.
Watch the con artist on John King Live:
Credit Sesame shared their warning about Suze's prepaid debit card in a creative way, by offering a minesweeper game based page called "The Prepaid Card Minefield" that compares Suze's "Approved" card to those offered by Li'l Wayne and Russell Simmons. Below is the game's end screen with each fee being charged once. Suze's card would cost $145.95 per year, far above Lil' Wayne's card at $29.30, and the Russell Simmon's card, $63.89. Note that these fees do not include the $143.40 customers will be suckered out of after their first year of having access to their TransUnion scores for free. If they trust Suze Orman enough, they'll be spending nearly $150 to renew a service that is readily available for free at places like Credit Karma.
*Note: A significant cost not listed in these fees or mentioned anywhere in the twenty fees listed on the Approved Card fee schedule is that if you do not have direct deposit from a job or already have a bank account in your name (and therefore would not need to spend money on this card), the only way to load money on the "Approved Card" is to spend $3.95 to $4.95 a pop to load the card using MoneyGram or Western Union.
Beyond my personal opinions, this article offers many links to more objective yet still alarming criticisms from journalists, with a focus on Suze's well-documented "Approved" prepaid debit scam of 2012. I invite you to click on the links throughout this article, where you will find clear and abundant examples that demonstrate the serious problems with Suze Orman as a supposedly trustworthy "financial, lifestyle, and family expert," whose extreme influence has caused and continues to cause serious damage to individuals, the economy, and the fabric of society.
Some negative articles about Suze have since been deleted or intriguingly edited years after publication (with examples below), and hundreds or perhaps thousands of insightful critical comments by financial experts have been subsequently deleted from Suze-related articles, perhaps by request of Suze's powerful PR, legal, and other media and corporate supporters, or perhaps due to the media venue's fears of losing money-making potential from Suze's powerful supporters. (Click here to read comments that were not deleted from an article on MSN Money.)
However, not to warn the public about Suze's "Approved" prepaid debit card scam would have crossed a line and shown a lack of integrity that enough financial journalists would not assume, resulting in well over one hundred articles warning people about the "Approved" card, with various levels of bluntness, gentleness, and trepidation. Here are a few of those articles:
- Suze Orman card: Rip-off or righteous? CBS MoneyWatch
- Suze Orman and Lil Wayne: A Match Made in Heaven Forbes
- Suze Orman, Debit Card Dealer Bloomberg Businessweek
- Beware of Suze Orman Card! Fox Business
- Suze Orman debit card raises many doubts MarketWatch
- Pre-paid Debit Card: Is Orman's Evil? CreditSense
- Suze Orman's Cream of the Crap SheBloggs
- The troubling fine print of Suze Orman's prepaid card John Wasik, Reuters
- Young, Gullible, and Broke: Suze Orman's Debit Card FAIL So Over Debt
- Suze Orman’s prepaid debit card is still too costly for most consumers Mass. Market
- Has Suze Orman Lost Her Cred? MSN Money
- Suze's Prepaid Card: Can You Afford It? AP, ABC News, Fox, Seattle Times, CBS, etc.
- Reaction to Suze Orman’s Prepaid Debit Card Overwhelmingly Negative Smart Credit
- Suze or not, look closely at celebrities' prepaid cards USA Today
- You Don't Need Suze Orman's Prepaid Card Personal Dividends
- The Approved Prepaid Debit Card: Suze Orman Falls Short Nerdwallet
- Suze Orman: Advisor or Pitchman? Consumer World
- Suze Orman’s Prepaid Card Will Not Affect Your Credit Score Credit Services Blog
- Sorry, Suze Orman's New Prepaid Debit Card Won't Rescue Your Credit Business Insider
- Suze Orman's New Prepaid Card Makes Questionable Claims Bank Tracker
- The Approved Card? More like the DIS-Approved Card! Life After College
- Suze Orman under fire for endorsing pre-paid credit card Examiner
- Suze Orman's Pre-Paid Debit Card Scam Lazy Man and Money
- Suze Orman's "Approved Card" Gets Denied; Thinks PF Bloggers Are Idiots 20 and Engaged
- Occupy Suze Orman Edition Sweating the Big Stuff: Spending Wisely
- Why Suze Orman's Approved Prepaid Debit Card is Terrible Bargaineering
- Suze Orman's prepaid bank card doesn't help credit scores HULIQ
- Debit-Card Pitchwoman Orman Flirts with Conflict Bloomberg
- Dear Suze Orman Money After Graduation Blog
- Sizing up Suze Orman's New Prepaid Debit Card Credit Sesame
- Et tu, Suze? The Credit Score Blog (also "Suze Orman's Social Experiment")
- The Suze Orman Debit Card - Really? Prime Rates
- Stay Away from Suze Orman's Approved Prepaid Debit Card Everything Finance
- Even if Suze Orman's Name is on the Card Prepaid Debit Sucks Planting Money Seeds
- Suze Orman's prepaid MasterCard: Financial experts do not preapprove New Jersey Newsroom
- Suze Orman Releases Prepaid Card. Wait, What? Beating Broke
- Suze Orman's Approved PrePaid Debit Card: Bad for Consumers! The Debt Princess
- Suze Orman's New Prepaid Debit Card - Is it really a good thing for consumers? OxygenFinancial
- Why Suze's card won't help you MSN Money
- Suze Orman Shows True Colors with Her Approved Prepaid Debit Card Generation X Finance
- Suze Orman Prepaid Debit Approved Card: DENIED Girls Just Wanna Have Funds
- The Truth Behind Suze Orman's new Debit Card MSNBC
- Prepaid cards gouge you to access your own money Reuters
- Suze Orman's Card is Not Approved by Me Thousandaire
- Suze Orman’s New Debit Card: Is Not Bad Good Enough? Credit.com
- Suze Orman: Trading on Trust? Graf Financial Advisors
- What We Need from Suze Orman Instead of Another Celebrity-Endorsed Prepaid Debit Card PT Money
- Suze Orman's New Prepaid Debit Card: The Approved Card Consumerism Commentary
- You Don’t Need Suze Orman’s Prepaid Card: Other Ways to Bank Personal Dividends
- Personal Finance Products Suze Orman Should've Endorsed Instead of Approved Card Stupid Cents
- Experts Slam Suze Orman’s New ‘Credit Building’ Debit Card Think Relief Blog
- Suze Orman's Approved Prepaid Card -- Bad Wine In a New Bottle Money Cone
- Debit-Card Pitchwoman Orman Flirts with Conflict Bloomberg
- If You Think Suze Orman's Prepaid Debit Card Is A Bad Idea, You're An 'Idiot' The Consumerist
- Is Suze Orman's Approved Prepaid Debit Card Right for You? Make Spend Save Invest
- Sizing Up Suze Orman’s New Prepaid Card Smart Money
- Suze Orman Not Pre-Approved on Her New Prepaid Card 50 Plus Finance
- FBN's Gerri Willis throws shade on Suze Orman 'Cream Of The Crap' Monster and Critics
- Suze Orman Loses Her Sh*t on Twitter Nerd Wallet
- Suze Orman Teaches You How NOT To Handle Criticism DollarVersity
- Suze Orman, WTF? Cash Flow Mantra
Some of these journalists said they were surprised to see Suze doing something that was such a blatant rip-off, suggesting that she had suddenly and unexpectedly "sold out." But that is really just a case of them not paying close enough attention to her previous shenanigans and shams, including the overall deception of her pseudo-expert status, and her support and sponsorship by the 1%, perhaps to bring down the expectations of the 98% so they can be more easily plundered by schemes such as the "Approved" card, along with Suze's long string of corporate and bank sponsored shenanigans over the years.
Still displaying on Oprah's website one year after the above articles and many more warnings about the "Approved Card" were published, with one of Suze's "occult" looks:
If anybody can't feel the negative energy coming from this photo,
you may need to have an intuition tune-up.
The "hands off" responses from the media and government agencies to Suze's previous scams and shenanigans apparently emboldened her to assume untouchability as she perpetrated her grandest, most fraudulent scheme of all - one that could have seriously plundered the poor and caused even more damage to the U.S. economic system than she has already caused, while putting massive amounts of money into Suze's pockets and the coffers of her partner, US Bank, if the scam had been successful and left unchallenged.
Fortunately, finance journalists did speak up with a large wave of articles warning consumers about the card, although thus far, the Suze Orman juggernaut has remained fairly untouched even by the huge outcry against her prepaid debit card scam.
At this link you can see how even some finance experts were fooled by Suze's fraudulent scheme. It is clear, seeing these and many more articles warning consumers about Suze's prepaid debit card, why Suze partnered with BP Oil Spill publicist and bigtime political lobbyist Hilary Rosen as publicist for the backlash that was all but inevitable for the "Approved" prepaid debit card fraud scheme fiasco.
When I saw Suze spreading this prepaid debit card misinformation scam in early 2012, just after she told the New York Post that she would be leaving public life and closing down her website in 2014, it looked like one more example of Suze's tendency to plunder people and then give them some kicks on the way out of their lives. In the case of her prepaid debit card scam, these kicks on her way out would be kicking those with low incomes and little financial education, such as the minorities Suze focused on fooling with her latticeworks of malarkey. Many of these are the same people who have already filled Suze's coffers with tens of millions of dollars, although if they had read her books, they would have seen that she didn't previously recommend prepaid debit cards at all - since as most financial experts know, they are one of the worst financial options in all but a few circumstances. In early 2012, Suze appeared in well over a hundred appearances and interviews pushing her card during the first few months of 2012, in some cases turning supposed news shows into Home Shopping infomercials.
Suze succeeded in fooling many, who then used social media to broadcast the absolutely incorrect news that putting their money on Suze's prepaid debit card would do anything to improve anyone's FICO scores, except perhaps hers.
If not for the brave backlash from financial journalists who were willing to speak up in spite of Suze's revengeful ways and warn their readers about the "Approved" card and the misinformation campaign that went with it, Suze would have certainly given a big and seriously damaging kick on her way out of public life to perhaps millions of people, as well as more damage to the U.S. economy than she has already caused, including almost single-handedly derailing the bipartisan Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 that was intended to avoid the subsequent economic collapse. And guess who benefited from that collapse while millions lost their homes, including those who followed Suze's advice to buy a house and pay extra money to lock in their 7% mortgage rates before interest rates plummeted below 4%?
Suze readily admits that she benefits whenever the economy gets worse, including in this Time Magazine article that ran after the stimulus act that Suze helped to ruin by commanding millions of people not to spend it failed. The article, titled, "Suze Orman: Queen of the Crisis," begins: "'I'm very, very sorry to say that my business is skyrocketing,' the personal-finance guru Suze Orman said one late January afternoon. The Dow was down almost 200 points, and Orman was lounging on the terrace of her San Francisco town house, wearing a leopard-print tunic and cowboy boots. She looked up and popped a grape into her mouth."
That article was from 2009, but the Suze Orman money anxiety push continues unabated in May, 2013:
Some may scoff at the idea that Suze has any serious influence, but in two recent years, Time Magazine also named Suze as one of their 100 most influential people in the world, with the presentation made by Suzy Welch, wife of Jack.
I have taken time to assemble and preserve the many links in this article because Suze’s scams and shenanigans depend on the short memory of her viewing public, along with Suze's PR team's efforts to first blast the media, then to quickly remove the remnants of previous shenanigans from articles and websites from year to year.
For example, Suze’s SelectQuote ads with distorted advice (example one and example two) regarding life insurance were running about hourly on CNN in early 2012, during the same months when CNN hosts were letting her literally run a scam while plugging her almost universally criticized “Approved” card on their shows as if it were actual news.
But now, someone trying to retrace the behind the scenes Suze Orman Selectquote deals wouldn't be able to find a shred of Suze Orman mentioned on the current SelectQuote website or other materials. The whole PR blitz that was inescapable in the media landscape for around six months in 2012 has been erased like magic, even from Google images and other searches. Fortunately, knowing Suze's ways, I saved copies that you can see in the above links.
This webpage mainly documents events that took place in 2012, along with a few examples from years gone by. Some of the documents and media have have already been removed or edited, but are saved here to give an extensive and convincing glimpse into the shams, scams, and shenanigans behind the Suze Orman problem that has already caused serious damage to many individuals, to our economy, and to the fabric of society. And if you’re one of many who can easily see through Suze’s veneer and assume she has no real influence on society, think again.
The Suze I knew in the early 1990s was a con artist and thief who often approached people in terms of what she could connive, beg, or fool them into doing for her, using and abusing many people to get what she wanted - misbehaving to the degree that she was all but banished from our mutual spiritual path's ashram for a time due to many heart-wrenching complaints from devotees who had gotten caught and plundered in Suze's ambition and desire fueled rudders. I was in association with Suze at the time of these events, and unfortunately my response was one of compassion rather than alarm.
I've not known anyone with such a deep hole of desires as Suze Orman -- not only material desires with her yacht and five houses, but desires to boss people around and be the assumed authority of all things, though undeserved.
I'm certainly not the only one to have experienced the Suze Orman problem up close, but of course it is not pleasant or necessarily advisable to speak up about such things, especially when practically the whole media landscape has either been fooled or is complicit in this elaborate scam of a media-made, ghost-written, pseudo-expert with zero finance education, but a sociopathic ability to lie, create elaborate webs of scams and shenanigans, convey excessive confidence, and give supposedly trustworthy advice that is often little more than info from her behind the scenes experts and her regular viewing of CNBC and similar shows and newsletters, mixed with corporate sponsored shenanigans to fill Suze's own pockets and those of the banks and corporations who have paid her.
"I'm not in this for charity. This is a business, and anybody who thinks that it’s not a business is an idiot... I'll tell you the sources of my income - everything I do is a source of income to me."
- Suze Orman (Chicago Tribune)
Previous to 2012, I was attempting to create an article on this topic with just a few examples on hand to demonstrate the points. But then came Suze's 2012 "Approved" prepaid debit card scam fiasco, which gave a clear and extensively-documented view into Suze's problematic approach to life, business, and those who come to her looking for helpful advice.
Some shysters who successfully plunder the public time and time again eventually push the envelope and push their scams too far to be ignored, as Suze did with her fraudulent media appearances for the "Approved" card in January, 2012, which were clearly intended to fool and exploit especially the uneducated with low incomes into thinking her prepaid debit card was going to improve their FICO scores, which is not the case now or probably ever, based on information from credit score experts and from FICO themselves, who have already said they are not interested. It's a scam, and an obvious one once you have the information and watch the many clips you'll find in this article, with Suze clearly perpetrating a fraud intended to fool people into buying her card.
When Suze released her mediocre, fee-laden, prepaid debit card with massive publicity fanfare throughout the media landscape, with Suze on overdrive, emphatically speaking as though a mediocre product that should be someone's last recourse for banking was the financial messiah itself, even journalists who had stayed silent when they should have spoken up about Suze's previous shenanigans finally spoke up, en masse. The hundreds of articles warning consumers about this card ranged from gentle political correctness to blunt criticisms about the Suze and the Suze Orman "Approved" card.
Before this unavoidably obvious scam, most finance journalists were hesitant to speak up about the problems many of them surely saw with Suze's advice, behavior and "expert" position for various reasons, including Suze's extensive media and corporate protectors and her revengeful nature. Some finance journalists seemed to feel more comfortable and safe expressing their opinions and observations about Suze Orman in the form of April Fools satire such as this article that is nevertheless based on facts about Suze's career, with what would be a real, actual headline if government agencies were properly policing shysters like Suze Orman.
For many financial journalists who had either trusted Suze or gone along with her shams for various possible reasons, the Suze Orman prepaid debit card scam of 2012 was a real challenge. Here was this supposedly trustworthy financial advisor that many of them had recommended to their readers, without really thinking carefully through her behavior, advice, and almost complete lack of finance credentials. And now, after all these years of earning tens of millions of dollars as a supposedly trustworthy advisor who cares about people, supposedly trustworthy "finance expert" Suze Orman was doing something that any honest finance expert would know is a complete sham.
This financial advisor who loves to accuse others of being dishonest was advising, misleading, and at times begging some of the lowest income people in our country to waste their small amount of money paying fees into a prepaid debit card with a list of twenty fees, from $30 for something called,“Bill payment fee for payment inquiries,” to $2 for each call to the "Approved" card's customer service center in the Philippines that "Approved" card customers have had to call frequently to address all the many many intentional or unintentional problems people have had with the cards, including one young woman who practically begged Suze for help when the Suze Orman "Approved" Card lost all of her money.
Telling people to move their money out of banks and onto her prepaid debit card is nothing but bad advice, and it is certainly fraudulent for Suze to push a crummy, fee-laden product with a false marketing campaign that she obviously expected to be a potentially massive moneymaker for herself and her partner, U.S. Bank, with perhaps billions of dollars coming out of the poorest pockets in the land if her misinformation campaign had been successful. Fortunately for individuals and the United States economy, financial journalists finally spoke up en masse.
Phase two of Suze’s prepaid debit card rip-off scam will come in early 2013, when everyone who has had the card for a year will find that the free access to their TransUnion reports that Suze has touted as a benefit of this card, even though it is all but worthless - a score that is easily available at Credit Karma and other places for free, along with the other two bureau scores - will start charging “Approved” card customers more than $143/year for this almost completely unnecessary “benefit,” money that I'm sure Suze and TransUnion will happily slop up from the pockets of the poor, uneducated people who were fooled into trusting Suze Orman. This will be one of Suze’s final kicks to her fans and the U.S. economy before she retires and “goes fishing,” as she claimed in November 2011 that she will be doing in less than three years. Suze is known by many of those who have helped her for her oft-repeated pattern of giving a final kick after plundering people to fill her own pockets, and that is what I see her doing to US citizens and the US economy with this prepaid debit card scam.
The damaging train of Suze Orman deception is showing no sign of slowing, in spite of the 200 + articles from early 2012 that were mostly critical or extremely critical of Suze’s prepaid debit card. But then came many more arranged media appearances, including a deceptive hour-long appearance on Piers Morgan’s show that rewarded Piers with his highest ratings in five months, and a doozy of a misinformation infomercial disguised as a caring lecture that Suze gave at the NCLR conference, for an organization that is intended to protect the Hispanic community from just the kind of prepaid debit card misinformation scam Suze was selling and begging them to buy. And who also spoke at the same conference but Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is tasked with protecting consumers from just the kind of fraud Suze was selling.
Here's one of many twitter messages Suze posted while feverishly pitching her prepaid debit card, as part of her ploy to use her perceived expertise to fool people into leaving banks and paying money to the "Suze Orman Bank Card."
It is difficult to imagine that anyone would hope the economy and real estate market would decline further to improve their own profits, but Suze has often gloated about how the bad economy is great for her business.
Throughout this article, you will find many examples of how Suze Orman fraudulently fooled especially uneducated folks with low incomes into thinking her card would only cost $3/month and that it would help improve their FICO scores. Her publicist for the card, controversial B. P. oil spill publicist Hilary Rosen, even managed to get the announcement of this crummy prepaid debit card scheme into the National Press Club. Note that this article from the Washington Examiner contains the same blatant lie Suze propagated throughout the media landscape, stating, "The cause was poverty in America, while the product was Orman's new 'Approved Card,' a prepaid debit card that will help consumers, especially the poor, build credit."
Why FICO is not interested, Excerpt from the Baltimore Sun:
Here are some well-expressed comments about the FICO scam by finance professionals:
Click Here to view a discussion with Greg McBride, Senior Financial Analyst for Bankrate.com. He tries to be kind about Suze, since she recommends his website, but cannot in good conscience support the misinformation campaign and flaws with Suze Orman's prepaid debit card.
Perhaps Suze is expecting FICO to come around and join the sham or pretend to do so, since FICO has had its finger in the Suze Orman pie for many years, and Suze's whole career revolves around "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." In a sense, Suze put FICO on the public consciousness map by speaking about the FICO score as the most important financial issue for years and helping to sell tens of millions of FICO scores, often without acknowledging that she was making fifty percent of the money brought in from sales of the Suze Orman FICO kit.
From a press release by FICO that includes Suze's oft-repeated statement that, "Knowing and improving your FICO score is the most important way to make more out of your money":
I'm sure many consumers could have found a better way to spend their money than to buy Suze's FICO kit, but it clearly was the most important way for Suze to get more of your money in her own pockets, turning FICO from what its vice president describes in the above quote as a "one-product experiment in consumer education to become the most trusted source in the country..." That's why FICO paid Suze tens of millions of dollars to turn their barely-known experimental product into a supposed need for millions, who paid fifty dollars apiece for the kit.
In the case of Suze's "Approved" prepaid debit card, Transunion has been going along with Suze's misinformation campaign by issuing only one short and vague response to many questions by finance journalists. Eileen Ambrose said in an article for the Baltimore Sun that "Transunion did not return phone calls seeking information about the pilot program," although she does quote FICO spokesman Anthony A. Sprauve as saying, "In our experience, spending is not actually a great indicator of the thing that the FICO score tries to measure, which is the likelihood you're going to default on a credit bill."
Transunion's one official response, given to a journalist who was less critical about Suze's card than others, was emailed to her with these carefully crafted words: "TransUnion is committed to supporting Suze's efforts to understand the impact of pre-paid card use on an individual's credit health. Our goal is to help Suze understand whether including this data in a consumer's credit report would impact access to credit products." It doesn't say a word about being interested in the research themselves or about any interest in this information from FICO, rather TransUnion is "supporting Suze's efforts," and "helping Suze understand." See the scam?
Here is Suze's spokeswoman's response to questions by a finance journalist from Bloomberg about her prepaid card scam, with not a shred of accurate information to refute their claims, because the whole "Approved" prepaid card is a case of greed-fueled smoke and mirrors:
As for what TransUnion might be getting from this deal, aside from free access to a whole lot of personal spending data, "Mr. Consumer," Ed Dworsky points out, "If you only read the headlines about the free TransUnion credit score, report and credit monitoring benefit, you may miss the fact that the service is only free for the first year. After that, if you want to keep it, it is $143.40 a year."
Again, this $143.40 per year charge is for credit score information that can easily be accessed for free on sites such as Credit Karma, which also gives access to the other two main bureau scores, along with TransUnion, all 100% free. It won't take too many uneducated users of Suze's card trusting her enough to pay this ridiculous, completely unnecessary annual fee of $143.40 for Suze to plunder more big profits from the poor and uneducated for herself, US Bank, and TransUnion.
Fooling the Poor
Suze's "Approved" Prepaid Debit Card Scam of 2012 brought forth more than 100 articles from finance journalists top to bottom, warning people that the card wasn't a good deal at all, or certainly not anywhere near as good a deal as Suze was trying to fool them into thinking it was. Suze's goal, clear in these clips of her scam in action, was clearly to fool the uneducated and poor into thinking that using her fee-laden prepaid debit card would improve their FICO scores and only cost them $3/month. This was going to be her biggest scam ever, moving millions from the banking industry right into her pockets and those of her partner, US Bancorp.
Suze tried to fool Oprah's followers, the Occupy Movement, Hay House customers, and viewers of radio and television shows, including The View, Good Morning America, Piers Morgan, John King, and many others into moving their money from banks onto her card, calling her plundering scam the "People First Movement." But Suze's plan included fooling the poor and uneducated, who would be less likely to read or heed the warnings.
Suze's misinformation campaign - which should certainly qualify as blatant and legal fraud - fooled a whole lot of poor folks into buying her card and recommending this mediocre, exploitive product to their friends, spreading Suze's false assertions that using Suze's card would "up their FICO scores," which it absolutely, positively will not for years, and almost certainly never will.
Suze Orman’s Prepaid Card Will Not Affect Your Credit Score Credit Card Processing Blog
Suze made an extensive ploy to fool poor and uneducated people into paying those 20 fees to her card, from $2 to call customer service when the card didn't function correctly, which seemed to happen quite a bit based on online complaints, to $20 for a check copy, $25 for a postal reject, and $30.00 for a payment inquiry.
Suze pitched her card to the poor using her enthusiastic Suze supporter Tavis Smiley in what looked like an infomercial in the middle of his panel on Poverty in America, and in his announcement before the National Press Club, where Tavis comes right out and states that he would "do anything for Suze Orman." This fraudulent impression took off in social media, stoked by many appearances by Suze using carefully crafted lattices of words to trap her prey.
Below is a video clip of an announcement arranged by Suze's PR representative, Hilary Rosen, before the National Press Club to pitch Suze's new prepaid debit card, "poverty activist." In it, Tavis Smiley says, "I would do anything that Suze Orman asked me to do, and that's why I'm here for the first time in my career to stand behind somebody who's put out a product that will help poor people in their effort to get out of the hole that this country in so many ways has helped dig for them." Sounds a bit like selling your soul to the devil, dear Tavis.
This big announcement took place just before Suze returned the favor by appearing on Tavis's poverty panel, where Tavis gave yet another shameless infomercial for the fee-laden "Approved" prepaid debit card -- allowing the poor to think that Suze's ridiculous prepaid card would be a good choice for their banking needs.
Next you can watch Tavis Smiley's shocking infomercial for Suze's prepaid debit card scam at a panel ironically titled, "Poverty to Prosperity." In this clip you can see how uncomfortable Tavis is having to compromise his integrity to pitch - right in the middle of a poverty panel - Suze’s crummy prepaid card that had already been denounced by financial experts as though it were actually a tool to help alleviate poverty rather than a tool to plunder the poor and put more money into Suze's pockets.
Tavis does look to as though he may be feeling somewhat ashamed about allowing Suze Orman to use his poverty panel to plunder the poor, as he should. In the National Press Club clip above, Tavis also mentioned that he had a book about to be published, which ended up including quotes by Suze Orman, whose name is mentioned in the press materials for the book.
Here is a sample of how widely this prepaid card misinformation fraud spread through social media:
More than a year later, in June 2013, Suze repaid Tavis’s loyalty by being one of the first to appear on his new online radio blog show. Of course, Tavis had to pay the piper again by pushing Suze’s crummy prepaid debit card to his listeners, even allowing Suze to say that using her card prepaid could "literally change your life."
Shortly after three minutes into this excerpt, Tavis’s assistant plays the role of a satisfied “Approved” card customer, who Tavis describes as “giddy” about how great the card has worked for him. Note that Suze remembers this assistant’s name all too well. Although I was not there to personally see how this exuberant testimonial was arranged, it seems quite obvious that it was planned in advance.
The assistant claims that his FICO score shot way up after he started using Suze's card, allowing him to even buy a house. Of course, if you are reading this article, you know that Suze’s card doesn't do a thing to improve anyone’s credit, which Tavis must also know, even though he is supporting the claim and even pushing his assistant to tell about how he was able to get a house mortgage due to his use of Suze's card.
At first, Suze doesn't correct the fellow’s claim that her card made his FICO score shoot up, but then the second time he makes the same claim even more exuberantly, Suze finally speaks up, and gave a new spiel she and her prepaid card team have apparently come up with, saying that using her "Approved" card had helped improve the assistant's FICO score because he wasn't carrying balances on credit cards. But most people, especially the poor and uneducated who Tavis claims to be serving, would come away from this disguised infomercial thinking once again that Suze's prepaid card would improve their FICO scores -- unless they already know that Suze Orman is a con artist and that Tavis has been acting as an enabler regarding her card.
Unless the listeners are super savvy regarding finances and unraveling twisted words, they will once again be fooled into thinking that Suze’s card will improve their FICO scores, as it supposedly did for Tavis's assistant, just as so many were fooled by Suze's previous shenanigans in Tavis Smiley’s 2012 poverty conference, which resulted in people posting incorrect information to all their friends via social media and in person, telling the people they care about that Suze’s card would up their FICO score.
In a sense, with her prepaid debit card scam, Suze is milking the most vulnerable in today's economy in a brash and reckless attempt to take herself from being part of the 1% to perhaps the .01 percent. Many complaints are already coming in about the card, with the Approved Card losing one woman's account and all her money, and others being locked out of their accounts. Unhappy customers are already spending big bucks to speak with apparently incompetent customer service representatives overseas at $2 per call. As one woman said in the complaints posted on Suze's Facebook page, (most of which Suze erases), "I feel like there should be a huge sign on my head saying 'Sucker!'"
On show after show and press club statement after poverty panel, Suze has used sneaky words to intentionally give a false impression that her card will improve credit scores, just because TransUnion has agreed to look at information from card users (otherwise known as getting users to give permission for TransUnion and Suze to parse through their personal information for free). Use of Suze's debit card is not going to do a thing to improve the scores of current "Approved" card users - certainly not now, and probably not ever. She is basically asking the poor and uneducated to put money into her pockets in order to be guinea pigs for her little "experiment," which is likely to disappear as quickly as Suze does in 2014, when she has said she will retire from public life to "go fishing," after she's made a ton of personal retirement fund to add to her tens of millions, taken from the pockets of the uneducated and poor. Of course, Suze says she's going to do a lot of things without ever doing them.
Suze wasn't only trying to plunder the poor with her "Approved" prepaid card scam; she went after everyone, using the extensive media machine that bowed to her Oprah blessed influence, without calling her out for pitching an obviously fraudulent campaign (not to mention for having an almost total lack of financial education) on their shows. In this clip, you can see that George Stephanopoulos at Good Morning America appears uncomfortable about having abruptly entered the Suze scam zone, nevertheless, he also bowed to Oprah's protege.
During the misinformation campaign for Suze's prepaid debit card, its PR representative Hilary Rosen managed to book Suze on probably close to one hundred shows, including the supposedly trustworthy "Meet the Press," as Suze began repeating one of her carefully crafted slogans that was obviously meant to portray that her card would help the poor, saying over and over again, while pitching her card, that "There is a highway into poverty, there is not even a sidewalk anymore to get out." Suze said this at the Tavis Smiley/Cornell West poverty panel and repeated the slogan enough times during her prepaid card media blitz that this highway-sidewalk statement has over a hundred thousand mentions on Google, and obviously contributed to the misconception that Suze's card was an altruistic endeavor meant to help the poor, when it is a tool that could disrupt the economy, push down the lower class, and put more money into the pockets of Suze Orman, a big bank, and a public relations company.
After the media backlash, Suze backtracked from telling the Occupy movement and everyone else to move their money from banks to her prepaid debit card, and moved to what appeared to be "Plan B," saying that her card was intended to serve the unbanked. But then, as Dan Ray at creditcards.com explains, he went through the process and found that on step five, the "Approved" card requires purchasers to use a credit card or debit card to pay the first monthly $3 fee - Click here to see the screenshot of this requirement. As Ray says:
"If you have one of those cards, you're already "banked" -- with the exception of a very few cards that aren't connected to a bank. And if you're using a credit card to open your Approved card account, you also already have a credit score.
"So to get an Approved card, you already have to have a credit card, in which case you already have a credit score, or a debit card, in which case you already have a bank, or you're one of the small fraction of people who already has a prepaid card, in which case you're just trading brands for a card that has a so-so set of fees.
"And because most of the people who can get it already have banks, or credit scores, or both, the data generated by that set of people won't tell you much.
Even months after all this prepaid debit card backlash, Suze continued to give corrupted advice, such as her response on May 13, 2012 to this woman who has just moved to the U.S. and is simply asking this supposed financial advisor how to get a bank account and establish credit.
Clips of Suze's Prepaid Card Fraud
Suze has been very clearly documented repeating her carefully crafted script that was intended to obfuscate while supposedly remaining within legal parameters, resulting in many people moving their money from decent, solid bank accounts, no fee Credit Union accounts, and secured credit cards that actually do help customers build credit, onto her fee-laden card, by fooling them with the misinformed belief that doing so was going to improve their FICO scores.
Here are just a few clips from Suze's extensive, widespread, media misinformation campaign to fool people into thinking her card would improve their FICO scores. Remember, nearly the entire financial journalist community stepped up to warn people about Suze's fee-laden card, which will absolutely not improve a user's FICO scores one iota now, or almost certainly ever.
Suze Orman’s Prepaid Card Will Not Affect Your Credit Score Credit Card Processing Blog
In this first clip, Suze once again uses twisted words to fool the less educated viewers of the Wendy Williams show into thinking that buying her "Approved" prepaid debit card would improve their FICO scores, insinuating that she has spoken to FICO about it, which is not the case, and also trying to scare the audience by suggesting once again that employers won't hire you based on your FICO score, which is also not true.
More of the same on Good Morning America:
And on The View:
Here is an excerpt that details the fraudulent pitch Suze used in probably close to 100 shows and interviews, from a financial blog article titled,
"Suze Orman's Pre-Paid Debit Card Scam":
Here, Suze fools the Hispanic community with the same scam:
Here Suze gives one of many deceptive spiels to local news shows:
Amidst CNN's incessant playing of Suze Orman ads for Selectquote from January to June 2012, playing nearly every hour on HLN for much of that time - an ad campaign that has obviously paid CNN with big bucks - Suze appeared on many CNN's supposedly reputable shows, including this pseudo-news infomercial segment on the John King Show, deceptively titled, "Prepaid debit card to help credit score."
In this emphatic appearance, Suze suggested that her choice to invest a million dollars of her own money into this card was not for greedy purposes of getting more money for herself in return, but for some vague altruistic reasons. She suggests as a likely fact the unlikely and far off possibility that - if people spend extra money to use her card and join her in this "altruistic movement to change the world" with TransUnion, a credit reporting firm Suze previously described as unimportant while pitching FICO as the only score that counts and as the most important thing one can do for their finances, that one day their FICO scores will rise. Note that many who were fooled into thinking this was the case - quite a few of whom shared the false information with friends on Twitter and Facebook - were thinking so in direct response to seeing or reading Suze's twisted words:
A flash of truth comes through the above John King interview when Suze says, "I funded this venture entirely on my own. I did not take any partners, because they would want to make money." She spins this as somehow being part of her altruistic mission, although obviously what it means is more money - perhaps millions or billions if the card had been successful - going directly into Suze's already-bulging pockets.
This women spent a whole lot of money on those $2 a pop customer service calls when Suze's "Approved" card lost all of her money:
With all these people paying fees into Suze's pockets for the implied benefits to their credit scores, the truth is that Suze's card doesn't and probably never will do a thing to help anyone's FICO score except perhaps her own - unless she becomes liable for perpetrating this fraudulent impression as duped customers find those 20 fees quickly adding up and decimating their finances.
Why Suze's card won't help you from MSN Money
Why FICO is not interested, Excerpt from the Baltimore Sun:
Suze has also spoken the carefully worded phrase over and over in more than one-hundred appearances, that she can guarantee her card will only cost you $3/month "if you use it how I tell you to." One of many problems with this "guarantee" is that "how Suze tells you to" includes a requirement that you receive funds onto the card every month via direct deposit from your job (and if you have a job, chances are you could find a bank or credit union account with a free debit card), or you would have to transfer the funds using direct deposit from your bank account, leaving your money in limbo for five days according to complaints. And if you already have a bank account, you probably would have no need for this card unless you wanted to donate money into Suze's pockets for a BS "experiment" scam that is even more troubling than sending your money off to a Nigerian prince who wants to share his inheritance with you, since Suze's scam is being supported by activists who claim to be serving the needs of minorities and the poor.
If you don't have a job or bank account that allows you to use direct deposit to load Suze's card, you'll be liable for a whole lot of other fees, including $4 - $5 dollars just to add cash to the card and ATM fees that could go from $2 to $5, depending on if you use an ATM in or out of network - and it is always $2 to get cash back with a purchase, regardless of whether you have direct deposit. Even if you do use direct deposit and do everything Suze tells you to, you'll still be likely spending big bucks on the twenty fees, which go up to $30 a pop.
Forbes contributor Tim Chen, one of the more blunt journalists to write about Suze's card, explains: "Prepaid debit cards target folks with limited credit. They’re marketed as a viable alternative to credit cards and bank accounts. In reality, prepaid debit is nothing short of extortionate chicanery. You might as well send your life savings to a stranded Nigerian prince who chanced upon your e-mail address and relayed a desperate plea for financial support. Prepaid debit will eat your money, lick its lips and ask for more." Chen adds, "In their eagerness to capitalize on a trendy and morally dubious market, Suze Orman and Li'l Wayne will only deepen the financial woes of the unbanked. Spread the word. If enough truth proliferates, these prepaid atrocities will succumb to the same embarrassing fate as the Kardashian catastrophe."
As Gerri Willis of FOX Business wrote in her article titled, "Beware of the Suze Orman Card!": "Some of the fees can be avoided, but it begs the question of why I would buy such a card if I had to spend all my time reading the fine print to make sure I avoid the trip wires?"
Tim Chen also wrote in his article for Forbes titled, "Suze Orman and Li'l Wayne: A Match Made in Heaven": "Celebrity prepaid debit cards are both hilarious and horrifying. Hilarious because they are an excruciatingly obvious ploy to feed the greed of money-bloated fame-mongers. Horrifying because they prey on the poor and financially illiterate."
Many financially savvy folks can see that the Suze Orman Prepaid Debit Card is a scam on various levels, including a commenter named Chris, who suggested in one of the hundreds of critical comments from finance professionals on these articles about Suze's card:
Aside from the fact that CNBC apparently did renew her contract in spite of all the complaints about Suze's troubling shenanigans over many years, Chris is exactly right about what has been happening to unsuspecting prey who have purchased the card, with many complaining that they've had to make $2 customer service calls over and over to iron out the long strings of problems caused by the intentional or unintentional incompetence of those who are facilitating the "Approved" card - including in some cases losing all of their money - with many unable to even activate the card without many phone calls to customer service.
- Several Customers who felt duped by all the customer service call fees and other problems with Suze's prepaid debit card posted these complaints to Suze's Facebook page, only to be ignored.
- This woman had to call customer service over and over at $2 a pop because they LOST ALL OF HER MONEY!
- This financially savvy woman is one of many who have complained that they were unable to get the card to activate without making $2 customer service calls.
Obviously, you’re free to agree or disagree with my conclusions, but I am convinced that Suze Orman’s entire career has been little more than one big scam, with financial experts giving her info behind the scenes, with others writing her books, and a long list of corporate and media sponsors who have kept most critics at bay.
I played an unfortunately significant role in the part of Suze’s ongoing string of scams that came after she sued Merrill Lynch so they couldn't fire her, and after she had already used and abused several powerful women, including a Republican strategist to whom Suze caused considerable damage and financial talk show host Cynthia Oti, who helped create Suze's financial platform before Suze caused serious harm to Cynthia's life and slathered hatred on Cynthia's post-mortem memory on CNBC after Cynthia died in a plane crash.
After causing harm to Cynthia and others, Suze latched onto me and ended up stealing two years of assistance that included my asking favors from Hollywood television producer colleagues to give Suze her first two television appearances, after which I produced, filmed, scripted, and edited a misleading video that projected a deceptive image of Suze's financial knowledge and media experience, along with a lot of other assistance during the two years before Suze's first book was published - hours upon hours of coaching, brainstorming, requesting professional endorsements for the cover, and more. Suze not only stiffed me on every penny of the promised pay for helping to start her writing and public speaking career, but took terrible steps to ruin my well being and harm my life. This is the kind of person who is guiding the personal life decisions of millions of people in the United States and around the world!
One of many woman who have been harmed by Suze along the way recently wrote to me after reading this article, and expressed Suze's patterns very succinctly, writing, "All in all, I must say I can relate to so much of what you've written - as I know others have as well. The promises, the feeling of being used, the backlash after the fact- it is a wicked pattern that seems to keep emerging. It is actually rather sad. And although it took me a while to recover from my experiences, I am just trying to put it behind me - and as time goes by it is becoming a more distant memory."
We can see a similar pattern with Suze's prepaid debit card scam that could certainly have caused more damage to our already fragile economy by moving people out of bank accounts and credit unions and onto a fee-laden card that would (and already has) further plundered the poorest people who have been fooled by her fraudulent snake oil pitches to think that getting Suze Orman's "Approved" card would improve their FICO scores. All this took place just after Suze announced that she was going to be closing down the financial advice shop, ending the Suze Orman Show and deleting her website in 2014.
It's the same pattern Suze has of giving a big kick in the butt on her way out after she's already used and abused people, clearly intended to scar and damage their lives further. In this case, the US public is the one getting the boot after years of being plundered by Suze's uneducated and corporate-funded proclamations, behind the scenes endorsements, and various scams throughout her public career. It's the same pattern as when Suze showed up to the birthday party of her girlfriend of nine years - who had significantly helped to increase Suze's career and fortune during those years - breaking up with this girlfriend by showing up at her birthday party with a new girlfriend (Suze's current partner), with Suze clearly relishing the idea that every subsequent birthday would remind her ex of a most unpleasant event. The "Approved" prepaid debit card scam of 2012 is just one more expression of Suze's destructive nature. It's as if she is saying, "Let's see how much we can push the scamming bar and fill our pockets with even more millions of dollars before we sail off laughing at all those fools who fell for our schemes."
Knowing Suze, I would imagine she gets a certain sadistic satisfaction from knowing that she is still disturbing my life to this day, requiring me to take time from wonderful positive creative projects to focus on her, a narcissistic sociopath’s dream come true (or whatever mixture of terms and aberrations might describe Suze Orman’s particularly damaging combination). It’s hard for most decent people to imagine that someone would have such dark intentions, and that is what keeps good people from seeing the darkness that is evident in Suze’s actions and behavior. It is the very goodness in people that make them more likely to overlook troubling evidence that would indicate a distortion beyond usual human nature.
Some have used the phrase, “The emperor’s new clothes,” in referring to Suze’s shenanigans, and I do believe that is an applicable analogy of how all these intelligent, even altruistic people have ended up serving Suze’s harmful agendas. Top media figures, and even poverty advocates such as Tavis Smiley and Michael Moore have knowingly or unknowingly sold their integrity to ingratiate themselves to the Suze Orman brand, including pitching her prepaid debit card to their poverty panel and other audiences, even after it had been quite clearly been called out as a bad product and scam by more than one hundred finance journalists. Perhaps those who continued to allow Suze to plunder their audiences with her prepaid card scam just couldn't imagine that someone with Oprah's stamp of approval could really be that evil to plunder the poor and possibly damage the U.S. banking system, had her plan been successful.
This is one way Suze snags people: Our own goodness as non-sociopaths makes it difficult to discern that we are seeing the face of something that could be thought of as being along the lines of evil. It took a long time for me to realize how damaging Suze was, even though she had behaved in seriously troubling ways from the day we met, lying and trying to plunder me from day one.
Some may think it is a cute and fun story that someone who was a waitress with zero financial education or credentials found her way into a position as influential economic figure, first by suing Merrill Lynch and going through a long list of other shenanigans that have often involved stealing and lying (easy behaviors for a narcissistic sociopath who is not burdened by pesky things like integrity, honesty, or actual care for the well being of others). Suze has pushed her way into an absurd position of public influence and trust as a supposed financial, lifestyle, family, and political expert, spewing her skewed views mixed with general financial information and her "price for advice" scheme of the month, in ways that have distorted the course of many lives, as well as the economy. I don't suggest that Suze Orman is the cause of all the world's economic problems, but she has certainly contributed to setting the stage for many of them, while gloating publicly about how the more the economy goes down, the more her business skyrockets. During the two years I knew Suze personally, and in my observations since, I've not seen her show anything resembling sincere care for another person, one of many reasons why I am convinced she is indeed a troubling sociopath.
In the video clip below, you can see Suze giving her own resume of her shenanigans before she fooled and plundered me and others to get her first book published and to get into the public eye. It may be an intriguing story, but certainly does not give the credentials to be a financial or lifestyle expert. When Suze used to tell the story about Merrill Lynch, I don't recall her including the disclaimer she now includes in her story that she had sued them without knowing that would keep them from being able to fire her, and knowing Suze she planned the sequence of events very carefully and connivingly. Perhaps she added that disclaimer to the story now to obscure at least some of her usual long-term planning of scams (as is also evidenced by Suze's long-term planning of shenanigans in the Philippines in 2012).
Note in this clip that Suze is much more proud that she achieved her position of extreme influence through shenanigans than if she had actually become a "finance expert to the world" by things like honesty, education, or experience. And these deceptive, sometimes immoral and occasionally illegal shenanigans are what Suze has at times taught her viewers as well.
This article also offers many examples of Suze's behavioral issues that came to very public light when financial journalists from top to bottom finally stood up to protect people from the especially blatant Suze Orman Prepaid Debit Card Scam, when she called them "losers" and "idiots," and behaved in otherwise troubling ways. Suze's fevered pitch marketing of a regular old fee-laden prepaid debit card as the savior of people's financial lives crossed the line of ethics to the extent that even journalists and bloggers who might have feared retribution from an obviously revengeful and well-connected and protected Suze Orman, with her wide web of media and corporate supporters, finally spoke up in the form of more than 200 articles warning people about Suze's card and the extreme misinformation campaign that went with it. If you don’t have time to read this whole article, I would suggest at least skimming through and seeing if any of the topics draw your attention. If you are a journalist or government agency, please feel free to use any of the research I've gathered in this presentation.
If not for the media backlash against her card, Suze scheme might have been successful, with tens of millions of people who blindly trust and follow Suze's advice moving their money out of the banking system and onto Suze's card. This could have potentially caused even more collapse to the economy and damage to individuals than Suze has already caused with her reckless and tainted advice - just one part of the financial aspect of the serious problem with Suze Orman's extreme and unwarranted influence upon society and the economy.
I haven't watched the Suze Orman CNBC show for many years, so her 2012 prepaid card fiasco gave an opportunity to easily research the media events of two months and find many links to include in this presentation, which I had already been preparing without as many documented examples. The "Suze Orman Prepaid Card Fiasco of 2012" gave an opportunity to see, with concrete media documented examples, a glimpse into the kind of deceptive schemes that have been Suze Orman's career from the beginning, also giving some insight into a complicit media PR machine that can create and sustain such harmful facades. Nearly all of the examples in this long article come from the first few months of 2012.
If more than 200 journalists had not spoken up to warn the public about this card, the millions upon millions who have been incorrectly convinced by Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, John King, Piers Morgan, Barbara Walters, Anderson Cooper, and other supposedly trusted media figures that this woman - who has almost zero credentials in the field of finance - is some kind of financial genius wizard guru, may have fallen for Suze's misleading but religiously fevered pitches for her "Approved" card's ironically named "People First Financial Revolution Movement," which is more of a "rip-off poor people" campaign, and might have moved perhaps hundreds of millions or billions of dollars from their bank accounts onto Suze's card, paying fees up the kazoo as Suze and her buddies-in-crime laugh it up on their yacht. In my observation, Suze is a prime example of how certain sociopathologically corrupt people are able to achieve great levels of success and influence due to not having to deal with those pesky human tendencies toward honesty, decency, and respect of other people as having greater value beyond pawns to be used and plundered in their ambitious, exploitative games.
Here is an overview presentation of some of the problems with Suze's prepaid card from finance and credit card experts, including a telling Freudian slip by Suze, who actually says in this video clip, "The intention behind this card is to give people the least cost-effective way for them to be able to pay online, to be able to have a card to access things, because it's very dangerous today sometimes to carry cash around."
"I'm not in this for charity. This is a business, and anybody who thinks that it’s not a business is an idiot ...I'll tell you the sources of my income - everything I do is a source of income to me."
- Suze Orman (Chicago Tribune)
The articles and media appearances presented in this article document clear evidence of Suze's fraudulent attempt to fool the poor, the uneducated, the occupy movement, and anyone else she could catch with her media-supported hype into taking their money out of the banking system and putting it onto her "Suze Orman Bank" - a fee-laden prepaid debit card into which she says she has invested one million dollars of her own money, in which she is set to receive a large percentage of the profits, and which has already begun trapping fooled customers with a tangled minefield of fees, from $2 for each customer service call - even to iron out the card's many reported mistakes, complicated by reports of bad customer service from Suze's call center in the Philippines, where she is saving money by outsourcing instead of hiring some of the US women in need who helped to build her fortune - to $15.00 for a check re-issue, $25.00 for a postal reject, $20.00 for a check copy, and $30 a pop for a "payment inquiry."
If a company you paid didn't cash your check properly or said they didn't receive the check, that will be $30.00 out of your account into US Bank's and Suze's pockets for you to do a payment inquiry, along with paying $2 for each phone call to the "Approved" card's problematic customer service to straighten the problem out. If the place you paid by check (for a $1 fee) changed their address or if you mistakenly have the check sent to the wrong address, that will be another "postal reject" $25.00 charge for you. If you're in a store and want to get some cash back instead of driving or walking to get to a 7-11 (where you can use the ATM for free only if you have direct-deposited cash onto the card within the previous 30 days), then that will be $2 in fees for getting some of your own cash back along with your purchase. If you don't have direct deposit and simply want to find out how much of your own money you have left on the "Approved" card, that inquiry will cost you a $1 "balance inquiry fee" at the ATM, or $2 to check your balance by calling customer service.
CreditSesame's financial bloggers wrote a couple of creative warning articles about Suze's prepaid debit card scam. This article describes Suze as a "modern-day Horatio Alger story," who somehow managed to go from waitress to one of the "most trusted experts in personal finance," and says about the card: "Without joining in the pig pile on Ms. Orman, it’s important to understand that prepaid cards won’t help establish or build credit. In this case, it feels as though the marketing folks behind Ms. Orman’s prepaid card pushed their creative marketing skills to their proverbial limit. While the card will report spending habits to TransUnion as a sort of pilot testing program, it will not help establish or build credit."
Another Credit Sesame financial journalist warned readers about Suze's prepaid debit card money grab in a creative way by offering a minesweeper game based page called "The Prepaid Card Minefield" that compares Suze's "Approved" card to those offered by Li'l Wayne and Russell Simmons. Here is the game's end screen with each fee being charged once. Suze's card would cost $145.95 per year (not including the $143.40 customers will be suckered out of after the first year of receiving their TransUnion scores for free - a score that is readily available for free at places like Credit Karma). Lil' Wayne's card would cost $29.30, and the Russell Simmon's card, $63.89:
*Note: A significant cost not listed in these fees or mentioned anywhere on the Approved Card fee schedule is that if you do not have direct deposit from a job or already have a bank account in your name (and therefore would not need to spend money on this card), the only way to load money on the "Approved Card" is to spend $3.95 to $4.95 a pop to load the card using MoneyGram or Western Union.
From just perusing social media here and there, I have seen a clear trend of people racking up big fees due to mistakes made by those who are administering the "Approved" card. The many complaints point to the possibility that Suze has intentionally filled her prepaid debit card with bugs that will set off those minefield fees left and right. It is difficult to imagine that someone would do this intentionally, but in this case, the woman pitching and profiting from this card is (IMHO) a sociopath. One woman has been trying to get Suze's help on Twitter after the "Approved" Card completely lost her account, leaving her with no access to the money she had already transferred, and most likely a big bill from all the customer service calls she's had to make at $2 a pop due to their mistakes - Click here to read the woman's requests for help and complaints about the incompetent customer service from Suze's Philippines call center.
Even in late June, 2012, after receiving many complaints for months from people upset about having to spend $2 for each phone call to contact customer service about problems with the card, Suze played dumb and acted as though there were no customer service contact fees.
Also in late June 2012, this woman was charged $150 in late fees and had her credit harmed (after already having trouble just activating the card) due to the incompetent Bill Pay system on Suze’s card, which she had also paid fees to use. When the “Approved” card neglects to send payments properly, people like this woman will have to pay $2 for every phone call to customer service to try to sort it out. If they need a copy of the check, that will be $9.95, a check re-issue, $15.00, if there was a postal reject of the payment, $25.00, and to make a payment inquiry, $30.00, all going from customers' pockets into Suze's, which are already filled with tens of millions of dollars from turning her advice into infomercials for various products, corporations, and banks.
That $3 a month fee, which some say is a better monthly fee than for other prepaid cards - "if you use the card how Suze tells you to" - is just the tip of the iceberg of what many have and will be paying for this card. Hiring incompetent workers not only saves Suze money over hiring competent ones, but each act of incompetence - whether mistaken or intentional - sucks more and more fees from consumers fooled into trusting Suze Orman, and puts those fees right into Suze's already-bulging pockets.
Along with receiving percentages from all these fees, every purchase made with her "Approved" card puts interchange fees - which for prepaid debit cards can be much higher than with regulated credit cards - into Suze's pockets. (Someone who knows the financial industry should check to see how the interchange fees charged by Suze's card compare to those charged by other prepaid debit cards, since much of that money is coming from the pockets of small businesses that are already struggling to succeed in the bad economy that Suze contributed to creating.
"The Approved Card" is a deceptive name really, since it would be like saying you are approved to purchase a gift card with your own money and to pay a bunch of fees to do it. You also cannot use this card to "pay at the pump" when you buy gas, or to book a hotel or rent a car. The maximum you can load onto the card is $9000 per month, the maximum you can spend in any day is $2000, and the maximum bill payment for any month is $5000. That's a whole lot of rules, limits, and fees just to use your own money! And the free credit reports cardholders can get from TransUnion during the first year - which are easily available elsewhere for free - will start to cost cardholders $11.95 per month after the first year.
Surely those with such a bad financial history that they cannot get even a Credit Union bank account or a secured credit card that actually does help to build credit are going to be trapped into paying a whole lot of fees into Suze's pockets with this minefield in place. Imagine these poorest of the poor having to pay $25.00 for a postal reject, or $30.00 for payment inquiries. If they ask for cash back when making purchases, they'll be charged an additional $2, and then of course it will be $2 for each customer service call, even to iron out the many problems with the card's service that have already generated complaints, or for duped customers to try to find out why they are being charged these exorbitant fees. The Approved Card fee page doesn't even explain what these charges mean - something you might expect to find from a supposedly trustworthy financial educator.
"I'll tell you the sources of my income - everything I do is a source of income to me."
- Suze Orman, Chicago Tribune
By exploiting those who are not financially savvy enough to see through her twisted labyrinths of words enough to avoid entering her prepaid card minefield of fees, Suze may as well be breaking into the homes of the poorest people in the country and stealing money out of their wallets, just as she says she used to steal money on a regular basis from her father’s wallet beginning at age eight (one sign of a sociopath is, “Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency: Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet "gets by" by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.”)
Suze's childhood and earlier years show some of the sources of her fairly extreme personality aberrations. Suze used to speak to me and others about other problems that have not been publicly mentioned, but here are some examples from the New York Times:
After getting her bakery customers to loan her a whole lot of money, came a long strings of shams, scams, and shenanigans, beginning with Merrill Lynch and including using, abusing, and ripping off me and quite a few others. Without the usual barriers most non-sociopaths would have to lying and taking advantage of people in extreme ways, Suze used and abused people up the ladder, gathering a barrage of behind the scene protectors who had their finger in the "Suze Orman Pie."
Here is another section from the same revealing New York Times article that also shows Suze's ease with blatant lying, not to mention the fact that her father basically committed suicide on Father's Day. I've wondered if it may have been related to how Suze used to, in our conversations, accuse her father of improprieties that she didn't quite remember taking place, but assumed did for some reason - until a psychic told her that they didn't happen. At that point, Suze told me that she decided that nothing had probably happened along those lines, in spite of her previous, fairly intense accusations about him, which made me wonder if her father's Father's Day suicide was a response to that.
Below, you will find further examples of Suze's behavioral problems.
Taking advantage of the "Occupy" Movement:
Suze also tried to take advantage of the "Occupy" movement, painting her mediocre, fee-laden prepaid debit card that is not advisable for most people as a great altruistic movement, even going so far as to call it her "People First" movement.
Here is one example of Suze praising the Occupy movement while pitching her card to them, from a January 2012 interview with Good Business:
All of Suze's altruistic BS here is about a crummy, fee-laden prepaid debit card for which Suze has partnered with US Bancorp, the fifth largest bank in the United States. So, even though Suze is saying, "If you want to keep your money in big banks, if you want to continue to get fees..." it is one more example of Suze's sociopathic technique of criticizing exactly what she herself is doing.
Here, she is offering a solution that is ten times worse than the problem. People who buy Suze's card will actually be keeping their money in one of the biggest banks, and are likely to be paying a lot more in Suze-pocketed fees -- 20 of them, ranging from $1 to $30 a pop, plus nearly five dollars just to load a received check onto the card, unless you already have another bank account to transfer it from, many more fees than they would pay for a proper bank account, certainly more than any credit union. How ridiculous, and yet, Suze took this schlock onto the most popular shows of our day, and even onto poverty panels that were supposedly offered to help rather than rip off the poor. It is no wonder over a hundred financial journalists, from top to bottom, finally bucked the Suze Orman fear factor to write articles warning consumers about her card.
Now we get to the Suze shenanigans set-up, as one of many examples of how anything Suze praises can usually be traced to some benefit to her pocketbook. Just a few months before announcing and releasing her "Approved" prepaid debit card, Suze "coincidently" wrote a big article for her friend Arianna's Huffington Post praising the Occupy movement with a title that said, "Occupy Wall Street: Approved!" which was forwarded thousands of times through social media, like a free pre-ad for Suze's upcoming card, served like a steaming platter of crap to the readers of Huffington Post, which would soon be receiving further infomercials about Suze's card, hosted by Arianna herself.
The set-up of Suze "approving" the Occupy movement in order to plunder them a few month's later with her "approved" card is quite clear in Suze's quote from the interview above, where Suze says that she created the "Approved" card specifically for the 99% Occupy movement, so they could move all of their money out of the banking system and onto Suze's fee-laden card, which is run by. . . one of the biggest banks! Sounds like -- at minimum -- false advertising to me.
(As an aside, the Credit Union Industry was quite tiffed to see Suze pushing people toward such a crummy financial product when most US citizens would be able to get a free account at their local Credit Union. Just before Suze's prepaid debit card blitz, the National Association of Federal Credit Unions had paid Suze around one and a half million dollars to be the face of Credit Unions, many of which plastered this sociopath's bared teeth in their literature and physical banks. But when one "price for advice" contract is over for Suze Orman, her advice is once again up for grabs by whoever and whatever will put more money into her bulging pockets, so just months after telling people to leave their banks for Credit Unions, Suze was now using her undeserved clout to tell people to leave their banks and put their money into a card that she pretended wasn't owned by the biggest bank with a big siphon going into Suze's pockets.)
The bank behind Suze's "Approved" prepaid card, according to Wikipedia, is "the parent company of U.S. Bank, the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States, based on $341 billion in assets and fourth largest in total branches." So what Suze is basically asking you to do, dear Occupy movement, is to move your money out of your free bank or credit union account and onto her card, which is just another bank account, but one that will funnel untold amounts of wealth from monthly fees and a minefield of other fees into Suze's greedy hands. Here is the heading of Suze's setup on the Huffington Post for her "plunder the occupy movement" fraudulent scam.
As a side note, the information in the Huffington Post article, as with most of Suze's books and articles, sounds nothing like Suze's speaking style or her nearly illiterate Twitter postings or personal email messages - it is certainly not an article written by someone who brags that she never received better than a "C" in a single college course, whose Twitter and email messages (the ones she write herself) show a serious lack of writing, spelling, and grammer quality, and who admitted to her first agent that she didn't know how to write, to which Binky Urban said, "Great. Finally an author who knows she can't write," which sounds like the setting of the stage to create a pseudo-expert pseudo-writer with hypnotic eyes. This "Occupy Wall Street: Approved!" article was most likely written by one or more of those who support the Suze Orman sham from behind the scenes, like this person was asked to do, and with a whole lot of confidentiality agreements in place.
People supporting the Occupy movement were so happy to see someone with Suze's influence supporting their efforts that thousands more posted, tweeted, and forwarded the article with a positive implicit endorsement of Suze Orman herself. That was the plan, after all. The PR publicist for this card was none other than famed political lobbyist, BP Oil spill protector, gay rights activist, Hilary Rosen, who is surely proficient with planting stories and spreading them through social media.
I have somewhat of a knack for seeing Suze's BS scenarios, having experienced them all too up close and personal, so I could tell this Occupy support article in October 2011 must be one more setup for something that would benefit Suze's pocketbook, although I wasn't sure exactly how Suze's professed support for the "Occupy" movement would fit into her next product offering. Hopefully one day a journalist will go through the archives of these news flurry headlines by and about Suze Orman, and look into the various correlations of the headlines with her products and massive number of paid endorsements, as well as deals that fizzled out, as did Suze's recent newsletter shenanigans. Once you realize that Suze's entire career is built on scam upon scam, it is easier to play, "Find the Suze Orman Scams." You can start by looking for headlines such as, "don't spend your stimulus check," "Suze Orman predicts breadlines," and the mantra she has used to generate more fear and media coverage for her books during the past year and a half, with Suze declaring over and over in many media venues, including Forbes, CNN, and Morning Joe on MSNBC, that, "The American dream is dead." On Suze's Twitter feed, you can see that whenever links to negative articles about Suze Orman show up, they are often followed with flurries of paid-for pseudo-tweets that have posted the same few Suze quotes thousands of times.
Three months before releasing her "Approved" card, Suze's PR team, headed by Hilary Rosen, obviously made sure her Huffington Post "Occupy Wall Street: Approved" article - which "coincidentally" includes the name of Suze's upcoming not-yet-announced prepaid debit card to implant a subliminal positive feeling toward the card by those supportive of the Occupy movement - would flood the news media with tens of thousands of mentions.
Several months later, Arianna gave Suze "infomercialesque" space to pitch her prepaid debit card scam and thereby fool and plunder Huffington Post readers. I think an examination of the behind-the-scenes alliances of any media figures who chose to give Suze infomercial space to fool their audiences with her prepaid debit card scam might help bring forth some views into why and how some of the media has become corrupt.
Note: Suze and her partner (in crime), K.T., Kathy Travis, who arranges Suze's many deals and has major business connections in Southeast Asia, have already set the stage to take Suze's prepaid debit card scam to the Philippines and other countries with another campaign of tainted advice shenanigans.
Hilary Rosen's PR campaign to rebrand Suze as a gay rights activist
It's really not hard to see all these shenanigans once you know to look. Suze's PR protector, Hilary Rosen, herself a gay rights activist, is clearly behind a more recent publicity campaign to rebrand Suze as a gay rights activist, in what looks like one more attempt to cover up all the bad press from Suze's 2012 prepaid debit card scam and all the other ways Suze has plundered the public and the economy over these years. Here is Hilary Rosen's tweet giving Suze credit immediately after the Supreme Court overturned DOMA, as I expected she would:
Two days after DOMA was struck down by the Supreme Court, a pre-conducted "gay activist Suze Orman" interview appeared on Huffington Post, titled, "Suze Orman Talks Gay Pride, Giving Advice to Gay Teens, and Her Love for Ellen." Clearly the idea of Suze's PR team was to connect Suze with a beloved gay woman such as Ellen, although I've heard that Ellen is not much of a fan of Suze, after having her on the Ellen Show once where Suze was, as usual, rude and condescending to Ellen's audience.
These Shenanigans Have Been Going On For a Long Time
Suze's 2012 prepaid debit card misinformation campaign is not the first of her long list of questionable advice to draw criticism, although it certainly has the potential to be the most profitable to her.
Some of Suze's earlier scamming behavior was documented in a Chicago Tribune 2004 article and other 2004 articles regarding ethical criticisms about Suze's television commercials where she recommended that purchasing a brand new GM car was a good investment. Suze is not a financial investment advisor, nor a journalist, and therefore thinks that she does not have to follow the integrity rules and guidelines of either profession. Suze claims to be a celebrity, which allows her to use her name to fool and plunder the public, who assumes that she is both an accredited financial advisor and a trustworthy journalist.
(CLICK HERE to watch Suze's GM "Lock 'n' Roll" commercial.)
An excerpt from the Chicago Tribune article:
Orman bridles at the contention that the ads compromised her integrity. They were, she says, just another way to provide people with financial advice. Besides, she's not journalist.
"I have now become a celebrity," she said. "Whether the reporters who have bashed me for years want to believe it, Suze Orman has become ... somebody that America has embraced." And, as such, she says she should be held to the same standard as other celebrities who endorse products...
Nor is there any doubt that CNBC is usually scrupulous when it comes to ethical guidelines. Every financial professional who appears on the cable network's daytime shows is required to disclose interests in any company they may discuss, including holdings by family members.
Employees are under stricter guidelines - reporters and correspondents are barred from holding individual securities, lest the prospect of personal enrichment influence their coverage.
"It raised a lot of eyebrows around here when we first saw the GM commercials," said one CNBC staffer. "Clearly it's not something that in general we would be able to do."
The guidelines do not apply to Orman, explained CNBC spokeswoman Amy Zelvin, because Orman owns her show, and CNBC pays her a license fee to air it.
"Suze Orman appears on CNBC as an expert commentator," Zelvin said. "She is not an employee of CNBC and she is not a journalist. As such, she is able and permitted to pursue outside business ventures."
But CNBC's Web site suggests otherwise: Orman is listed as the network's "personal finance editor," a title that suggests both employment and journalistic decision-making.
"I recently resigned from that position," Orman explained. "When all this started with the GM thing, I called up (CNBC Enterprises general manager) Bob Meyers. I said "Bob, this is ridiculous.' I don't do anything as personal finance editor. It was an empty title really. Why even have it?" Orman said she retired the title sometime in late November, and that she had been personal finance editor for about three years.
Zelvin, who expressed surprise when informed of the title, said: "We should have been clearer that she's a commentator and not a journalist." (At press time, CNBC's Web site still identified Orman as personal finance editor on the site's "Anchors and Reporters" page.)
The GM deal is not the first Orman product promotion.
Among the dozens of books and self-help kits she sells on her Web site is the Suze Orman FICO Kit, a $49.95 software package that lets purchasers buy their Fair Isaac credit score.
The kit is part of a marketing campaign by the Minneapolis-based financial data firm, which pioneered the practice of reducing consumers' financial behavior to a handy score for lenders and creditors. Orman splits revenue from sales of the kits with Fair Isaac.
Three years ago, Orman briefly sold long-term care policies on QVC and her site. The fact that Orman earned a commission off sales and that the policies were underwritten by a division of General Electric, which owns CNBC, caused a squall of press criticism that led her to abandon the project...
Barbara Lippert, the advertising critic for Adweek, a trade magazine, said Orman is a "hypocrite."
"Suze Orman claims to give uncorrupted advice, yet she's being paid by one of America's largest corporations to flog its brands," she said. "It's a complete conflict of interest."
Orman dismisses such criticism as sour grapes.
"They hate Suze Orman and love to bash me because they're so jealous of my success," she said. "They just cannot understand how it is that I've sold millions of copies of books, I won an Emmy Award this year, my show on CNBC is the highest-rated show on weekends. How is any of that possible? They hate me because I tell people the truth..."
Orman's critics say the biggest problem with her off-camera deals is that she doesn't disclose them on the show.
As a certified financial planner, Orman is required by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, a private industry regulatory body, to disclose her sources of income to clients. That rule applies to one-on-one paid consultations, but not TV shows.
Asked why she doesn't offer a similar disclosure to her viewers, Orman said: "I'll tell you the sources of my income - everything I do is a source of income to me."
CLICK HERE to see another example of Suze's Shenanigans where she uses the Larry King Live show as an infomercial venue to pitch her 50/50 split FICO score kits under the guise of financial advice, complete with what is obviously a planted question from a so-called "viewer." Most people had never even heard of FICO before Suze spent years proclaiming that the FICO score was the most important element to your financial success. Suze and FICO were also the defendants in a successful class action lawsuit against her FICO kit marketing misrepresentations, which have been called a "fraud" by some financial journalists, with creditsuit saying, "The Suze Orman Kit is nothing but a SCAM... Suze Orman makes Ms. Cleo look like a saint."
Suze's Selectquote ads that ran nearly hourly on CNN from January through June of 2012 join the long list as one more recent example of the very long list of distorting loyalties Suze has had to kowtow to when giving advice - in this case about life insurance - that significantly affects the most important decisions of people's lives, as well as large streams of the U.S. economy. Life insurance professionals have been concerned about Suze's pitches for SelectQuote since at least 2007. And while Suze's been raking in the dough with a long list of endorsements, prepaid debit cards, TD Ameritrade accounts, FICO kits, Money Navigator Newsletters, GM car ads, and other shenanigans that have put tens of millions of dollars into Suze's bulging pockets, the US economy and individual finances have plummeted. If you think that Suze is a good person whose interest has been for the well being of individuals and society, you may not have been paying attention. The links in this article offer a good opportunity to catch up.
Click here to watch one of the many ads of Suze pitching SelectQuote that played incessantly on CNN for the first six months of 2012, at the same time that CNN shows were pushing the Suze Orman prepaid debit card scam. All traces have been removed from YouTube and the SelectQuote website to the extent that one might think that they dreamed that whole massive, nonstop Suze Orman SelectQuote campaign, but I saved a couple clips that give the general, unsavory flavor.
Here is one thread that gives a peek into Suze Orman's web of lies and behind the scenes media influence, with evidence of bad press for her old shenanigans being removed and re-edited as she moves on to new ones. This is one reason I have felt obliged to preserve and present the information here.
In 2012, a number of articles were deleted or rewritten - even years after they were published, almost certainly the work of Suze's PR team, which at the time was working very hard to squelch the loads of bad press from financial journalists warning consumers about Suze's "Approved" prepaid debit card scam.
I had included a link in this article, on the word "revengeful," to a Portfolio article from 2009 titled, "Seriously Do Not Mess with Suze Orman." That link was accurate and accessible in early 2012, but several months later, just as Suze's PR team was in full overdrive trying to cover up all the negative press about her prepaid debit card, I clicked on the same link, and -- lo and behold -- this three year-old article that was quite critical of Suze's revengeful ways was -- three years after it was published, in June of 2012 -- edited to instead sound like an article of praise!
- Here is the text from the original version of the 2009 article that I had originally linked to - the one that was critical of Suze's revengeful admissions - before the text was edited. This version is no longer accessible online.
- Here is the page as it reads today, having been re-edited to remove all the critical commentary. The article seems to have been changed around the time of Portfolio magazine's recent rebranding as Upstart Business Journal in June 2012 - three years after the article was first published. The critical article linked to in the article has also been removed from what is now the Slate website.
Also note that Felix Salmon from Reuters, who is quoted in both versions of the article as sticking up for Suze, who has defended Suze from criticism in the past, and who now erroneously appears to be the source of Suze's quote in the current version of the above article, has subsequently written a number of articles critical of Suze's prepaid card's deceptive marketing, and "bad" money navigator newsletter fiascos of 2012.
Another page I had linked to in this article from Businessweek January 18th, titled, "Suze Orman: Debit Card Dealer," was also edited at the end of June 2012, to remove an unflattering photo with Suze's quote, "I am the financial expert of the world," the subtitle, "The money guru introduces her first financial product-and vexes some fans," and all twenty-six of the comments. The June 22 cache still shows the unflattering photo, quote, and comments, but the current version has neither. Who is making sure all these websites change their negative articles to positive ones? The original article was published in mid-January, so six months after the article was published, the unflattering photo, quote, and critical comments were removed. Fortunately, knowing how Suze's scams and cover-ups work, I saved copies of many of these articles.
- Here is the original version of page one of the Bloomberg Businessweek article that includes the photo, quote, subtitle, and comments, which I fortunately had saved. This is what the article looked like at least until June 22, 2012.
- Here is the page as it reads on June 26 2012, with no photo, subtitle, quote, or comments - it was re-edited from a generally critical article into a generally positive Suze puff piece during the last week in June 2012, around the same time the 2009 Portfolio article above was re-edited - in this case, the article was reedited six months after the article was first published. In June 2012, the title was still, "Suze Orman: Debit Card Dealer," however many months beyond those initial changes, further edits were made to this article, including changing the title to "Suze Orman Dismisses Criticism as TV Host Defends Prepaid Card," an example of history being re-written to protect a con artist who is plundering individuals and harming the economy that Bloomberg is supposed to be protecting with honest journalism.
It certainly looks as though someone is working hard to make sure the evidence of Suze's scams is being altered, edited, and expunged from the public media record. It is probably worthy to note that Suze's PR representative, at least during the 2012 launch of Suze's Prepaid Debit Card misinformation campaign, has been BP oil spill publicist Hilary Rosen. I expect that other articles I've linked to have or will also be removed or edited as time goes on, so if you see any more examples of removed or re-edited links in this presentation, please let me know, and I'll add them to the cover up list.
I had also linked to an article titled, "Ten Reasons Why Suze Orman is Not Qualified To Discuss Finance and Money," which also disappeared after I linked to it. A response article sticking up for Suze is still online, and through that you can see some of the criticisms from the original, now deleted article: "Ten Reasons Why Suze Orman is Qualified To Discuss Finance and Money." Note that Megan Cook, who wrote the defending article, states that Suze has a current Certified Financial Planner license and uses that fact to defend Suze against numerous criticisms. However, Suze does not have a current CFP license, as you can see by searching for Suze Orman in the CFP Board database.
I'm sure there are many such deletions and changes; I just happened to notice these while doing some small edits on this article.
I also remember seeing an article about Suze on her friend Arianna's Huffington post several years ago that had hundreds of comments that called Suze out on many of the problems you can see in this article - some were informative, some humorous, but almost all of them contributed something worthwhile to the conversation. Reading through those comments gave me a light of hope that other readers might finally discover the truth about Suze Orman, but within a day, almost every one of those hundreds of critical comments were deleted by Huffington Post editors.
At least now when I see Suze's ever-flowing stream of scams, I have a place to post them - it would be great if those journalists and officials entrusted with protecting individuals and society would take notice, take responsibility, and help to end the Suze Orman scams and other problematic effects of her extreme influence in today's society. Then we won't have a situation where journalists have to use April Fools satire to make important points about the Suze Orman problems without fear of repercussions.
This prepaid card event gives a current and clear glimpse into several aspects of the Suze Orman problem - including her attempts to fool and plunder especially the poor and less financially savvy at this fragile time in the US and world economy.
In my observation, through her extreme influence, irresponsibility, and greed for endless endorsement income and more, Suze has figuratively raped the country and the economy just as much as Bernie Madoff, but while Bernie Madoff stole from people who had a lot of money, Suze Orman has been plundering the poor.
I do look forward to a day when Suze is gone from the public consciousness, whether by choice or otherwise, so our country and world can move forward with a more conscious and less abrasive and problematic approach to finance and life choices - one that includes intelligence, kindness, and respect for each other and for ourselves. Personally, I think that Suze has been one of the most harmful influences over the past decade-plus.
Lessons must be learned so that people can be protected from other predators, and so society can begin to surgically remove the improper teachings, attitudes, and examples that have entered the social and economic fabric due to Suze's undue influence, distorted views, and generally immoral character. This would be a great time for Suze to relax, enjoy her accumulated wealth, close up shop, and finally go fishing.
The prepaid debit card fiasco began with the press release Suze and her advisors sent out announcing the card with the title: "Suze Orman Launches a Financial Revolution," in spite of the fact that she was just advertising another fee-laden Bankcorp Bank Celebrity prepaid debit card that does absolutely nothing to help its users improve their credit score, contrary to Suze's latest misinformation campaign.
Credit expert John Ulzheimer joined other credit experts in explaining that prepaid cards, "are generally believed to be among the worst financial services products." Some finance experts have compared them to payday loans. Prepaid cards are certainly not revolutionary, nor would one expect an honest financial advisor to recommend prepaid cards as a general option, except in the most dire circumstances. Most people can get accounts with credit unions or online banks that don't charge any fees. Aside from Credit Unions that are generally open to giving free accounts, here is a list of ten free bank-owned checking accounts from Reuters. Some even give a bonus for signing up.
If someone absolutely wants to have a prepaid debit card for whatever reason, the American Express prepaid debit card has no purchase fee, no monthly fees, no card loading fees, and only one optional fee for extra use of ATMs. Everything else, unlike Suze's long list of twenty fees, is included for free. The American Express card also offers a program that allows some who use their card in a responsible way to possibly move up to an American Express charge card, which would do more to help establish someone's FICO score than to pay all those fees into Suze’s "wait and see" TransUnion experiment mirage. Prepaid debit cards are not recommended for most people's circumstances, but if a "financial expert" were to recommend one, the Amex card is arguably a better option than Suze's "Approved" card.
Instead, this is how Suze responded in an interview with Tess Vigeland at Marketplace (the audio file of the radio interview has since been removed by Marketplace, but you can play some relevent sections in this presentation), calling another respected journalist from CardHub an idiot and disputing the fact that the American Express prepaid card only has one fee, which is a $2 fee for ATM uses beyond one per month. Suze certainly must have known this was true, since the AMEX card is probably her main competition. Suze may be sociopathic, but she is not stupid enough not to research her main competition - and if there were any other fees for the AMEX card, she would surely have described them. (click here or the arrow to play):
Suze's response to this question by Tess Vigeland at Marketplace was outright fraud. It was so off the wall that it prompted Reuters journalist Felix Salmon, who years ago wrote an article defending Suze from criticism, to now write one on Suze Orman's Conflicts. Salmon says:
"It’s worth listening to that answer, rather than just reading it: she spits it out. There is. No. Way. Amex. Has. Just. One. Fee.
Except, there is a way that Amex has just one fee. See for yourself. It’s a reasonably big fee: $2 per ATM withdrawal, with no free ATMs. But it really is the only fee that Amex has — you can delve as deep into the terms and conditions as you like, and you’re not going to find another one."
From Personal Finance Blogger Kevin McKee: Suze Orman's Card is Not Approved By Me:
The slightest intelligent glance unravels Suze's whole prepaid card scam so easily that even financial journalists and bloggers who have been remarkably silent about Suze's prior shenanigans had to speak up, in the form of more than 200 critical articles, from personal finance bloggers to top journalists, warnings that were all but covered up by Suze's massive PR blitz for the card, headed by BP Oil spill publicist, Hilary Rosen.
If Suze's big, holy, "we're making history" mission to get FICO to use debit cards for credit scores was anywhere near honest, it would make much more sense to get them to look at the activity of people who are already using established prepaid debit cards that don't funnel money directly into the pockets of Suze Orman. Regardless, FICO has already said they are not interested.
This next video clip shows Suze’s blatantly deceptive response, spoken like a lying child who just got caught with her hand in the cookie jar, as she answers Piers Morgan's softball questions about her prepaid debit card that had already been panned by respected finance journalists from top to bottom. Several journalists had alerted Piers and his staff to the problems with Suze's card before this interview. Piers asks what sound like tough questions, but then lets Suze slide with little more than pretending to be altruistic and saying, "Trust me."
It appears that Piers was well rewarded for allowing Suze
to take advantage of people through his show:
Suze is the only person I've personally known who lies with more sincerity and easefulness than when telling the truth; she weaves webs of falsehood that could teach renowned liars such as Casey Anthony a thing or two. Suze's BS prowess is all too visible in the way she pushed her prepaid debit card with webs of manipulative, trap-filled, emphatically-delivered assertions.
I'm not suggesting that Suze has not offered any advice or products of value, although as you can see in the section on "Plagiarizing Spiritual Teachings," Suze has liberally claimed as her own spiritual teachings from our mutual guru and other philosophers, and used them to plunder and fool the public, and to fill her own pockets - and as this conversation with her agent and other documentation in this article suggest, Suze doesn't necessarily write the books that bear her name.
Obviously, you are free to agree or disagree with my conclusions, which I share honestly and perhaps a bit bluntly and without apology, except for my sincere apologies for having made the mistake of spending two years helping Suze Orman onto the public stage, in spite of the fact that she had behaved in seriously, sociopathically troubling ways from the day we met. So, as Bernard Shaw suggests, if you can't get rid of a skeleton in your closet, you'd best teach it to dance. I had been preparing an online presentation on this topic for some time, but then Suze pushed the envelope of her usual deceptions and plundering behaviors enough to generate a wealth of media examples of the long-running problems, through the "Suze Orman Prepaid Debit Card Scam of 2012."
This is someone who - as a waitress with zero financial education - talked Merrill Lynch into hiring her for six months to fill their quotas, before filing a lawsuit against Merrill Lynch that prevented them from firing her (this is based on Suze's own story). Then, somehow, three years later, she magically became "vice-president of investments" at Prudential. Suze has suggested that these companies had to fill women quotas, but certainly there were some other shenanigans involved.
On Suze's deceptions went from Merrill Lynch - including scamming me, while promising extravagant repayments that never came - getting me to use my Hollywood contacts to get her booked on her first two television show appearances, and asking me to use my Emmy-award-winning skills to film, script, produce, and edit a professional video that basically misrepresented Suze's financial knowledge and media experience. This is the video that helped Suze get her first well-connected publisher after her book proposal had already been turned down by over thirty publishers. And the rest has been a very troubling history.
One significant point to note, especially while looking at Suze launching a new prepaid debit card in 2012, is that Suze is planning to completely close up shop in 2014, taking these tens of millions of dollars with her, and leaving all the damaged mess she has created behind:
Click here to listen to Suze talking about how she is going to retire and go fishing from an interview with Tess Vigeland.
Three years before "going fishing," along came the Suze Orman Prepaid Debit Card Fiasco of 2012, with a ridiculous "experiment" with TransUnion that is clearly intended to give Suze a chance to carefully twist words to make the poor and uneducated think that moving their money from solid bank accounts onto her fee-laden purple card is going to help their FICO scores, a BS con that most experts know is a bunch of Suze Orman hogwash. As if the poor should be paying for Suze's ridiculous experiment, anyway. Suze's BS TransUnion "experiment" would be ending, as Suze says, in two years - just as Suze is packing her bags and saying, "See ya suckers!"
Some may disagree with my conclusions, but when I see Suze actually saying something that sounds like she cares about the well-being of people in poverty, or students, or the Occupy movement, it looks to me – based on my personal and periphery observations – like she is putting forth these proclamations mainly to generate publicity to bolster her influence in society (as one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2008 and 2009!), an extreme influence that allows her to demand a bigger paycheck for representing a long list of corporations, financial institutions, products, and more, as well as giving herself more credibility so millions more will flock out to buy her books and products. Whether in person or on television, I've yet to see anything remotely resembling sincere compassionate care for anyone from Suze, and I'm far from the only one who has seen through this particular empress's sparse but dirty, and in my opinion, sociopathic clothes.
Suze’s rampant PR blitzes of big headlines to sell products and up her publicity has led to huge numbers of people walking away from their mortgages, not spending the stimulus checks that were meant to jumpstart the economy in 2008, canceling their newspaper subscriptions, taking vows not to eat in restaurants when the recession left many of them on the brink of closing, and encouraging students to forgo higher education, people not to help friends or relatives, and parents not to help their children with college. After all, Suze made it to success, fame and fortune while never getting a single grade above a “C,” as she likes to brag. And as Suze says in this QVC clip, with slick oil salesman panache, if she can do it, you can reach into your pocket and buy her latest "sexy" silver box, which is apparently better than the blue or green boxes the QVC audience may have previously purchased.
I apologize for what has come to be a fairly long and cumbersome page to get through, but this is a big web of lies to unravel, filled with lessons for those who were fooled as well as for those who were not fooled by Suze's shenanigans. Surely those who have spent many hours watching Suze attack people on her show would do well to give a bit of time to consider whose advice you are trusting.
This article kept expanding as Suze's 2012 fiascos brought forth more and more well-documented media examples of the points that needed to be made, and the presentation certainly could have been much longer. In spite of my lack of expertise in writing this kind of article and some repetition here and there, I hope the information I've gathered and presented will make its point.
A few more links:
- Watch the QVC clip “I never got above a 'C,' so you should buy my box"
- Telling people to walk away from mortgages, even if they have money to pay their obligations
- Commanding people, regardless of their economic circumstances, to NOT spend the stimulus check that was being sent to nearly every American in 2008 as part of a bipartisan attempt to jumpstart and protect the economy from the recessions that followed this "Economic Stimulus Act of 2008." The failure of this stimulus check program was soon after followed by Time Magazine’s profile of Suze as “The Queen of the Crisis,” where she bragged about how her business was booming.
- Asking Oprah’s millions of viewers to take an actual pledge not to go to restaurants for a month all at once, at a time when the restaurant industry was already on the edge.
- Telling people that buying a brand new car is suddenly a good idea when she is paid to say it.
- Telling her flock that milk is a smart investment because she always wanted to be in a milk mustache commercial.
- Suze's Selectquote commercials ran on CNN/HLN stations practically hourly from January through June of 2012. Suze released her prepaid debit card in January 2012, with promotional segments for the "Approved" card that included Suze's shifty twisted infomercial spiel disguised as news on various CNN shows, including John King and Piers Morgan.
- Buy shoes!
And on and on...
It is difficult for nonsociopathic people to understand how sociopaths think - it took me far too long to see the extent of the problem, considering all the signs of Suze's seriously troubling behavior from the day we met. This mistake has brought an ongoing source of regret over the years since, as I've watched Suze causing all kinds of damage to individuals, society, and the economy - such as watching her fill the media landscape regularly with bold, often irresponsible, often fear mongering headline proclamations for the purpose of creating buzz to sell more of her never-ending line of books and other products (that she takes credit for writing and creating, but sometimes claims later that she had nothing to do with, like the Suze Orman Money Navigator Newsletter fiasco of 2011-2012). It is no coincidence that Time Magazine has dubbed Suze Orman, "Queen of the Crisis."
I saw in the early 1990s that Suze looked at people in her social circles as little more than pawns in her games, and now she plays the same games with the masses, using each downturn, disaster, and other social issue - not to see how she might be helpful - but solely in terms of how it can benefit her bottom line and give her opportunities to snare more people with scare tactics, shaming, and other unscrupulous methods. Once you understand this, the Suze Orman problems are much easier to see, although nearly everyone I know, along with tens of thousands of intelligent financial experts and others who have commented on related articles over the years, have been able to see Suze's deceptions and other issues quite easily.
Personally, I would be perfectly content to watch Suze sail off into the sunset on her yacht without having to face legal or other consequences that I do think she nonetheless deserves for the damage she has caused, with several examples in this article that should certainly alert those regulators who are entrusted with protecting consumers and the economy from fraud. (Update - In late May, 2012, after I first wrote this article, came one sign of progress: President Obama's new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) opened an investigation with the intent to regulate prepaid debit cards, to help protect consumers from such things.) As Richard Cordray, head of the CFPB, said in a hearing on the matter in May 2012, "The people who use prepaid cards are, in many instances, the most vulnerable among us. Every dollar they pay in hidden fees is a dollar they cannot spend on supporting their families."
Personally, I am not concerned about Suze receiving any retribution, except as necessary to help stop her from causing more damage than she has already caused to individuals, society, and the economy, and as needed to make people rethink the many problematic memes she has spread. This damage seriously outweighs the fact that some people may have balanced their budgets using some of her products and the basic, probably mostly ghostwritten financial information that many financial experts have claimed is often wrong, and which fluctuates back and forth from one media blitz headline to another often conflicting one - but which is certainly always motivated toward supporting all the deals Suze has made with corporations and banks up and down the board, to take money from the less wealthy and put it into their pockets and into Suze's pockets.
Ryan Mack shows how Suze changed her entire stance from saying she did not recommend prepaid debit cards before launching her own card to actually adding in a positive paragraph about them to the paperback release of The Money Book, timed along with her prepaid debit card release. This is just one more example of the web of scams that is and has been Suze Orman's career from the beginning.
Suze says that she is planning to retire from public life in three years (from November 2011), which is probably just another of her web of lies, but either way, the world can't handle three more years of Suze Orman trying to plunder the poor and uneducated, along with her other personal profit motivated shenanigans, with many examples in the links and video clips below, and the overall sham of her so-called "expert" credentials. Anyone who reads this article and clicks on some of the many links, which each lead to fairly clear examples from the news media and Suze’s own words, will have enough puzzle pieces to agree - minimally - that this is not someone who should be in a position of extreme, trusted, lifestyle and economic influence in today’s society.
Nevertheless, this sociopathically confident "expert" has been named as one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world in two recent years, and named as the eighteenth most influential woman in media by Forbes. Suze has been directing the lifestyle choices and income streams of at minimum tens of millions of people in the United States and around the world, including Oprah's large and generally obedient flock, as she's tossed around her distorted, money-obsessed, sociopathic whims and corporate-sponsored advice, causing a great deal of damage to the social fabric, the economy, and many individual lives. Obviously some of the general financial advice Suze gives may be useful for some individuals, but that little stream of useful information has come with a flood of problems that have now been causing widespread damage for the past fifteen years.
Even before Suze's 2012 prepaid card fiasco, I felt pressured by personal responsibility, outer observations, and inner guidance to warn people about these problems, which have become more alarming year after year. I started to write an article with information that people who are making choices based on Suze's whims and dictates deserve to have, knowing that some readers might project some sort of anger or revenge on my effort, aware that being misunderstood by some could be a sacrifice I'd have to make. It is not about revenge or even unforgiveness, but dharma (right action) and personal responsibility.
Over these years I have had many positive film, book, music, and website projects to focus on, and didn't really want to spend precious time bringing Suze Orman's blather and negative energy into my home or consciousness. However, for way too many years, she has been unavoidable for anyone who partakes of any media information, and again and again I'd come face to face with this scoundrel who was fooling, distorting, and contributing to plundering the world. Pretty much every time I've seen Suze on TV or read her articles (the ones where she is interviewed, not the ones others help to compose), she has said something alarming that I felt some journalist should have spoken up about. Like most people I know, my inclination is to quickly change the channel when Suze comes on screen, so prior to 2012, I was trying to write an article about this problem using whatever little bits of examples I could piece together, also striving to keep my state of mind, heart, and soul pure of negative thoughts and feelings in spite of feeling obliged to speak up with a critical article like this.
In January, 2012, Suze ended up helping me to accomplish this well-documented article by going so far in her greedy deceptions that the financial media at least saw with unison and clarity at least one of Suze's greedy shenanigans. Finally, in spite of all the possible repercussions they might face, the financial media finally spoke up, loud and clear, in January and February of 2012, with over two-hundred articles warning people about Suze's card, although a shockingly obvious media blitz followed to cover up the warnings - and someone should really look into the background shenanigans that caused certain supposedly trustworthy journalists to become scammy infomercial salespeople.
One might assume that Suze hired the same woman who has been representing BP after the Gulf oil spill to represent her prepaid debit card, because she knew that any finance journalist worth their salt would have to be critical of an influential financial advisor telling her trusting flock to move their money out of banks and on to her fee-laden prepaid card. Honest journalists had to speak up about this mediocre to poor product and many also mentioned Suze's deceptive and unethical misinformation campaign that came with it, obviously intended (and successful) in fooling especially the poor and uneducated into stepping onto Suze's landmine of prepaid card fees, thinking it was going to do anything to improve their credit scores. Unless a journalist was afraid of generating wrath from Suze and her supporters, he or she would have to speak up to protect people from being scammed, and to keep Suze from taking a destructive axe to the economy by possibly convincing millions to move their money out of the banking system and onto her purple card.
Even though most of the 200+ articles critical of Suze's prepaid debit card are barely a memory just two months down the road, the "Suze Orman Prepaid Debit Card Fiasco of 2012" has produced a wealth of current, multimedia examples that clearly illustrate many of the points I was wanting to make in my original article, including Suze's deception-propagating media appearances, PR machine cover-ups, quid pro quos, outright lies, and over 200 articles critical of Suze's prepaid card and the misinformation campaign that went along with it.
It was especially ironic for me to find that Hilary Rosen was pushing Suze's card and has also represented BP after the Gulf oil spill, because when the Gulf oil spill happened, I likened the concerned feeling of waking up every day knowing oil was polluting the Gulf and harming wildlife to how I feel every time I see or remember how the "oil spill" of Suze Orman's extreme influence is polluting the world and harming the economy and the fabric of society. Except I unfortunately played a role in helping to create the Suze Orman oil spill, and at least have an opportunity to try to stem the flow and damage by writing and sharing the information in this article.
The media events surrounding Suze's prepaid debit card scam also give one more tangible example of how the public is being manipulated by corporations, publicists, and the media, for financial greed. My hope is that together, as a worldwide society, we can open our eyes to such things and change direction.
After her card was challenged by finance journalists who were not trying to push her brand, Suze has appeared many times on many shows, mostly on CNN, where the PR person representing her card, Hilary Rosen, is a contributor, and which is currently very frequently showing (and obviously receiving payment to show) a commercial with Suze pushing life insurance for SelectQuote. I can't say what if any behind the scenes arrangements may have been made, but there are times when journalists need to put protecting the public above corporate sponsors.
Suze's prepaid debit card "financial revolution" came with an extensive misinformation campaign that was focused in part on convincing the poor and uneducated that her card was going to have only a few fees "if you use it like I tell you to," and fooling the poor and uneducated with carefully crafted presentations into thinking that getting Suze's purple card would help anyone to improve those FICO scores that Suze's been describing for years as one of the most important things in life, while she was giving incorrect information about employers having access to FICO scores, and selling FICO's Suze Orman kits, which were putting millions upon millions of dollars into her pockets, and which was successfully sued in a class action lawsuit. Here is one document regarding the settlement - I'm sure a proper investigative or finance journalist could find much more on the FICO part of the Suze Orman problem, which some credit experts have also questioned. (Each of these links lead to examples that indicate Suze's ease with obfuscating the truth in order to put more money into her pockets and the pockets of her corporate supporters.)
In January 2012, Suze began selling her card with all kinds of actual and pseudo-implied connections with TransUnion, who she had previously dismissed as unimportant compared to FICO. Thus we have one of many cases where Suze's various personal-profit motivated, greed-tainted endorsements over the years are in conflict with one another. Anyone who knew Suze before her fame would recognize the similarity of these scams to the webs of deceit she used to propagate in her social and business circles before bringing her deception skills to the world, and once this topic is raised in such a way that allows for people to come forth without fearing various kinds of retribution or stigma, we might just hear some more stories about Suze's past and present behavior.
In the case of this prepaid debit card, Transunion has been going along with Suze's misinformation campaign by issuing only one short and vague response to many questions by finance journalists. Eileen Ambrose said in an article for the Baltimore Sun that "Transunion did not return phone calls seeking information about the pilot program," although she does quote FICO spokesman Anthony A. Sprauve as saying, "In our experience, spending is not actually a great indicator of the thing that the FICO score tries to measure, which is the likelihood you're going to default on a credit bill."
Transunion's one official response, given to a journalist who was less critical about Suze's card than others, was emailed to her with these carefully crafted words: "TransUnion is committed to supporting Suze's efforts to understand the impact of pre-paid card use on an individual's credit health. Our goal is to help Suze understand whether including this data in a consumer's credit report would impact access to credit products." It doesn't say a word about being interested in the research themselves or about any interest in this information from FICO, it is "supporting Suze's efforts," and "helping Suze understand." See the scam?
If its mutually supportive deal with Suze was successful, Transunion was obviously expecting to receive a load of user data for free.
Consumer World founder Edgar Dworsky says:
If Suze is a genius as some claim, she is a diabolical one.
In two recent years, Time Magazine actually put Suze on their list of the one hundred most influential people in the world, with a ridiculous essay explaining Suze's inclusion on that elite and significant list written by Suzy Welch (wife of Suze's buddy GE Chairman and CEO Jack Welch), with hints of the kind of behind-the-scenes deals that have propagated the sham and kept Suze from proper scrutiny for all these years.
Many have already been fooled by Suze's shenanigans, including the 2012 prepaid debit card misinformation campaign that spread widely through social media, and a troubling media-supported publicity wave behind it to cover up the truth and overshadow the 200 or so negative articles that were all but forgotten within a month. Michael Moore should be doing a movie script about this elaborate scam, but instead, he somehow got roped into being part of Suze's misinformation campaign as part of Tavis Smiley's - Suze's biggest cheerleader's - panel on poverty in America. It's almost as intriguing as when Suze Orman - a money-obsessed Hindu-following lesbian - headlined at T.D. Jake's Megafest as a role model to his evangelical Christian followers (not that there's anything wrong with being a Hindu or a lesbian, but there is something wrong with deception and hypocrisy, especially in the name of faith and religion).
Here is Michael's response when I asked why he would endorse Suze's ridiculous prepaid card:
Yes, Michael was "just seated next to her," saying absurd things like, "(Suze's) talking something so revolutionary on that level that she has put her life at risk," yet he claimed to have not endorsed her.
After this bit of Twitter conversation, I used a YouTube video of the panel to create a short clip of the relevant section of the poverty panel from the YouTube video, and sent Michael the link to the above clip, about which he responded: "I'm generally nice to people, but that doesn't me (sic) I endorse their ideas."
To which I responded, "I'm sure it sounded like an endorsement to poor folks attending who tweeted that the card improved credit scores...this is is my 'Roger and Me' - I watched yours, pls read mine." No further response yet from Michael, who you would think would at least take a few minutes to look into a possibility that he was knowingly or unknowingly endorsing something deceptive and harmful to the poor. Perhaps because Suze's appearance at the "poverty panel" was arranged by her well-connected PR protector Hilary Rosen, Michael felt obliged to support her scheme, like Tavis Smiley, who actually came right out and said he would do anything for Suze.
This is one more example of how one person with a lack of integrity can get others covered with the same tar, and Suze has covered a whole lot of media personalities with her tar, just as she did to Michael in this example. In my opinion and experience, Suze is an example of the kind of bad company who influences people to sell out and compromise their integrity.
Here is another example of Suze's bad company influence
from the Hollywood Reporter, January 2012:
Oprah Winfrey Plugs Suze Orman's 'Money Class' With Tricky Tweet
During the OWN class, Suze plugged prepaid debit cards in circumstances where she never would have recommended one if she wasn't pitching her product - one more example of the deceptive practices you can find throughout Suze's years of personally motivated, tainted advice.
In the clip, "Suze Orman Defends Approved Card Against Conflict of Interest," (click to play,) Suze Orman supporter Arianna Huffington gives Suze a platform to further obfuscate her deceptive practices, with Suze, as she often does when in "B.S. mode," (which is most of the time), referring to herself in third person and claiming she won't be pitching the card or discussing any other prepaid debit cards on her CNBC show. Obviously that didn't apply to the "Money Class" clip on OWN.
If Suze and Hilary's prepaid card misinformation campaign had been successful in gathering customers from the Occupy movement, Oprah's minions, and everyone watching Suze's long string of appearances about her prepaid debit card, many of which were hosted by news organizations that one would normally assume are trustworthy, this prepaid debit card scam could have put billions of dollars into Suze's pockets, just as she is about to put up a "gone fishing" sign on her website and retire from public life in three years - conveniently, just around the time her silly TransUnion "experiment" is set to report it's grand findings. This prepaid debit card scam could have filled her pockets, which are already filled with tens of millions in corporate and other deals, and could have caused even more damage to an economy that has already been harmed by Suze's reckless and troubling advice. If you're looking for a wolf in sheep's clothing in today's society and economy, it is Suze Orman (although based on thousands of comments to the recent articles, many can easily see that she is a wolf).
This is not to say that Suze hasn't offered any useful, mostly general or common sense financial advice, but that it has come wrapped in a whole lot of problems, due to Suze's very troubling personal issues, commercially corrupted advice, bad behavioral examples, cold-hearted world views, and lack of integrity - based on my experiences, observations, opinions, and the evidence presented in this article. If Suze were simply sharing useful financial information along with respectfully given opinions - as do Jean Chatzky, Clark Howard, and other media-based financial advisors who I consider to be Suze Ormans without the narcissistic sociopathology - then her effects upon society and the economy would not be as problematic.
Click here to read a list of qualities of a narcissistic sociopath. It could practically serve as Suze Orman's biography. Here is another list of also recognizable qualities.
In this message Suze posted on Facebook two months after all the journalist criticism and receiving many complaints from dissatisfied customers of her prepaid card, you can see an example of how - with sociopathic types like Suze - the more emphatically they say something, the more likely it is that the opposite is in fact true.
As much as this article is about the problems with Suze Orman herself, it is equally about the problems with a media landscape that can turn the overconfidence of a narcissistic sociopath’s delusions of grandeur into extreme public influence and expert status for which she has neither the personal nor professional credentials. "Financial expert Suze Orman" is like the "Truman Show," but the other way around - she has fooled millions.
My preference is to not have to watch or think about Suze more than necessary, however I took some time from other projects in early 2012 to look up some news articles, twitter feeds, relevant links, and YouTube video clips, with clear demonstrations of the problem in every direction. There is more information to be found with just a few investigative journalistic searches - I also have additional info and thoughts about other aspects, but I think this update and the original article give a convincing enough view into several aspects of the Suze Orman problem.
Due to the massive backlash from finance journalists top to bottom in January 2012, Suze's bigger plan to move money out of the banking system and into her pockets didn't work as planned, but she still continued and continues to push, cover-up and mislead through a never-ending run of media interviews and appearances, with various changed stories and carefully chosen lattices of words that were clearly clearly intended to give those who are less financially savvy a false impression that Suze's card will probably only cost them $3 per month, with Suze's carefully composed, oft-repeated magic words that she apparently thinks will save her from fraud charges, "If you use it how I tell you to," and continuing in perhaps 100 or more public and media appearances to deceive people into thinking that her card is doing anything to improve their credit scores, which it is not.
After plan A of getting people with bank and credit union accounts to move their money onto her card by using the unwarranted blind trust Oprah and the media have given her didn't quite work as planned due to the 200-plus articles warning people about her "Approved" card, Suze then started to suggest that her intentions were always for the "Approved" card to serve the under banked who cannot get a bank account or even a secured credit card that actually would help them to build credit - of course these would be the people least able to provide the necessary direct deposit to avoid ATM fees at the 7-11 and a few other stores, and the most likely to be devastatingly plundered by the "Approved" card's minefield of fees.
In spite of her tweaks to her pitch, Suze's initial publicity appearances, including this interview with Good Business, show that she was planning to use the "Occupy" movement to actually pilfer the 99% by moving them out of the banking system and onto her fee-laden prepaid card, thereby upgrading herself from being one of the 1% to perhaps one of the .01%, and perhaps causing more serious damage to the economy than she has already caused with all of her previous self-profit motivated shenanigans. Suze's initial pitch for the card:
When you look at the sampling of evidence presented in this article, beyond her changed stories and tutored statements, Suze's so-called "People First Movement" looks like quite a devious and troubling attempt to actually create a movement of millions and perhaps billions of dollars into her own pockets, through fees from customers and merchants, including a $2 per customer service call fee that has already snagged people who were mistakenly charged other fees, or whose cards were not working properly.
Finally, during the first month and a half of 2012, after many years of all but escaping any intelligent assessment of her actions, over one hundred articles critical of Suze sprang forth, after Suze pushed her BS routine to a whole new potentially disastrous level. Finally, financial journalists from top to bottom spoke up to protect individuals, society, and the economy, and particularly the poor and uneducated, from Suze's exploitive prepaid debit card misinformation campaign, with thousands of intelligent comments on those articles from finance professionals and others, many of whom have seen through the Suze Orman sham for years. You'll find links to many of these critical articles below, and to relevant information and multimedia examples throughout this article.
At the same time that these 100+ articles came forth, Suze's powerful PR machine went into high gear to cover up the truth with around 50 television and other appearances that were clearly intended to fool unsavvy people into thinking Suze's ridiculous rip-off card is a good and responsible financial product that would save them money and improve their credit scores, which is not true, but was pushed with near-religious fervor by Orman and her supporters as some kind of holy roller humanitarian movement. Suze's subsequent media blitz all but obliterated the 200 or so intelligent, critical articles in venues from top media to finance blogs.
Suze has also trying to have herself erased from the Money Navigator Newsletter website that she called her own newsletter since early 2011, running her usual scams and shenanigans and plundering many to fill her own pockets, before making her partner in the newsletter erase every mention of her from the website and other materials, and trying to destroy his reputation with false accusations, even while she continues to collect all the money from the newsletter subscriptions, sending this partner checks for 50%. Suze's ability to erase her previous moves is what has kept her scams running for so many years. That is why I've assembled this presentation. If you click on some of the links throughout this text, you will find clear documentation of the Suze Orman Problems that have been causing harm to individuals, the economy, and society in serious ways.
The Suze Orman Newsletter/Gold Rush Scam:
In 2011, Suze was all over the place giving away free subscriptions to her new Money Navigator Newsletter as a means to get people to buy her books that came with free subscriptions, and to watch her show on OWN that came with free subscriptions.
A year later, as you'll see Suze herself admit in other posts below in 2012, while trying to distance herself from the newsletter after milking it for all it was worth to fill her own pockets, she claimed to have had nothing whatsoever to do with the actual content of this newsletter, because she is not really a financial expert.
Suze had partnered with an actual finance expert who was already running very successful newsletters, and offered him big Suze Orman style promises. Mark Grimaldi was to put tens of thousands of dollars of his own money into creating the newsletter and website, and Suze would use her undeserved clout to get millions of people to sign up, first for free one-year subscriptions, and then for paid ones. Suze even promised the poor fellow that Oprah was planning to put the newsletter on her holiday show's list of "Favorite Things," which was clearly not true, but Grimaldi believed her.
Along with Suze using free gifts of the newsletter to sell tens of thousands of her own products and give her a sheen of expertise, she also took all the money received -- anyone who re-subscribed after their one-year gift subscription ran out would pay the money directly to Suze Orman's company, which would then cut a check to the actual expert doing all the work for 50%, minus "service fees." Not long after the one-year subscriptions were running out, Suze tried to pull the plug, having plundered the expert and his staff sufficiently.
As with most Suze scenarios, the partner's good reputation ended up being all but destroyed, including Suze posting twitter messages claiming that she had nothing to do with the newsletter and that Grimaldi was violating the law by using her name without permission, which is an outright lie intended to harm his reputation and livelihood -- a Suze specialty.
How Grimaldi's newsletter was swept into all the other Suze Scams
On January 21, 2012, right in the midst of the financial journalist community's virtually unanimous condemnation of Suze's "Approved" prepaid debit card and the fraudulent pitches she was using to fool people into thinking her card was a valid financial tool for most people, the Wall Street Journal discovered some discrepancies in the claims of Suze's Money Navigator Newsletter and it's expert, Mark Grimaldi, where the stock mark averages he compared his predictions to in one of the charts were incorrect. Mark Grimaldi said that the problem was mainly a typographical error made by someone who previously worked for the company, and I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt, and either way feel compassion that he became one more victim on Suze’s long list of people she has used, abused, lied about, and hung out to dry. In this case, Mark's newsletter mistake got blown out of proportion due to being swept up in the massive wave of articles published throughout the media landscape during the same time in early 2012, warning consumers about Suze's "Approved" prepaid debit card scam. Here are some of the article links about the newsletter, which for nearly two years, Suze touted as "her" newsletter:
Should Suze Orman’s Newsletter Partner Be Pumping His Ratings? Wall Street Journal
From Covester, The Suze Orman Retirement hedge fund: "It seems that Orman partnered with an existing newsletter provider, whose author/portfolio builder Mark Grimaldi also happens to be the lead manager of the Sector Rotation mutual fund (NAVFX). The monthly newsletter offers a number of model portfolios that subscribers are encouraged to follow in their own brokerage accounts...(an) investment newsletter that encourages her rank-and-file American young woman to put 35% of her retirement savings into junk bonds and a sector rotation fund - run by her newsletter partner - that's heavily invested in leveraged ETFs?" Et tu, Suze?"
Suze pushed "her" Money Navigator Newsletter on television shows, using free subscriptions to the newsletter to sell her Money Class book and to somehow justify with twisted words her prepaid debit card scam. Suze was still pushing "her" money navigator newsletter not too long before she apparently decided she didn't need it anymore, and posted that she had nothing to do with the newsletter, and that her partner was using her name without permission for a newsletter she had nothing to do with (those messages are below), all while Suze continues to receive the subscription monies for the newsletter - one more example of Suze's usual webs of lies.
In 2011, while pitching "her" Money Navigator Newsletter, Suze also went on a big time gold pitching blitz on Twitter and television shows. I wasn't sure exactly why, although it certainly alerted my "Suze scamdar," and ended with her going on and on in social media and on television show appearances, giving people the great Suze advice to buy gold and of course, sending people to buy gold ETFs via her newsletter. With barely a tweet, Suze then jumped out of the market herself, claiming to have reaped great profits from the gold rush, while those who took Suze's emphatically crazed advice on Twitter and television shows to buy gold right away didn't fare as well. All this, with Suze not even having the proper credentials to be legally giving investment advice, because if there's something Suze Orman has learned, it is that she can get away with all kinds of crooked shams, scams, and shenanigans without being brought to justice, at least thus far.
Suze ends her Twitter "Gold Rush" by saying, "I sold my GOLD today only because I had a tremendous gain & had way too much money in GOLD. I do plan to buy some back - I will wait and see...I made a lot of money on it - I am not greedy (HA! -ed.) - hey if I am wrong I will buy back in - I do think it will get to $2100... I am happy with how it turned out."
Here is a "Special Report" on CNBC's website from December 2011, with "important" economic predictions from this person who never took a single financial college course while taking many extra years to get her bachelor's degree in social work. Of course, Suze has behind the scene advisors, but she also has financial motivations behind her advice, as has been seen in so many of the cases linked to in this article.
Here is a scan of part of Suze's predictions in the above article on CNBC for 2012, where she continues to push gold:
Beyond the fact that her prediction was wrong is the self-motivated greed behind it. And for all those who read Suze's proclamation on supposedly trustworthy CNBC and want to find out where they can buy the gold ETFs that Suze recommends, they but have to look at her bio links at the end of the same article:
Uh oh - Look what happened next! All those people who listened to Suze practically begging them to buy gold, but who didn't happen to notice the couple tiny tweets that quickly came and went where she said she sold hers and made huge profits, have lost a whole lot of money, while Suze made off like the bandit she is -- just the way she likes it.
“Gold was destroyed as a safe haven, proved to be unsafe,” Mr. Soros said in an interview last week with The South China Morning Post of Hong Kong. “Because of the disappointment, most people are reducing their holdings of gold.”
...Mr. Norstog, in Pocatello, made a similar mistake. He put his money in a gold fund that was focused on mining company stocks. “If I had to do it all over again, I would have just bought the gold,” Mr. Norstog said. “At least that way I could have run my fingers through the glittering coins.”
And what happened to all those who followed Suze's emphatic, media-blasted advice to buy gold, which she all but guaranteed would go up to $2100 by late 2012?
Here is an excerpt from an article by Felix Salmon of Reuters, a recovered Suze Orman supporter who interviewed her for an article he ended up titling, "Suze Orman's conflicts" in January, 2012, not long after Suze's "media gold rush." In the interview, Suze brags about their ETF for gold going up 5% in a week and a half (not including however much she made from people getting their ETFs through her Money Navigator Newsletter). This was likely the same week and a half where Suze was using her undeserved clout to practically beg people on TV shows and Twitter - as a so-called "trusted" financial advisor - to buy gold ETFs right away. In her quotes, Suze basically admits to running a scam.
Reuters journalist Felix Salmon explains:
From US News:
Perhaps most troubling is an article in The Wall Street Journal by respected financial journalist Jason Zweig. Zweig discussed glaring problems with a newsletter issued by Mark Grimaldi, an investment manager. Orman is a 50 percent owner of the newsletter, which costs $63 a year. She has given away more than 50,000 trial subscriptions. Issues of the newsletter contained a number of errors, which included providing returns for a fund managed by Grimaldi prior to the time the fund was in existence, and understating the performance of the S&P 500 in nine of the 10 years cited. The accurate returns of the S&P 500 meant that Grimaldi’s portfolio trailed—rather than beat—he performance of the index in 2009.
Here is an interview about some of these issues:
I don't know know if these reporting errors could be explained as simpler mistakes, although if the journalists had done a bit more research, they would have found proof that Suze was misrepresenting her own credentials back in 1998 (and well before that, including in the video I mistakenly produced to help get her first publisher, which was deceptive about her financial knowledge and media presence - apologies again to the world for that). Having been all too personally familiar with Suze's use of misinformation campaigns seems to have made it easier for me to see when she is dripping in B.S. and hidden motivations, which is pretty much every time I've seen her in any media, IMHO.
Note: I'm sure there is enough blame to go around regarding these newsletter problems, but it looks like Suze's newsletter partner has become one more in a long list of people who have been used and damaged by their association with Suze:
And wait for it. . . one, two, three. . .
Suze Orman Parts Ways with Newsletter Wall Street Journal
More Suze Shenanigans:
How much money went into Suze's pockets from this scam?
Then, several months later, comes this new message to her flock:
This is one more example of Suze's pattern of using someone, dumping them, leaving them in worse condition than when she found them (which was usually in good condition at the beginning of their association) and then being sure to give some extra kicks after they're down, in hopes that she will leave lasting damage in their lives and careers. Suze made other similar tweets about the "Yield Shark" newsletter that she then deleted, and then ignored all the Money Navigator questions by Twitter followers, some of the 65,000+ fans who had previously followed or purchased her highly touted Money Navigator Newsletter, from which Suze made big bucks. Then Suze went a step further to lie and try to destroy the reputation of her partner, while still receiving money from the newsletter.
Here Suze has done to Mark Grimaldi, and his skilled employees who agreed to offer this newsletter for free for one year per Suze's request, the same thing she did to me and has done to many others who helped her up many ladders throughout her career. Scamming Suze used Mark and his entire team to create a newsletter upon her request, all on their dime and with many Suze-style pseudo promises of all the benefits he would receive after Suze used giving away free subscriptions to the newsletter to bolster sales of her Money Class book (which still offers the free subscription in the new edition), and to fool people into buying her prepaid card, as she used "her" Money Navigator as an example of her altruism in appearances including the "Piers Morgan Suze Orman Approved Card Infomercial."
Just a few months before saying she had nothing to do with this newsletter:
Here, once again, Suze is blatantly lying and trying to destroy Mark’s entire newsletter and reputation, actually accusing him of being a criminal and saying that he has used her name on a newsletter she has absolutely nothing to do with, while SHE is the one still collecting all the money from subscriptions and forwarding 50% of that to Mark Grimaldi. Here are some of Mark's responses:
Mark also posted a scan of a recent payment his Navigator Newsletter received from Suze Orman Media with 50% (minus "service fees" of course) of all the recent payments made by new and renewed subscribers to the Money Navigator newsletter - payments that Suze processed and continues to process, even after falsely publicly claiming to have nothing to do with the Money Navigator newsletter. One more demonstration of how Suze Orman is a habitual liar and scoundrel. And on it goes.
More on the Suze Orman Prepaid Card Misrepresentation Fraud Scam
Watching Suze launch her latest prepaid card misinformation campaign was not a surprise to me, since Suze's career has been based on misinformation from the very beginning. What was more surprising and heartening was to finally see hundreds of finance journalists step up and speak out against Suze's newest, boldest, and most potentially damaging scam.
This media symphony of condemnation came forth due to Suze's troubling issuance of a fee-laden prepaid debit card together with a holy roller misinformation campaign involving a whole lot of emphatic, infomercialesque media appearances, as Suze and those who introduced her and her prepaid card used carefully twisted words and exaggerated rhetoric and inflections to fool mostly poor, financially unsavvy people who aren't so good at reading the fine print.
It is one thing to offer a questionable product when you have the public trust; it is quite another to speak in a way that certainly is fraudulent if not outright fraud, trying to fool people into thinking that her prepaid card would help their FICO scores, when it certainly doesn't now and probably never will.
Here are just a few of the hundred-plus articles that were published in one month, warning people about Suze's prepaid card:
Suze Orman card: Rip-off or righteous? CBS MoneyWatch
Suze Orman, Debit Card Dealer Bloomberg Businessweek
Beware of Suze Orman Card! Fox Business
Suze Orman debit card raises many doubts MarketWatch
Suze Orman’s conflicts Felix Salmon, Reuters
The troubling fine print of Suze Orman's prepaid card John Wasik, Reuters
Has Suze Orman Lost Her Cred? MSN Money
Suze Orman's Cream of the Crap SheBloggs
Suze's Prepaid Card: Can You Afford It? AP, ABC News, Fox, Seattle Times, CBS, etc.
You Don't Need Suze Orman's Prepaid Card Personal Dividends
Suze Orman: Advisor or Pitchman? Consumer World
Suze Orman’s Prepaid Card Will Not Affect Your Credit Score Credit Services Blog
The Approved Card? More like the DIS-Approved Card! Life After College
Suze Orman's Pre-Paid Debit Card Scam Lazy Man and Money
Occupy Suze Orman Edition Sweating the Big Stuff: Spending Wisely
Why Suze Orman's Approved Prepaid Debit Card is Terrible Bargaineering
- Sizing up Suze Orman's New Prepaid Debit Card Credit Sesame
Dear Suze Orman Money After Graduation Blog
The Suze Orman Debit Card - Really? Prime Rates
Stay Away from Suze Orman's Approved Prepaid Debit Card Everything Finance
Even if Suze Orman's Name is on the Card Prepaid Debit Sucks Planting Money Seeds
Suze Orman's prepaid MasterCard: Financial experts do not preapprove New Jersey Newsroom
Suze Orman Releases Prepaid Card. Wait, What? Beating Broke
Suze Orman, Unplugged Echoes From Eden
Suze Orman's New Prepaid Debit Card Time Magazine
Suze Orman's Approved PrePaid Debit Card: Bad for Consumers! The Debt Princess
Why Suze's card won't help you MSN Money
Suze Orman Shows True Colors with Her Approved Prepaid Debit Card Generation X Finance
Suze Orman Prepaid Debit Approved Card: DENIED Girls Just Wanna Have Funds
Pre-paid Debit Card: Is Orman's Evil? CreditSense
Suze Orman's Card is Not Approved by Me Thousandaire
Sorry, Suze Orman's New Prepaid Debit Card Won't Rescue Your Credit Business Insider
Suze Orman: Trading on Trust? Graf Financial Advisors
4 Celebrity Prepaid Cards We’d Rather See Main Street
Suze Orman's New Prepaid Debit Card: The Approved Card Consumerism Commentary
You Don’t Need Suze Orman’s Prepaid Card: Other Ways to Bank Personal Dividends
Experts Slam Suze Orman’s New ‘Credit Building’ Debit Card Think Relief Blog
Is Suze Orman's Approved Prepaid Debit Card Right for You? Make Spend Save Invest
Sizing Up Suze Orman’s New Prepaid Card Smart Money
Suze Orman Not Pre-Approved on Her New Prepaid Card 50 Plus Finance
FBN's Gerri Willis throws shade on Suze Orman 'Cream Of The Crap' Monster and Critics
Suze Orman Loses Her Sh*t on Twitter Nerd Wallet
Suze Orman Teaches You How NOT To Handle Criticism DollarVersity
Quit Calling Me An Idiot Business Insider
Suze Orman, WTF? Cash Flow Mantra
Here is an example of one of very few articles that perpetrated Suze's misinformation campaign. This article was published through the AP to many newspapers and other media. Most have since deleted the articles from their archives, but here it is at Yahoo: "Credit score focus of new celeb-backed debit card." Note that the Suze-friendly journalist goes on and on about FICO in a way that, together with the title, surely gave the false impression that this card is going to up their FICO scores to all but the most financially savvy careful readers. Her biggest criticism of Suze's card seems to be that with the fees so low, how will it ever be profitable? Apparently it hasn't been too profitable, but that's because of warnings in the articles above and many more that kept the numbers of "Approved" card users from exploding based on these fraudulent campaigns.
After these hundred-plus articles critical of her prepaid card were published in blogs and major media venues, Suze's PR machine went into overdrive to find other supposedly trusted shows and news outlets that agreed, for some reason, to give Suze all but unquestioning infomercial-style media space to pitch her card, or to pitch it for her - even after so many generally intelligent articles by financial bloggers and top journalists had been published, detailing very clear problems with the card. I'd imagine there's a behind-the-scenes story to this excessive loyalty shown by some in the media, but in this update and article, I'm mainly focused on the problem with Suze Orman being held up as a trusted and trustworthy person in today's society.
In the case of her "Approved" prepaid card, Suze apparently thought, having already gotten away with so many deceptive shenanigans and misinformation campaigns over the years, that nobody would really look closely at the fact that she was investing a million dollars of her own money and trying to use the 2011 "Occupy movement" in a move that - if Bank of America had kept their $5/month fees and other elements had fallen into place - might have possibly caused millions of people in this country and perhaps ultimately worldwide to move their money out of the banking system and into the "Suze Orman's purple card banking system," possibly causing considerable harm to the economic structures and the banking and Credit Union industries, while putting a whole lot more money into Suze's pockets.
This excerpt from an interview with Good Business shows just one example of Suze's troubling attempt to use the 99% Occupy movement that was born out of our country's financial desperation to fool people into leaving the banking system to help give Suze a big payday:
All of Suze's big "you best join me with this movement, people" revolution is just one more infomercial advertisement for what is really just another usual, crummy, fee-laden prepaid debit card that most experts agree would not be advisable to any but a very small slice of the public who are unable to get even a secured credit card or a free or low cost checking account with a bank or credit union. Even in such rare cases, most experts have said that, although Suze's card is better fee-wise than the Kardashian and other celebrity cards, there are also better and lower cost prepaid card alternatives available than the Suze Orman card, with it's twenty possible fees (three more than the Russell Simmons card and thirteen more than the Lil Wayne card) that include $2 to call customer service, $20 for a check copy, $25 for a postal reject, and $30.00 for a payment inquiry.
Here are the 20 fees in the small print of the Suze Orman "Approved" card
(13 more than the "L'il Wayne card"):
Based on the complaints that have been expressed in social media during the short time since its launch, the card has had quite a few technical problems that are already costing subscribers lots of fees, including multiple customer service calls to try and sort out the card's technical problems.
One blogger tried out the Suze Orman prepaid card herself since she is writing a free e-book to help homeless people with their finances and thought it might be a good option for them. Even with her own financial savvy, Becky was immediately hit with unexpected fees due to problems with the card:
The main people who might need to have a prepaid debit card are those who have made so many financial mistakes that not even a Credit Union will give them a bank account. Of course, these are also the most likely to NOT use this fee-laden card “as Suze told them to use it,” and lose their few dollars right into Suze’s pockets.
Nerdwallet offers a comparison of different prepaid cards, beginning with the US Bank card with an estimated $37 actual cost per year and seven other cards that should be less expensive with general use than Suze's card, which they estimate will cost most users $192/year to use their own money, and that's if they don't require any extra documentation or other requests that could cost up to $30 each on the Approved card.
After the large slew of negative articles about Suze's new approved card, Suze appeared on many shows, with the same journalists that had previously given her a platform of trust now supporting her in projecting with carefully chosen misleading words a false impression that this card is actually going to help people's FICO credit scores right now, with this false impression spreading through social media.
Part of this scam has Suze telling the Occupy people and the poorest, most uneducated people to leave their banks and step into Suze's minefield of fees as they pay more money into Suze's pocket to fund her supposed little TransUnion experiment that appears, based on quotes by TransUnion and FICO, to be little more than smoke and mirrors. Perhaps because Suze has fooled so many people so many times over the years that she thought nobody would notice, or that BP Oil Spill publicist Hilary Rosen would be able to cover up any criticisms that arose.
In fact, this card does not do a whit of good for your credit score, and it is not likely to ever have any impact on your FICO score. From the Baltimore Sun: Credit experts raise doubts on Suze Orman's prepaid card as a credit-scoring tool:
Suzanne Martindale, staff attorney with Consumers Union, says this isn't the only prepaid card that has tried to work with a credit reporting agency to develop a score from prepaid card purchases. "No one has done it yet," said Martindale, adding that she's "skeptical."
FICO, which produces a widely used credit score, also questions the value of the information. Spokesman Anthony A. Sprauve wrote in an email that FICO considers only credit history information on reports from the major bureaus — and spending on prepaid cards isn't part of that. "In our experience, spending is not actually a great indicator of the thing that the FICO score tries to measure, which is the likelihood you're going to default on a credit bill," he said.
Suze Orman’s Prepaid Card Will Not Affect Your Credit Score Credit Card Processing Blog
TransUnion doesn't even claim to be looking at the information from Suze's card for their own interests in determining whether use of a prepaid card can have any predictive factor for credit scores (which experts say it will not). TransUnion finally released a carefully, perhaps deceptively worded statement to the Chicago Tribune:
Orman says she's not sure where this will lead, and TransUnion won't provide much clarity. When I tried to talk with the company, a spokesman merely emailed me: "TransUnion is committed to supporting Suze's efforts to understand the impact of pre-paid card use on an individual's credit health. Our goal is to help Suze understand whether including this data in a consumer's credit report would impact access to credit products."
Even the heading on the approved card website has what feels (to someone who has studied psychology) to be a subconscious misleading flavor, claiming: "The Approved Card is a prepaid card, not a credit card, so you can't get into debt when you use it" I'm sure many people will still be getting into debt while using the card - especially once they start paying the fees, which include Bill payment fee check copy: $20 per transaction, if re-issued, $15; bill payment fee payment inquiry: $30 per transaction, Bill payment postal reject, $25. And if you have to check on or fix a problem made by the Approved Card staff, that will be $2 per call after the first free call of each month.
If Suze's prepaid credit card infomercial in disguise had remained unchallenged and been hugely successful in becoming part of the "Occupy" movement (and she hasn't stopped pushing it yet), this so-called bank in a card could have poured millions, even billions of dollars into Suze's already bulging coffers.
Much of the money filling up Suze's purple card bank would (and does) come from the pockets of the poorest, most financially unsavvy Americans, who would be fooled by her pseudo pitches, pulled away from the banking system, and caught by all of the tricky prepaid card fees that quickly pile up unless, as Suze has stressed in most of her infomercial pitches, people use the card "exactly how I tell you to." Some card purchasers, including finance experts, have already spoken up about being caught by unexpected fees while trying Suze's new prepaid card (some examples below). Suze has recently been promising all over the place that at some nebulous time in the future she plans to eliminate some of the fees on this card, but as someone who received a ton of promises from Suze that turned to crap, I would suggest waiting until the fees are eliminated before looking at whether you want to jump into this card, instead of all the better alternatives out there.
As "Mr. Consumer" writes:
Conspicuously missing from their fee list is the cost to deposit money onto your card at an ATM or in person at a store.
Apparently you can only add money at locations that support either Moneygram or Western Union payments. The cost, they say, is typically $3.00 – $4.95. Whatta deal.
Here is another surprise.
If you only read the headlines about the free TransUnion credit score, report and credit monitoring benefit, you may miss the fact that the service is only free for the first year. After that, if you want to keep it, it is $143.40 a year.
And yet, even after all these articles and more have been published, you can see the spin machine continuing, including Oprah, who is still pushing Suze and this fee-laden prepaid card to her trusting flock!
Twitter message January 18th, after most of the above articles were published:
In this supposed O Magazine article that is not presented as an advertisement, Suze responds to a completely unrelated question with one more infomercial for her card: Should You Cosign a Car Loan for Your Children?
When some bloggers and journalists respectfully questioned Suze about her questionable new card, she called them "losers and idiots," and finally the shell broke enough to allow some light to shine on Suze's facade. These bloggers and top journalists didn't just sulk away or sweep it under the covers as many have. No, they stood up, defended their colleagues, protected consumers from misinformation, and bravely spoke their truth in spite of all the possible repercussions that could have come from invoking the wrath of Suze and her supporters. Apparently Suze has been fooling the public for so long that she thought nobody would notice if she piled a little more greed-motivated BS on top.
“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,
but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” - Albert Einstein
However, finally, thanks to these bloggers and journalists, there is an opening to look at the Suze Orman problem, even while other journalists, major networks, and publications were giving Suze infomercial space under the guise of news or entertainment.
Big time 1-percenter Steve Forbes and his daughter stepped in to give Suze a venue for what sounds like a "Forbes Magazine Infomercial," once you know the information detailed in the above articles.
Click the screen below to play a video clip of Suze on the Nate Berkus show on February 8th, 2012. The whole clip is worth watching to see the ridiculousness that is Suze Orman, so I've included the first couple minutes of the interview before the part where Nate mentions that there has been some criticism of Suze's prepaid debit card. Suze pooh poohs all those criticisms from financial experts, basically saying, "Don't look at the facts or fees, see that shiny purple color?" while tossing some ridiculous platitudes around about how her purple card represents the merging of democrats (blue) and republicans (red), complete with standard choppily edited infomercial audience style applause reminiscent of a skit on Saturday Night Live.
Next is a clip from a student-based show posted on February 17th, long after warnings about her prepaid card had filled the financial media landscape. Note the subtle and also outright deception in what Suze says and what the copy she and her girlfriend/brand manager gave to the young anchor claims about her card - in this case, fooling young students into buying her fee-laden card, claiming that "if you use it how I tell you to," the fees for this card are $3/month, and making all but the most savvy listeners think that her prepaid card will improve their credit scores. In this clip, Suze gets bolder and, along with her previous misleading information about the card, now claims that FICO is a part of her little experiment, which it is not.
From the Baltimore Sun: Credit experts raise doubts on Suze Orman's prepaid card as a credit-scoring tool:
FICO, which produces a widely used credit score, also questions the value of the information. Spokesman Anthony A. Sprauve wrote in an email that FICO considers only credit history information on reports from the major bureaus — and spending on prepaid cards isn't part of that. "In our experience, spending is not actually a great indicator of the thing that the FICO score tries to measure, which is the likelihood you're going to default on a credit bill," he said.
At least now, after all these years, some journalists are starting to pay attention and speak up, with articles like this one at the New York Times: Suze Orman Takes to O Magazine to Promote Her New Card.
"Her entire persona revolves around giving fair and wise advice to people who rely on her," said David Bernknopf, a media consultant and visiting professor at the University of Colorado's School of Journalism and Mass Communication. "And if she's taking money from someone whose business touches on the advice she gives, how can that not raise questions about her fairness and honesty and independence?"
In this response from the same article, Suze shows another sociopathic trait of playing victim in the face of valid criticism, along with her usual sense of self-grandiosity:
Barbara Lippert, the advertising critic for Adweek, a trade magazine, said Orman is a "hypocrite."
"Suze Orman claims to give uncorrupted advice, yet she's being paid by one of America's largest corporations to flog its brands," she said. "It's a complete conflict of interest."
Orman dismisses such criticism as sour grapes.
"They hate Suze Orman and love to bash me because they're so jealous of my success," she said. "They just cannot understand how it is that I've sold millions of copies of books, I won an Emmy Award this year, my show on CNBC is the highest-rated show on weekends. How is any of that possible? They hate me because I tell people the truth."
Ryan Mack, a contributor to CNN and other news shows, and advocate for the poor, is one of the finance experts and journalists who had previously trusted and recommended Suze's works before being confronted with a big "uh oh, something is very wrong here" feeling when they saw her come out with this prepaid debit card and using all kinds of deceptive tactics to fool people into thinking it was a great tool for their finances. I think a lot of media professionals and finance experts will be giving a big, collective, "Oops!" as these and other shams and shenanigans come to light regarding this person they'd put forth as a nearly divinely anointed, finance expert of the world, and advisor for all aspects of politics and family life. Still, it is better to say "Oops" than to continue to propagate the sham just to save themselves from admitting they had been fooled or were knowingly or unknowingly complicit.
Mack was deeply disappointed by Suze's prepaid debit card move, since he'd really believed that she was someone who people could trust. He tried to ask Suze about the card and even had an interview scheduled, but then Suze cancelled the interview and threatened to sue Ryan for criticizing her card (messages below).
Ryan had written about how Suze's previous advice was that prepaid cards are not a viable option, quoting on page 96 of the original edition of "The Money Book," where she specifically states, "I don't think prepaid cards are a viable option." Ryan then shows how the new revised Money Class book contains an ad for the Suze Orman "Approved" prepaid debit card, along with this quote: "There are two types of debit cards: There is the debit card that is tied to your bank or credit union checking account, or there is the increasingly popular option of a prepaid debit card that you can load money onto and then pay bills or make purchases up to that amount."
Ryan has challenged Suze regarding the card, which he says goes against all of her previous advice, even joking on FOX Business about his new "Awesome Air" cup that would cost users the same $3 per month.
When Ryan tried to inform a woman via Twitter that there is an easy way for her to find a free secured card that would actually help her credit, Suze threatened legal action:
I'm sure Suze imagined the whole world - sparked by the Occupy movement and anger with the banking industry - taking their money out of banks and using the Bank of Suze Orman purple cards instead, using the Occupy movement and poor people who can't see through the misinformation campaign and get snagged by the twenty different possible card fees to continue filling up her already-overfull, always insatiable coffers before she retires and puts up a "gone fishing" sign in three years. Most likely the whole credit score idea will fade away after Suze makes her nut off of this deal, assuming the negative reviews don't lower her return on investment, which they probably won't if trusted journalists continue to shill for her and her PR people keep getting critical articles edited or deleted.
Here is another example of Suze's deceit:
Aside from the fact that this was far from the last post Suze made about her card as she claims it will be, in this Facebook posting and others on Twitter, Suze tells people to read an article at the Sacramento Bee that is apparently complimentary about her card. She posts it as though this were a legitimate article - using it to bolster her oft-repeated assertions that the nay-sayers are either "idiots" or big bad bank companies trying to bring her down, without acknowledging that this supposed Sacramento Bee article isn't even written by a Suze shill or journalist friend. This part of the scam is nothing more than a carefully crafted press release from her own company, disguised as "news" on the Sacramento Bee webpage.
The press release "article" takes short snippets from a few Suze shills and carefully edited pseudo-endorsements from the same few generally critical articles about the card, including three pseudo-endorsement quotes from an article by New York Times journalist Ron Lieber (more on Lieber's insightful Twitter interactions with Suze below). These quotes are presented out of context to make it sound like many journalists are touting her card - which reminded me of this sidebar from one of my books.
Update January 27, 2012: The pseudo article/press release on the Sacramento Bee has mysteriously disappeared from the Sacramento Bee website (where it was filed under "news,") but the same text is still available on the Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch, where it is properly labeled as a press release: Suze Orman Launches The Approved Card(TM); See What People are Saying.
Update July, 2012: The MarketWatch posting was also removed, so here is a saved snapshot of Suze's pseudo-endorsement, pseudo-article, press release on PR Newswire.
One of the complimentary snippets in support of Suze's card from this "press release article" says:
"And when you compare its fees and terms to controversial cards like the Kardashian Kard... it does look pretty good." [CNN Money, "Suze Orman launches new prepaid card," January 9, 2012]
But when you look up the quote in the actual article to find out what was removed from the quote during the "...," you find this:
Big difference when you remove, "which was taken off the market in late 2010 after allegations that its sky-high fees were illegal," right? This is the same Kardashian Kard that Suze blasted in 2010, less than fourteen months before Suze released her own prepaid debit card, saying, "KIM there is no reason for you to SKIM them kids- shame shame shame. Come on gals, pul (sic) it off the market and put your name or image on something that is great."
Less than fourteen months before Suze came out with her own fee-laden, mediocre prepaid debit card:
Having become familiar with Suze's duplicitous ways long ago, I've seen these kinds of shenanigans going on throughout her Oprah-propagated, media-made career, as much as I may have tried not to watch. This prepaid card fiasco gives a better view into her whole career and strings of shams and scams, due to the extensive documentation, since journalists and bloggers finally caught on - at least a bit - to at least this one of her ploys.
Suze herself has described prepaid cards as a bad deal in the past, but in the month before her card debuted, changed her tune, and even recommended on her new OWN show that a woman should get a prepaid card for her husband.
Here is the clip:
Anderson Cooper also jumped aboard the "Suze Orman infomercial train" by putting this misleading information on his website: "With this new debit card, Suze wants to help build FICO scores for those making the responsible choice to use cash instead of going into debt with credit cards."
The woman in charge of the outrageously extensive and deceptive publicity and attempts to cover up the long list of warnings about Suze's "Approved" prepaid debit card is Hilary Rosen, who represented RIAA against Napster, who has represented BP after the Gulf oil spill crisis, who had some public scandal for her comments about Ann Romney at the same time she was representing Suze's card, who has been criticized for signing up clients based on giving them access to the White House, and who has gotten Suze access to the White House.
From Australian news source, "Today/Tonight" (photo is a still frame from the video clip embedded in this article):
Targeting the African American Community and the Poor
Here is an example of how Suze has specifically targeted African Americans and the poor in her deceptive card selling campaign, appearing on a panel that was intended to help solve the problems of poverty, and having her frequent pitchman and unabashed supporter Tavis Smiley give an infomercial pitch for Suze's prepaid debit card on her behalf:
As one blogger said regarding this poverty solutions panel:
It was during this same Poverty in America panel that Michael Moore gave his passionate infomercial endorsement for Suze's crummy prepaid debit card, actually saying that Suze was doing something so revolutionary with this card that she's put her life at risk.
These surprising endorsements by Tavis Smiley and Michael Moore show more interesting examples of how the Suze Orman problem has escaped intelligent scrutiny through the years from even those whose missions have been to protect the public from being deceived and plundered.
One must wonder why people such as Oprah, Tavis, and Michael would pitch Suze so unabashedly, even in the case of this ridiculous prepaid card, after a large wave of articles in respected venues had already clearly outlined the serious problems with Suze's card and misinformation campaign.
Here's another warning to African Americans about Suze's misinformation campaign:
"Suze Orman Is Banking On Your Financial Ignorance" the African American Money Blog
Nevertheless, Suze's misinformation campaign, spearheaded by BP oil spill publicist Hilary Rosen, worked, and was quickly spread by those who had been fooled via social media (these are just a few of many examples):
Many of the hundreds of intelligent, knowledgeable and critical comments from finance experts on these hundred-plus articles sound like this one from "Does Suze Orman's Prepaid Debit Card Make Sense for You?"
Scamming the Hispanic Community
Here is Suze using an elaborate latticework of words to subconsciously and consciously implant the idea that buying her fee-laden prepaid debit card is going to give the audience a FICO score, only cost $3/month, and help create some kind of bizarre financial empowerment revolution for the Latino community.
Even after hundreds of articles had already been published, warning consumers that the card is likely to cost users considerably more than Suze's purported $3 per month, and that the "Approved" card doesn't currently - and likely won't ever - improve user's FICO score, Suze continued the sham at the January, 2012 NCLR annual conference. The National Council of La Raza is ironically the largest national Hispanic civic rights and advocacy organization in the United States. Suze apparently feels so protected by her protectors that she ended her sales pitch with, "You deserve to have a vehicle like my Approved Card. If I could be doing that for you, can you just help me help you?" She did this right at the same conference where Richard Cordray, head of the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) also spoke. Richard and the CFPB began an investigation into troubling aspects of prepaid debit cards that included fee disclosure issues and misleading marketing that suggests users will get an improved credit scores by using a prepaid card (guess who has been doing that?), an investigation that began just a few months after Suze ran her misinformation campaign. Yet, Suze clearly feels protected from persecution for her scams and shams. Hopefully, she is wrong about that.
Note that in this clip, Suze now says that the decision of whether this card will produce a FICO score will be made in 6 months to a year, instead of the 18 months to two years she was declaring a few months earlier. What matter numbers when the whole thing is a sham? Of course, this is all fudged, since FICO has already said they are not interested.
Why FICO is not interested, Excerpt from the Baltimore Sun:
Preparing to Plunder the Philippines
Here you can watch Suze's snake oil scam-in-progress as she uses the banking and journalist systems of the Philippines to fool and plunder Filipinos with tainted advice (mixed with common sense advice and bad advice, as usual), setting the stage for her fee-laden prepaid debit card and other exploitative shenanigans, disguised as "altruistic" visits to help the country.
2012: Suze sets the stage for her big con in the Philippines:
Suze says, "All they need to avoid is falling into the trap of credit card debt." How simple is that? It's all the country of the Philippines needs to do. Gee, Suze, if only there was a fee-laden prepaid debit card available to help Filipinos avoid that credit card "trap"!
I originally posted a POP QUIZ in this article in early March 2012 after Suze's troubling visit spreading her heartless doctrine of not helping even family members, with the press's main article's troubling headline: "Suze Orman to Filipinos: Money means almost everything."
Suze's behavior during her visit to the Philippines in March 2012 once again set off my "Suze Scamdar," because she clearly was setting the stage to plunder the Philippines with her prepaid debit card, though she probably had to change some of the plans due to the outcry of finance journalists across the United States who were warning readers not to trust Suze's misleading card pitches.
But Suze knows all too well that articles noting her scams, shams, and shenanigans all but disappear with a few months of her PR team's media blasts. She clearly was using her visit to the Philippines to give advice specifically geared to set the stage for putting big Philippine pesos into her pockets with her prepaid card, for which she has most likely partnered with the Bank of the Philippine Islands, who was her host for the visit.
Just remember, Philippines, "free" events with Suze Orman are not necessarily free, and even though your journalists might be thrilled to have a brush with fame, they may be giving Suze a more trustworthy sheen than she deserves.
Here is my Suze Scamdar prediction from March 2012, which would prove correct several months later.
(My prediction, originally posted in March 2012)
As a current example and practice in spotting Suze's shenanigans, below is a clip of Suze speaking on February 24th 2012 - one month after the U.S. financial media filled up with more than 200 articles criticizing Suze's prepaid debit card. Suze had left behind the bad press to visit the Philippines, where she started to spread her Suze money obsession in an article titled, "Suze Orman to Filipinos: Money means almost everything," and another article that fluffed the prey up with lots of praise and a glorious prediction, titled, "Philippines to shine in global community soon, says finance guru Suze Orman."
Note that the most important focus of Suze's supposedly trustworthy and caring advice to the whole country in the articles and the video clip below as the self-proclaimed "financial expert of the world" is for them to stop using credit cards and extending credit.
Does anyone want to bet this is the beginning of a pitch to bring the Suze Orman prepaid debit card to the Philippines? Oh, and her visit was sponsored by BPI, the Bank of the Philippines Islands. Of course, not getting into credit card debt is generally good financial advice, however, if my prediction is correct, this is one more example of how Suze's advice is often little more than a paid endorsement or a carefully crafted pitch for her next product.
That section was previously posted in early March, 2012.
Four months later, my "Suze Scam-dar" proved correct:
It looks as though Suze has been so emboldened by the U.S. government and the finance and other journalists who have let all of her plundering shenanigans go on for years with barely a peep that now she wants to become the Suze Orman bank of the world with a mediocre prepaid card from which she reaps huge percentages of profit.
2013: Suze's con in the Philippines continues:
Since my 2012 "Suze Orman preparing to plunder the Philippines" prediction proved to be correct, I'll venture forth with another for 2013, since Suze is apparently still looking toward the Philippines as her next conquest.
In May, 2013, Suze took another trip to the Philippines, again hosted by the Bank of the Philippine Islands. She painted herself as practically a saint for coming to help these poor Filipinos get their money together by offering free programs with the same basic talk she basically has given every time she speaks for the past 15 years, with additional"brilliant" advice that Filipinos should stop buying lattes, stop buying cosmetics and toys, stop helping family, and - what's that? This time Suze brought a new focus, which is that Filipinos should invest their money in stocks, especially via ETFs (which don't even currently exist in the Philippines), with one reporter, who Suze has primed with flattery and many public compliments to keep him loyal, saying in his interview, "She also urged Filipinos to invest in exchange-traded funds once they are available locally."
Before you start thinking Suze is actually doing something to help Filipinos, remember one of Suze's more honest quotes:
"I'm not in this for charity. This is a business, and anybody who thinks that it’s not a business is an idiot... I'll tell you the sources of my income - everything I do is a source of income to me." - Suze Orman (Chicago Tribune)
Orman said one should also start investing money every month on a mutual fund. "After you've done that, every month set aside a specific amount and invest in that fund... It's peso cost averaging, that way when the fund goes down, your pesos buy more shares. When the fund goes up, your pesos buy less shares but over time you've averaged the cost of the share with your pesos and you won't lose money," she said.
Another May 2013 article, titled, "Invest in Stocks - Suze Orman," says:
MANILA, Philippines - Amid low interest rates regime, investing in stocks and so-called exchange trade funds (ETFs) would be a wise choice, according to financial guru Suze Orman. “I still believe that the place to be is in stocks, or exchange trade funds which you don’t have yet here that pay high dividends because interest rates are so low,” Orman said, in a press briefing.
My 2013 "Suze Orman preparing to plunder the Philippines" prediction: Note that in her new advice to the Philippines, Suze is telling Filipinos that they should invest in exchange trade funds, which are not even available in the Hippies. We've seen ETF's elsewhere in this article, when Suze was pitching gold ETF's in the Suze Orman Gold Rush, which she advised people throughout the media landscape to buy as ETFs through her Money Navigator Newsletter that she later claimed to have nothing at all to do with (after making a bundle on her little gold rush and the newsletter.
Once you understand that Suze is a deceiving gangster, it becomes easier to see the scams as she sets up the marks - which in this case are Filipinos - and prepares to con them and make a whole lot of money in the process, while the victims laud her as a great financial savior. It's worked so well for her in the United States, so why not plunder the Philippines as well? Who wants to bet that the Bank of Philippine Islands or a related institution in the Philippines will soon be coming out with a "Suze-approved" ETF and mutual fund?
Just recently, I spoke with a financial investment expert who Suze has worked with and accessed for financial information to make it appear that so-called expert Suze Orman knows what she is talking about financially. In 2011, Suze was seeking to start a mutual fund with this expert, even though she does not have the credentials to give investment advice or start a fund. But Suze knows how to get around rules, and knows that the government agencies and media in the US have all but given her a total pass on all of her scams and shenanigans, so she was planning to start a mutual fund with this expert anyway, until the United States Securities and Exchange Commission at least noticed this one Suze scam and apparently shut it down. Unfortunately they didn't also shut down Suze's 2012 "Approved" prepaid debit card fiasco, with criticism from financial journalists top to bottom (the same fee-laden plundering card Suze has already said she is planning to bring to the Philippines), so she wasn't able to create the mutual fund in the US.
My Suze Scamdar says that Suze is blasting the Phillippines news with advice that the Filipino people should make it a priority to invest in mutual funds and ETFs that aren't even available in the Philippines, because she is planning to put her name and grimacing smile on some new product created just for the Philippines, because she loves them so much (or at least would love to fool them into putting more money into her ever-bulging pockets). We shall see if my Suze Scamdar in this case is as accurate as it usually shows itself to be once the Suze Orman con is prepared and set. Having her own mutual fund would allow Suze to make money even when those who are investing in her fund lost theirs, just the way Suze likes it. As Suze likes to say, the reason she first decided to become a broker was because she could see that they made people broker.
"I thought, I know, I can be a broker. They just make you broker."
- Suze Orman (in almost every talk she has ever given)
Making people broker is what Suze has done to the US economy, and that seems to be what she has in mind for the Philippines, with her new focus on mutual funds and ETFs, based on her current publicity blitz, and her already announced intention to bring her fee-laden, finance journalist "Disapproved!" prepaid card to plunder the Philippines. Dear Philippines, please don't be fooled by Suze buttering you and your country up with flattery and shaming you with chastisements. Don't be fooled like the United States has been fooled. Beware of Suze Orman!
Credit Unions, Personal Attacks and Quid Pro Quo's
In February 2012, The National Association of Federal Credit Unions requested that the government-based NCUA stop using materials with Suze because of the prepaid card, and also because Suze has been telling people to walk away from their underwater mortgages, even if they can afford to pay. The association explains, “Ms. Orman recently launched a prepaid debit card product. Orman has also encouraged consumers who are underwater in their homes to walk-away from their mortgage commitments. Given the foregoing, NAFCU believes it is necessary for the agency to carefully re-examine its use of promotional material featuring Ms. Orman.”
Debbie Matz - chairman of the National Credit Union Administration and the person who made the deal with Suze - wrote a letter that was published in the Credit Union Times, to defend keeping Suze on the campaign, which prompted Suze to tweet:
Suze loves Credit Unions when they are paying her over a million dollars to say so, and when the NCUA head is giving Suze credibility even as she pushes a prepaid card that goes against the Credit Union mission, even when she has been publicly telling people to walk away from their underwater mortgages even if they can afford the payments (which is sure to cost Credit Unions a lot more than the $1.4 million they paid to Suze), and even though Suze also has had similar deals to pitch for big banks, not to mention having a prepaid card linked with a non-Credit Union bank.
The comments by Credit Union presidents and others below Chairman Matz's letter in the Credit Union Times reveal some of the usual Suze shenanigans going on with more "you scratch my back and I'll recommend yours." This president of the InvesTex Credit Union in Texas wrote the only comment in support of keeping Suze's NCUA campaign:
Oh, and look what Suze posted about Mr. Kearney's InvestTex Credit Union just a couple weeks earlier - one more example of Suze's advice being bought by support for her scams:
If Suze recommends someone or something to her trusting viewers or readers, it is highly likely that she is getting something in return. Suze's advice is not intended to help people as much as to enrich herself, and don't say she hasn't told you.
"I'm not in this for charity. This is a business, and anybody who thinks that it’s not a business is an idiot... I'll tell you the sources of my income - everything I do is a source of income to me."
- Suze Orman, Chicago Tribune
Soon after the release of her prepaid debit card, I watched Suze launch an attack via Twitter and Facebook, trying to ruin the livelihood of a woman she's worked with over the past few years, who also helped to get Suze these endorsement deals with the National Credit Union Administration that gave Suze a great deal of credibility with customers who are banking through Credit Unions. Suze was paid $1.4 million dollars by NCUA, (which apparently is not authorized as a government agency to be spending CU member's funds without permission, but that's another story) for giving the endorsement.
Ondine Irving of www.CreditCardConnection.org, who had originally introduced Suze to Debbie Matz of the NCUA and supported her use in the campaign, spoke up, and refused to go along with the fraud and endorse Suze's new prepaid debit card with its irresponsible misrepresentation campaign that has made some of the poorest people in this country think that using Suze's card would help them to gain a better FICO credit score, which it won't.
Note that in Suze's attack on Ondine, she suggests that she wants to sic the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) on Ondine for absolutely no reasonable reason, at the same time that Suze is violating many rules of ethics by ripping people off with her prepaid card misinformation campaign. Suze also sent her lawyer to harass Ondine -- this was the same lawyer who orchestrated Suze's false rumor campaign against me in our mutual spiritual community.
Apparently, Suze's shenanigans with her prepaid card helped to draw the attention of the CFPB to the fact that there is too little regulation to protect consumers from prepaid debit cards, which some financial experts consider to be on the same rung as payday loans. Soon after Suze released her "Approved" card, the CFPB announced that they have made regulating prepaid debit cards one of their top priorities. Unfortunately, they have not yet taken specific action to stop Suze's fraud or to get justice and compensation for the many poor and uneducated people who were fooled and soaked by those unnecessary fees that went right into Suze's bulging pockets.
In Section C-8 of the CFPB's May 2012 "Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on prepaid cards" includes this section that appears to be tailor made to address 2012 Suze's prepaid debit card credit score misinformation marketing:
"Currently some GPR cards include a feature that claims to offer consumers the opportunity to improve or build credit. Consumers generally need to opt in to this feature, which involves the reporting of certain information to credit reporting agencies. The Bureau seeks public input and data concerning the efficacy of credit reporting features on GPR cards in enabling consumers to improve or build credit. The Bureau also seeks information on whether regulatory provisions should address how such services are marketed to consumers."
UPDATE: The Credit Union woman, Ondine, has now bravely written about her personal experiences and thoughts about Suze's Prepaid Debit Card, even after already being targeted by Suze's revengeful ways. Thank you Ondine for helping to protect the public.
Finance author Harvey Mackey wrote one of the very few articles in support of Suze's prepaid card, which ran in a number of newspapers. Suze retweeted the link to Harvey's article:
Now, I'd like to offer a simple tip. When you see someone praising Suze's prepaid card - especially someone like Harvey Mackay who should know enough about finance to know this card is a bad deal for almost everyone - all you have to do is google the person's name with Suze's name and you are bound to find either advertising with Suze bringing in big bucks for the media venue, as with SelectQuote commercials that ran constantly on CNN during the same time they were pushing Suze and her prepaid card on many of their shows (I only occasionally watch CNN, but have seen the Suze Orman SelectQuote commercials run several times during a single viewing), or you'll see that there has been some other endorsement or history between the two. A simple 5-second search led to Harvey Mackay's own website, where you see this endorsement for Harvey's book on the front page:
One more blatant lie from Suze
In this audio interview with Tess Vigeland for Marketplace Money in January 2012, Suze makes various dubious claims about her new "Approved" card and supposed mission, calls the person who wrote this article at CardHub an "idiot," calls the interviewer "naive," and tells this blatant lie:
Vigeland: Are you concerned at all that your audience might question you having a card like this, perhaps making money off of them -- however little -- while at the same time counseling them on their money management?
Orman: I don't think so. Because the people who have been listening to me now for almost 30 years, they know that I have earned their trust. They know that I have never put my needs in front of theirs. So I don't personally care what other people say, because I know what I'm doing and the people who follow me know what I'm doing as well. And we will just see who has the last laugh when it comes to the Approved card.
No matter how many times I've heard Suze lie over the years, she always finds ways to outdo herself. Thirty years ago (from the date of this interview in 2012) was 1982, around the time Suze was staying with a friend of mine,who told me that at the time, Suze was penniless and selling multi-level marketing water filters (and behaving in seriously troubling ways toward her host).
Twenty years before this interview, in 1992, was right after I had the misfortune of meeting Suze while working on a project for our mutual spiritual community. At the time, Suze was completely unknown to the public and deeply in debt to a number of people, including at least $50,000 in debt to one old friend, with whom I would hear her arguing about not being able to repay the debt according to their agreed-upon schedule.
Although Suze claims in the above clip that people have been listening to her for almost thirty years, it was in 1992, twenty years before her claim, that Suze would have her first two television appearances on shows that I pulled strings with my colleagues to arrange, so we could produce the deceptive video that eventually helped Suze get the deal for he first book, which was published in 1994. Now I know that Suze can add and subtract better than I, but according to my calculation, that means Suze's first book came out eighteen years before her claim that people have been listening to her now for almost 30 years (unless she is just referring to the human act of speaking and listening that we all engage in). It wasn't until around 1998 until Suze catapulted into fame and undeserved trust on the wings of Oprah Winfrey.
Suze's Behavioral Problems
There are few if any other people I've met who I would describe as true sociopaths – and that includes working with hundreds of directors, producers, studio executives, actors, and journalists during my years in Hollywood. Of course, we all have flaws, but Suze is the most problematic person I've personally known, for many reasons. It is unfortunate that her sociopathy has paved the way for her to assume an almost completely uncredentialed position as financial, family, career, and lifestyle advisor to millions. If we are to improve our world, we have to fish out the harmful shysters, and so I feel obliged to alert people to a continually escalating problem I contributed to creating in the early 1990s, when I made the serious error of judgment in helping Suze onto the public stage.
Suze has a pattern of using people to benefit herself and then breaking her promises and causing harm to the person in various ways, usually with a few more kicks while they're down, and trying to be as emotionally debilitating as she can be. For example, I was told that Suze brought her new (current) girlfriend to her previous girlfriend of nine years' birthday party as a not-so-nice way of telling her they were breaking up - I assume Suze wanted to make sure the old girlfriend would cringe a bit when her birthdays came around.
In this clip, Suze tells what seems to be (as usual) not quite the full truth about that event, along with some interesting insights about her own problems that make her not such a great candidate for telling others what to do with their relationships, in spite of the fact that she does it all the time and that many people have actually ended their own relationships and marriages because Suze loves to tell people to divorce their spouses, for example if the spouse is not good with money. Here is Suze talking about her own dysfunctional relationships:
In the case of Cynthia Oti, a financial radio talk show host who was close with Suze and played a big role in creating her financial platform, and also helped with Suze's first book, and was also thanked in the acknowledgments. Suze caused considerable harm to Cynthia while she was alive - I was told that Suze spread false rumors about Cynthia around our spiritual community, just as she did to me, and that she devastated Cynthia in various ways.
Unfortunately, Cynthia isn't here to speak up herself, because she died in the plane crash of Alaskan Airlines flight 261 into the Pacific Ocean. Years after Cynthia's death, Suze gave her a few more kicks on her CNBC show - again, she is speaking about one of the few people who is most responsible for helping to spark Suze's public speaking and writing career, not to mention helping Suze with her uneducated, uncredentialed financial career even before that. A very fine minister who was close to Cynthia and mentioned some of the troubles Suze caused to her, said to me, in his compassionate voice, "Suze has caused damage to so many people." His words were one more encouragement for me to speak up.
Here you can play the video clip where Suze denigrates Cynthia's memory - the worst of it is toward the end of the clip, I left the beginning part in also, because it shows Suze pushing a woman to say that she was relieved when her ex-fiance committed suicide. After that, Suze says that when Cynthia died, "I didn't feel bad about it, and everybody was saying to me, 'Suze Orman, what is the matter with you?' And I was like, 'What do you want me to do? I didn't like the person! The person screwed me over! Why should I like this person — I don't care, that's their problem.'" This is what Suze said on CNBC about a woman who was one of the few names featured along with mine in the acknowledgments of those who helped to begin Suze's career with her first book.
I saw this terrible display years ago, when I would record Suze's programs to see which of her exes she was going to publicly insult that day (using gender-free pronouns, since Suze was still "in the closet"). It was this clip about Cynthia's death that made me realize how important it was for me to find a way to speak up and break through Suze's tightly woven mesh of protectors to make this information available to those who are trusting sociopathic Suze's advice for some of the most essential and important decisions of their lives.
One person who was more recently harmed by Suze Orman after helping her significantly wrote to me after reading this article, saying: "All in all, I must say I can relate to so much of what you've written- as I know others have as well. The promises, the feeling of being used, the backlash after the fact- it is a wicked pattern that seems to keep emerging. It is actually rather sad. And although it took me a while to recover from my experiences, I am just trying to put it behind me- and as time goes by it is becoming a more distant memory." Of course it is easier for the person who sent me this message to move on, as they helped Suze but don't have the added burden of having played a significant role in sparking the whole sham. My understanding of karma (as the author of Spirituality For Dummies), is any action we perform by thought, word, or deed, for which we are responsible. If we have made a mistake and have the opportunity to speak up and possibly mitigate the negative effects of that mistake, then it is our duty to do our best to present the information needed, and that is what I've done in this fairly extensive multimedia presentation. I invite you to click on some of the links and to share this website with others.
Here is one recent comment by someone who has obviously worked or been asked to work with Suze to help her perpetrate the facade that "financial expert Suze Orman" has had financial education, posted in March 2012 to a Salon magazine article about attention-grabbing headlines, with the satirical title, "Suze Orman Eats Puppy on Live TV!":
Fortunately, Suze now has an official "wife," (although their marriage in South Africa is not recognized in the United States, which sounds like just the kind of marriage I would expect from Suze).
Here is just one flavor of the usual kind of problematic behavior I've run across when Suze's appeared on my television screen over the years. When Suze is hawking her wares on QVC, she likes to use the most recent disaster to scare people into thinking they need whatever Suze is selling. In this clip from January 2011, Ms. "don't spend money unless it goes to me" uses her mother’s hypothetical death, the host and his wife’s hypothetical deaths, and about 2/3rds through this clip, uses the previous week’s real-life national tragedy where Representative Giffords and others were shot – with six people killed, including a nine-year-old child – as a way to spook QVC viewers into buying her silver box, which is apparently better than the blue box or the green box:
In the next clip, which generated thousands of complaints to The Oprah Show, Suze teaches people how to treat others by being a ruthless, mean, and hateful bully, in this case, getting Oprah to join in the slaughter. This is an emotionally unstable woman who nevertheless has the unfathomable responsibility of trying to financially support and personally care for FOURTEEN young children. Suze beats down Nadya's emotional state by shouting "Everyone hates you," makes Nadya say louder and louder that she wouldn't have had her children (who will certainly hear this one day, if not that very day) if she knew how difficult it would be, and then gives Nadya the irresponsible and potentially disastrous command to get rid of any and all nannies and take care of the fourteen children all by herself, while also trying to raise money for rent and other needs.
From this clip, Oprah's viewers and their children around the world learned that people who have emotional and other troubles should be torn down until they say, as Nadya finally did, that she hates herself, as Oprah, smitten by Suze's bad company, applauds.
Suze shouts at Nadya that "Everyone hates you!!!" and demands that Nadya again and again, louder and louder, declare that she would or should have never had her children, which may be the case, but is still not a nice thing to make a mother do when her children will hear their mother saying she should never have given birth to them - and at least one of Nadya's children was present for the taping. While slicing and dicing Nadya to shreds, Suze tosses in an almost direct quote from our mutual guru's 2003 New Years message about how we shouldn't be judging others, which is the kind of mismatched teachings and behaviors Suze has thrown at the American public for years. Suze often uses ancient wisdom quotes from our guru's teachings, sometimes quoted word for word in an incorrect context as though they were Suze's own quoted words, to make herself look wiser and more spiritual than she is, while in behavior and advice, she is doing exactly the opposite of the intention of those teachings. (More examples of this in the section on "Plagiarizing Spiritual Teachings" below)
Along with this fiasco of cruelty that clearly didn't end up helping Nadya, based on her continued struggles, came a misleading cover-up article that was obviously submitted through Suze's usual PR channels to be distributed to tens of thousands of media outlets through the Associated Press, giving a very different impression as though the show was fairly tame and very helpful to Nadya. Here is the article at the Washington Times: "Octomom concedes she was baby addict on ‘Oprah'" Oprah received thousands of complaints from viewers about this show, including these. Oprah ignored those complaints, replaying the nasty show many more times on her syndicated broadcast and then on her OWN network, where she continued to push Suze into the public consciousness and give her a forum for pitching her products. Oprah also swept aside the concerns of her entire producer staff about Suze's troubling behavior:
Watch the Behind the Scenes clip where Oprah's producers
try to tell her that Suze's behavior was unacceptable:
In my opinion, Suze has been a seriously negative influence on Oprah, as was still apparent during the May 23rd 2012 filming of Oprah's "Lifeclass" for OWN. I watched a few minutes of the live feed and saw Oprah sitting in the same exact configuration as in the Nadya clip above, with Iyanla Vanzant in the Suze spot as she and Oprah beat down a woman who had come for real help in her life. There they were, like two peacocks, strutting their self-proclaimed greatness and blasting this slouching woman for having too much ego. In my opinion this is one example of how her association with Suze Orman took away some of Oprah's natural goodness and has been turning her into a self-righteous spiritual bully (refer to my section on "spiritual bullies" in chapter 5 of Spirituality For Dummies).
Along with this fiasco of cruelty that clearly didn't end up helping Nadya, based on her continued struggles, came a misleading article that was obviously submitted through Suze's usual PR channels to be distributed to tens of thousands of media outlets through the Associated Press, giving a very different impression that the show was fairly tame and very helpful to Nadya. Here is the article at the Washington Times: "Octomom concedes she was baby addict on ‘Oprah'"
This is just one more glimpse into the PR, media, corporate sponsored latticework that has kept Suze Orman and her many scams and shenanigans from any significant scrutiny. Here are some of the very few critical articles that were published before Suze's "Approved Card" scam finally made even reluctant journalists speak up: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.
Oprah and others have given Suze a platform such that her deceptive and warped ideas and behaviors mixed with useful financial advice have ultimately impacted our society and economy negatively, even if some individuals have found her general financial advice and products helpful in their personal finances. Obviously Suze is not responsible for all the ponzi schemes, mortgage misdeeds, mismanaged funds, and corrupt CEO bonuses that have practically destroyed the U.S. economy, but she certainly set the stage for what has taken place, touting the all-important "courage to be rich," while teaching fear, shame, miserliness, and a focus on money as being the most important thing in life (her few superficial quotes to the contrary notwithstanding in the face of her advice and actions).
Suze's Twitter Meltdown
It has been deeply concerning it has been for me to see these and many other troubling behaviors and teachings that I feel have torn damaging holes in the fabric of society and the economy due to Suze's extreme amount of social influence. The Suze Orman problem reached a new crescendo of public visibility in January, 2012, when one of Suze's shenanigans went too far and finally caught the attention of financial journalists across the land, as many could see the scam of how she was trying to fool and rip off the poorest and most uneducated people in our country with her prepaid card misinformation campaign.
In a small Twitter tirade, Suze showed just a tiny glimpse of her problematic ways to a handful of personal finance bloggers, who had respectfully questioned her very questionable new "Cream of the Crap" debit card, along with Suze's campaign of misinformation going along with it, falsely suggesting that use of this card will improve FICO scores, which it will not.
It's too long to paste the whole "Twitter meltdown" into this article, so:
(click on the small image to enlarge)
When Suze is called out for her shenanigans, as in the Twitter meltdown above, she often calls them "Suze haters" to deflect the valid concerns brought forth by competent journalists.
Along with Suze's tirade above, where she called respected financial bloggers "idiots" who know nothing, came her tangled web of praise and insult with New York Times Finance Journalist Ron Lieber, who had written a relatively gentle article about her prepaid card, after interviewing Suze about it. In the exchange below, you get to see one more example of Suze's ease with lying as she first says that she would never insult Ron - even though she had done so just the day before, quite publicly - after which she admits her lie as though lying was simply acceptable behavior. Whenever I see assumed sociopathic criminals in interviews and on televised court cases, testifying or responding to questions with a boldness and comfort with lying, they remind me of the Suze Orman I knew in the early 1990s, who has continued her lying and plundering ways to this day, now on the stage of the world and the U.S. and world economy. Beware!
Huffington post has since removed the video that was originally included with the article titled "Suze Orman Hits Out At New York Times' Ron Lieber For Debit Card Column." However you can watch the video at this link, and hear Suze first complain that the New York Times runs ads for credit cards, before corrupting a philosophical tenet of new age spirituality to suggest that anyone who criticizes her prepaid card, referring specifically to Ron Lieber, who was in fact one of the least critical journalists regarding her card, must be hiding something dishonest about themselves. Note how uncomfortable Arianna looks playing this role of serving up Suze slop to her readers, just as George Stephanopoulos looked serving up the "Approved" card scam to viewers of Good Morning America. At least this shows that they have a conscience, unlike sociopaths like Suze Orman.
At the end of the Arianna Huffington interview clip, Suze says with her convoluted new-age un-logic: "You can’t see that in others which isn't true for yourself. If you’re thinking that I'm profit-motivating and I'm this and I'm that, Ron Lieber, I would take a good look in the mirror because something isn't quite right with you, sir."
Less than one day later, Suze denies ever insulting Ron Lieber when he calls her out about it, with a bit of Suze praise, but then she admits the insult when she sees that Ron knows what she actually said. Soon after, the Huffington Post removed the video, but kept the article.
Note that after Ron calls her on her dishonest response, Suze readily admits her lie, as do other pathological liars who lie to game the system.
In this case we see Suze using the catchphrase, "I admit that I was wrong" -- a phrase I remember Suze telling me she had learned along with other phrases in the early 1990s, claiming it had a psychological power to manipulate people to get you out of any predicament.
So it was no surprise to see Suze use her magical phrase of, "I admit that I was wrong" to New York Times journalist Ron Lieber and several other times while blatantly lying and trying to dig her way out of the mess she had created by insulting finance bloggers and journalists who were asking questions about her prepaid card. Here are a couple more "I admit that I was wrong's" on top:
But Suze's insults kept coming, including this one to Fox Business Network's Gerri Willis, who interviewed experts on her show (see: "Growing Criticism of Suze Orman’s Prepaid Debit Card"), and wrote articles to warn people about the card, including: "Beware of the Suze Orman Card!"
One thing Suze teaches very well is that money doesn't buy class.
I've watched and personally experienced some of Suze's methods of using extreme flattery and making her "marks" feel low self-esteem, or vulnerable to her, such as by asking and getting them to confide personal information. I've seen her offering to be a financial advisor to various celebrities where she would know enough potentially embarrassing information to create an implied potential threat if they were to speak out against her shenanigans. Suze is the kind of person who will gather any dirt she can on you and then, after using you to benefit herself, will use whatever she has as ammunition to attack. Click here to see one recent example of this behavior.
Watch out Rosie! (Fortunately, I was able to warn Rosie in time, and her response was: "not gonna do it
This graphic shows an example of how Suze used personal information shared with her by a Credit Union woman (who had previously helped Suze gain greater public trust and get a million dollar-plus deal) to now threaten and embarrass the woman. Suze was angry because this Credit Union expert rightly wouldn't endorse Suze's prepaid card, which goes against everything the Credit Union industry stands for.
Another relevant personality quality I saw in Suze in the early 1990s that seems to have continued through to present times, is her tendency to sometimes let wealthier or more powerful people tell her what to do, as she goes into a childlike state of obedience, like a child trying to please her father, as she strives to “come through” for them, whether it be to sell their product or overcome all the journalists who tried to protect consumers from her "Approved" prepaid debit card misinformation campaign. When Suze meets someone who she considers as having more power, money, etc. than she has, she will sometimes go into that obedient mode. Of course, with her extreme influence, this tendency can be a problem depending on whose interests Suze is striving to obey.
You can see a small glimpse of Suze's obedient approach in this excerpt from an article at Women's Wear Daily that is based on Suze's own words. It also shows the qualities that make Suze believe and declare that someone is a "great woman."
In the same article, heartless Suze gives a kick to concentration camp survivor Elie Wiesel, who had recently lost his charity's money in Bernie Madoff's scams, shams, and shenanigans. The article says:
"Even the victims of Bernie Madoff don’t get off scot-free when Orman gets going. 'You walked right into that financial concentration camp, my loves,' she says later in a regrettable metaphor, given that the world’s most famous concentration camp survivor, Elie Wiesel, was among Madoff’s bilked investors. 'I mean, you didn't have to give 100 percent of everything to him.'”
What will Suze say to and about those who have lost money, homes, family, and more, after following con artist Suze Orman right into the same camp?
I do remember that during my time of association with Suze, Linda Mead wrote her first book, though with some help from Suze, and in this description, Suze's agent is thrilled to have an author who knows she can't write. So who has been writing Suze's books and articles since then? There is much to be discovered in this Suze Orman house of damaging and deceptive cards.
Clearly, Suze has learned a lot more about money since that time, and perhaps she has improved her writing skills to be of greater help to the writer, editor, etc., of books with her name on it, just as she has put her name on so many other works that even she herself claims to have done nothing for, such as the Suze Orman Money Navigator Newsletter that she claimed as her own for two years or so before then claiming that she had absolutely nothing to do with it, and that Mark Grimaldi had done all of the writing and work for it -- dragging Mark's name through the mud along the way. Obviously Suze has some intelligence - enough to con and scam millions - but in my opinion and as is clear from the many examples just in this one article, Suze Orman is not honest by nature, and uses her intelligence in ways that are ultimately harmful. She can't even let an easily ignored Twitter question about her whiter than white false teeth go by without another lie.
Suze’s History of Shams and Shenanigans
Studying Suze Orman's disturbing path to fame and fortune as an example of success might be inspiring for someone who is looking to climb to the top, even if it would mean ruining the lives of many people and damaging the United States economy to do so -- in other words, for narcissistic sociopaths like Suze Orman.
However, for those who are not interested in being con artists in training, there are important warnings to be gleaned from the Suze story, including how someone with neither education nor ethics managed to scam her way into position after position to become a "trusted financial advisor" for millions of people. This con artist actually has the clout to direct and distort large streams of income to benefit her own pockets and those of her many behind-the-scenes partnerships and liaisons with corporations and big banks.
A whole lot of people have been fooled, plundered, used and abused for Suze to get to where she is today. Suze proudly describes her ruthless climb to success in this clip from Anderson Cooper's AC-360 show, saying "Because I didn't care what other people thought, because I knew what I wanted and I was going to go after it at all costs, I got what I wanted." It's not that Suze hasn't told us who she is, but that not enough people with the avenues to say something about it are either noticing or choosing to speak up.
In terms of being a finance expert, Suze Orman didn't have "too little" financial education, or not a "good enough" financial education; she had zero financial education. Suze had spent many extra years to get a B.A. in social work after receiving not a single grade above a "C" in any of her classes - something she brags about regularly in her appearances and lectures, as though it were something admirable that everybody should aspire to do. Suze then became a waitress, as she says, living in a van while earning $400/month, but at the same time, honing her scamming skills to the point that by the time we met, she would often brag that she could talk anyone into anything.
Suze worked as a waitress for many years, before "inspiring," or perhaps conning her Buttercup Bakery customers into loaning her $50,000. She took the money to Merrill Lynch and asked her broker to generate as much as he could from it, probably pushing him to do so against his better judgment. When the broker's investments lost the money, Suze used a legal loophole that I would guess she was just waiting to use if the broker's actions (that she had almost certainly requested) lost money -- weaving the web like a a good con artist. She threatened to sue Merrill Lynch, and ended up negotiating a deal where Merrill Lynch would give her some free financial training and a six-month position that would bring a huge raise in income from her Buttercup Bakery job. Suze often acknowledges that both Merrill Lynch and subsequently Prudential, were only hiring her to fill those new women's quota laws that had been enacted at just the right time for Suze to ride them up the ladder. Knowing Suze's methods personally and from the stories of others, she likely used her usual tactics of promising all kinds of benefits to people that she never intended to keep.
Merrill Lynch brought Suze on for six months and gave her some training in financial investment and more than a 400% pay raise. As thanks for that, Suze sued Merrill Lynch anyway, which she timed exactly to take place just as her six month employment was about to end, with the result that they couldn't legally fire her due to the pending litigation (eventually, they willingly repaid Suze with interest and sent her on her way to whatever shenanigans she ran at Prudential, who Suze also says hired her to meet their new women quotas, which were a big stepping stone for Suze to get jobs for which she was not really educated or qualified).
Only after she became wealthy did Suze finally repay the Buttercup Bakery customers who had loaned her a significant amount of money, apparently without a cent of interest or gratitude. As she herself describes, Suze sent the $10,000 repayment to one of the customers, Fred, but never heard back from him and didn't take any further steps to see if he was even alive or well. Several years later, Suze received a letter from Fred saying that he'd suffered a stroke and had unable to write until then. He also let Suze know that he was proud of having helped to spark such a successful career, and also let Suze know that the repayment of his loan to her so many years earlier had come in extremely handy due to his money challenges since having the stroke. Did Suze offer to add in some extra funds to help Fred back? Did she even include the tiniest percentage of interest? As far as I know, she did not.
Watch Suze tell this part of her story, beginning with suing Merrill Lynch:
Suze has given nearly the same talk nearly every time she speaks for the past fifteen years, based on the occasional ones I've heard through the years, nearly all of which have been basically the same talk, with the same story and slogans, but focused on whatever price-for-advice con she is pulling at the time. Since she basically gives the same talk over and over, it is no wonder that Suze doesn't even have to make the minimal effort of preparing a talk in a responsible way - after all, she's magic, right? (Magic in an Emperor's new clothes way)
Here is another example of Suze sharing her not so illustrious resume of scamming her way to the top -- the same story she tells in almost every talk she gives -- with her usual sociopathic swag.
Note: In the above clip, Suze shares the same story she's told in almost every lecture she gives with the Hispanic community, right before she tried to plunder the Hispanic community by lying, deceiving, and literally begging them to buy her fee-laden prepaid debit card.
Suze usually ends her "illustrious biography" just after she first entered the financial field in this dubious way, but she plundered many more people after that to get to being a published author. Suze received extensive and generous assistance from Cynthia Oti, a successful stockbroker and host of a popular San Francisco radio show called "Financial Fitness." From what Suze told me at the time, Cynthia had helped to educate Suze about finances, helped to build Suze's initial financial platform, and gave Suze her first experiences of being on radio, just as I got Suze booked on her first two television shows. One thing Suze has no problem with is asking, even begging, people to do things for her.
Eventually, after thanking Cynthia (and me) in the acknowledgments of her first book, Suze intentionally caused serious damage to Cynthia's life, as she has done to the lives of many others who helped spark and expand Suze's public speaking and writing career. Suze created a false rumor campaigns about Cynthia in our mutual spiritual community, just as she did about me several years later.
Suze eventually denigrated Cynthia Oti's memory on CNBC after Cynthia died in a plane crash, pushing a guest whose ex-fiance had committed suicide to say that she felt relieved that he is gone, while Suze described her experience of Cynthia's death as, "I didn't feel bad about it, and everybody was saying to me, 'Suze Orman, what is the matter with you?' And I was like, 'What do you want me to do? I didn't like the person! The person screwed me over! Why should I like this person — I don't care, that's their problem." (see it yourself, toward the end of this clip) This is how Suze speaks about a woman who seriously helped create her success. I saw this disgusting clip at a time when I would occasionally record Suze's shows because she would so often trash her ex-friends on television. In a sense, this presentation, though primarily intended to help protect individuals, the economy, and society from more damage from Suze Orman, is also an offering on behalf of Cynthia's memory.
At the time I met Suze in the early 1990s, Cynthia was still helping Suze, who at the time was borrowing massive amounts of money from friends. Soon after meeting Suze, I was present as she argued on a phone call with her wealthy ex-girlfriend, who had loaned her $50,000. Suze was arguing that she was not able to pay back the money according to their agreed-upon schedule, yet, at the same time Suze was claiming to be unable to repay the borrowed money from this friend and many others, she was spending huge sums of that borrowed money on a long list of ongoing extravagant, unnecessary luxuries, including leasing a BMW, getting weekly maid service at $70 a pop, going for frequent visits to salons for hair frostings, manicures, pedicures, massages, and waxings, purchasing expensive clothes and jewelry, eating out sometimes several times a day at expensive restaurants, and more. Suze Orman has never followed the advice she gives, and like most narcissistic sociopaths, thinks she is better and inherently deserves more than other people.
The only reason Suze got out of her extreme debt in the early 1990s was because PG & E paid her large sums of money to encourage their older employees to go through an early retirement process, a position she got in part through my efforts of getting Suze on her first two television shows and helping to give her the prestige of a media presence. I also flew up to San Francisco to film Suze's PG&E presentation on my dime, since Suze had hid from me how much money she was making from PG&E, and claimed that she was still in debt.
From an interview with the New York Times Magazine:
“As soon as I started to tell the truth, and everyone knew what the situation was,” she said, “the phone rings and it’s Pacific Gas and Electric having another early retirement.” The company hired Orman to advise its employees, and “in one month I got a check for $250,000 and went, ‘Oh, my God,’ and paid off all my debt. I started getting checks like that again, and my whole life turned around.”
I can assure you from personal experience that even though Suze claims in this quote that she had "started to tell the truth," it was like Jodi Arias saying she had started to tell the truth about how her boyfriend was murdered. Suze Orman was not telling much truth at all at that time, but was continuing to weave her usual webs of lies, which included having me continue to pay for all the expenses to create the video in spite of her secret windfall. At the time, Suze was still making big promises about how extravagantly she would repay me in the future, including the oft-repeated, "If this book takes off, I'll take care of you for the rest of your life." Instead, she tried to destroy my life and used my help to set the stage to plunder individuals, the economy, and the fabric of society.
During the seminar, as you'll see in the clip below, Suze told the PG&E retirees that she wouldn't charge them a specific fee for the consultations, but that they could decide how much they wanted to pay her for the consultations. These early retirees, who were already going through enough with this major life change and many decisions to make, had no idea that Suze had already been paid $250,000 from PG&E, with more to come, for giving several presentation meetings and to consult with the early retirees.
As far as I can see and recall, part of Suze's deal with PG&E was that she couldn't bill the retirees for personal consultations, which were meant to be covered by all the big checks PG&E were sending her way to give the retirees information as PG&E wanted her to give it, an early version of Suze's "price for advice" schemes. If the retirees wanted to give Suze a gift of gratitude on top, that would be okay according to the contract, as long as she didn't bill them. So it appears that Suze was playing a little con on these retirees, telling them - without the background information about how much she was being paid by PG&E - that they could pay her as much or as little as they wanted to pay, and that if they didn't want to pay her anything for the two-hour consultation, they could just stiff her. Of course, Suze was already receiving big pay, and depending on the investments she recommended, would also receive additional money in commissions, etc.
As you'll see two minutes into this clip, one gentleman from the retiree meeting could tell that Suze was a shyster. Since Suze was the person PG&E set up for them to consult with, the man was trying to be polite as he persistently asked Suze to tell him how much he should pay her, or what range would be appropriate, or how much others have paid her, also asking where does the money go? This "financial advisor" tells the man that she never even knows how much any client pays, because her secretary deposits all the checks anonymously into her personal checking account, and that she has no idea how much has been deposited or any range of what people have paid. It's a bunch of Suze Shenanigans, and you can tell that this fellow smells the scam.
Watch the earliest known recording of con artist Suze Orman in action:
I was so innocent and naive at the time that I missed most of Suze's scams, including this "pay me what you want while I'm already being paid by your company" game. I did, however, make the serious mistake of using my Hollywood contacts, time, resources, and skills to get Suze Orman onto her first two television shows and then knowingly producing, filming, scripting, and editing the video that gave a false impression of Suze’s media presence and financial expertise. This deceptive media presentation gave Suze the tools she needed to get her first book deal after her book proposal had been turned down by over thirty publishers. It is certainly possible that without my skills and help, the world would have never even heard the name Suze Orman. For my part in creating this damaging sham, I deeply apologize, while attempting to help clean up the mess I mistakenly helped to create.
I made the mistake of helping Suze onto the public stage with assistance that included producing a video that misrepresented her financial and media experience and helped her get her first publisher after her book proposal had been turned down by over thirty publishers. But then Oprah took my mistake and turned it into a worldwide blunder (God bless you Oprah for the good you've done, but the series of decisions that led to your pushing Suze onto the public and keeping her there in spite of thousands of complaints from your viewers and serious concerns from your entire Oprah Show producer team have been as harmful to individuals and the world as your spiritual and charitable works have been helpful).
Of far less concern than the significant damage Suze has caused to the world is the nevertheless revealing fact that she broke her word on every single one of her frequent extravagant promises of repayment that included, "The first thing I'll do with any money that comes in is to buy you a ($150,000) editing system," and "If this book takes off, I'll take care of you for the rest of your life." At the time, I assumed that Suze meant "take care of you" in terms of sharing some financial benefit from the career I'd helped to build, but it seems she meant she would "take care of me" in a South Side Chicago, mafiaesque way, based on the serious damage she intentionally caused to my life after I spent two years helping to make her greatest dreams come true - and I'm certainly not the only one who has experienced such troubles from Sociopathic Suze.
You can see the next spark of Suze's sham that came after the deceptive video I produced in this description of Suze's first meeting with top ICM agent Binky Urban, who took the sham to the next step, bigtime. Suze walked in the office to hear Binky tell someone to f*** themselves, which in Suze's eyes made her a "great woman." Urban's first words upon meeting Suze in the mid-1990s were: "Kid, those eyes of yours will make us millions of dollars but you've gotta lose 30 pounds," which is a far cry from, "Do you have any education or credentials to be writing finance books." Urban's response to Suze's concern that, "I don't know how to write," was to say, "Great. Finally an author who knows she can't write." One more piece of the Suze Orman Problem puzzle.
In Suze's own words, from Woman's Wear Daily:
When Binky Urban said, "Great. Finally an author who knows she can't write," does that mean that she's glad to be able to send Suze off to writing school? No, Suze Orman gave her representatives a chance to create a pseudo writer, who also happened to be a pseudo finance expert. But as Binky said, "Kid, those eyes of yours will make us millions of dollars but you've gotta lose 30 pounds." That led to a series of scams, shams, and shenanigans that led to Suze Orman being named one of the 100 most powerful people in the world. No wonder the economy is such a mess.
The Suze I knew personally and have observed publicly is a pathological liar with some alarming personality and behavioral disorders that have caused significant damage to to our economy, as well as to individuals and the social fabric. My goal in sharing my personal experiences and offering this presentation is to help stop the continuing and escalating damage from Suze's misuse of her extreme public influence.
Carrying the power and extreme influence that comes from being endorsed by some of the top media personalities of our time carries a responsibility, and Suze Orman has failed in that responsibility again and again, proclaiming her heartless, miserly, judgmental, dishonest, disrespectful, and selfish sociopathic personality aberrations as economic and social decrees. And that’s just the portion of Suze Orman’s advice that is not bought and paid for by a long string of corporations, with old shenanigans - including all but ignored discoveries by Forbes in 1998 that Suze had lied about her licenses and credentials - all but erased as Suze's new shenanigans come into play, with many shown in the abundant links within this article, which are still just the tip of the Suze Orman Problem iceberg that has caused, and continues to cause, significant damage to individuals, the economy, and our fabric of society.
From The Wall Street Journal, 2008: "Crisis Makes Suze Orman a Star"
One thing that came from my experiences with Suze is an ability to fairly easily tell when she is being deceptive, whether about her products or herself, which IMHO is most of the time. Life would be much more peaceful and less regretful for me if I couldn't so easily see Suze's shenanigans and deceptions. I don't take credit for Suze's success, because many others contributed to creating this sham, however I do feel a sense of personal responsibility and regret for the significant part I played in helping Suze onto the public stage. I invite others who have personal knowledge, experiences, and observations about these matters to also speak up and help clean up this troubling mess of Suze Orman's extreme influence on society and the economy.
Is this the face of an intelligent, trustworthy financial advisor who is trying to help someone make good financial decisions about whether to purchase a computer laptop, presumably to help upgrade the person's life and work in some way? Dear reader, have you ever made a face this angry, except perhaps in a dire emergency situation? I hope to never make a face like this in my life. With this as the ugly face of personal finance, spewing shame, fear, and anger to keep people buying her wares, it is no wonder today's economy is in the mess it is in.
Suze hasn't even hid her almost complete lack of credentials – in almost every talk for more than a decade, she tells the same “inspiring” story about how she barely made it through school to get a B.A. in social work after many years, never received above a “C” in ANY class, grew up in the South Side Chicago hood, lived in her van and was working as a waitress for $400/month. Of course, it is intriguing and in a sense for some inspiring to see how someone with no credentials has made her dreams come true, until you realize that her impressive con artist skills have placed her in a position where she has enough power over the economy and society to be named one of Time Magazine's 100 most powerful people in the world in two recent years, thanks apparently in part to her mega-supportive team of billionaires Jack and Suzy Welch, who wrote the essay about why Suze deserves to have so much influence.
After convincing her restaurant customers to loan her $50,000, Suze's Merrill Lynch broker lost much of the money, after she probably begged him to get her the most and quickest return possible, based on the Suze I knew. After the money was lost, Suze convinced, or perhaps threatened, Merrill Lynch to hire and train this waitress with zero financial education for what was supposed to be a six-month program that Suze claims was arranged due to their need to fill a new quota regulation for women employees.
Just as the 6-month employment was about to end, Suze sneakily sued Merrill Lynch, creating a situation where they couldn't legally fire her as the case sat for the next two years. Finally, another manager came to the company and apparently realized it was worth it for them to pay Suze her $50,000 investment plus 18% interest to get rid of her. After Merrill Lynch, Suze was hired by Prudential-Bache, she’s said it was again because they had a woman’s quota to fill. Then came more shenanigans that Suze doesn't include in her narrative, including conning, using, and abusing various financial and political expert devotees of our mutual spiritual path, and convincing me to get Suze on her first two television shows and to produce, film, and edit the deceptive video that helped her get a first book deal.
In 1998, Forbes tried to warn people about Suze's deceptions, and corrected quite a few lies and inaccuracies in her story and bio, including this bit:
You'll find the first part of this narrative included in almost every talk Suze has ever given - nearly every Suze talk I've seen or heard has been almost the same talk over and over for the past ten-plus years, with the same "epiphanies" such as "Women fake orgasms; men fake finances," Suze's intriguing quote that "Truth creates money while lies destroy it" - intriguing given Suze's financial success due to her long string of deceptions. Then come "Suze's five laws," which, along with much of Suze's other "wisdom," she has plagiarized and presented as though her own wise thoughts. Suze and I both heard about and discussed these five laws from Mikha'il Na'ima's Book of Mirdad from the same spiritual course in the early 1990s, even though she claims them to be "Suze's five laws," while giving the impression that they have come from her own "brilliant" mind - and they'll probably go down in history that way, if Suze has her druthers. More on Suze's extreme plagiarizing of spiritual wisdom here.
You don't have to take my word about Suze's questionable resume - she shares bits and pieces of the story in nearly every talk, interview, and QVC appearance. The video clip below is an example of Suze's "illustrious" resume in her own words, given at the 2012 NCLR Hispanic Conference right before she tried to exploit the Hispanic community with her prepaid debit card scam. Note that there is zero mention of achieving her success through anything resembling hard work, dedication, a motive of wanting to help anyone but herself, or any admirable quality aside from ambition, ruthless perseverance, being bold enough to play various legal games, and suing the company that hired her so they couldn't fire her. Suze has stated in hundreds of talks that when her Merrill Lynch broker lost her money, she decided to go into a financial career, "because I realized that brokers just make you broker."
As per her usual modus operandi, Suze is still giving public kicks to that Merrill Lynch manager who gave her a first entry into the financial world by hiring her for six months when she had not a single whit of financial education or experience, and giving Suze her first financial training of any kind, before she forced her way into two years of employment there by suing the company just as the six months she was hired for to meet women's quotas was about to end. In the clip below, as in most of her talks, Suze further embarrasses the manager who opened the door to her financial future, humiliating him by name two decades later with a sadistic relish, because he made a joke while hiring Suze for those six months to help fill the company's woman quota that in his opinion, women should be barefoot and pregnant, which he probably said with a twinkle in his eye while hiring this waitress who had zero financial education or experience to work as a broker at Merrill Lynch. Here Suze tells some of the story:
This was from Suze's talk at the 2012 NCLR conference. National Council of La Raza is ironically the largest national Hispanic civic rights and advocacy organization in the United States. After extolling her dubious resume, Suze proceeded to fool those attending this Hispanic conference, and practically begged them to trust that her fee-laden prepaid debit card was a good banking alternative for them, which reminded me of how begging was one of the manipulative ways Suze used to get me to help her in the early 1990s, when she was also learning to use various psychological "mind control" word combinations and methods to get people to do what she wanted (with some examples below in the section on Suze's behavioral problems).
This situation has brought many life tests to my door, including the challenge to do what is right above what is easy - to speak up when it might be more safe and convenient to stay silent. I deeply regret helping to create the Suze Orman problem in the early 1990s,when I used my Hollywood contacts to get Suze booked on her first two television show appearances, and then used clips from those shows and other pieces I filmed to produce and edit a professional video that, in contrast with my usual commitment to honesty, portrayed a deceptive image of Suze’s financial knowledge and media presence. At the time, we were trying to fool a publisher into thinking Suze was a bonafide financial advisor. Who would have thought those deceptions would grow to make Suze one of the most influential financial advisors in the country, if not the world?
Imagine if Dr. Oz hadn't taken a single class on medicine, and was being propped up with ghostwriters and behind the scenes advisors, while also reading books and watching medical shows to give a semblance of being an expert doctor. That's what Suze Orman is doing, and fooling you all. Well, not all, since nearly every single person I've discussed this with could already see that there was much wrong with her. Almost all of them have specifically said that they turn the channel whenever Suze comes onscreen, but obviously many others are tuning in, and it is difficult for anyone with any media exposure to avoid Suze Orman completely.
Obviously Suze is smart enough to have gotten good advisors and listened to CNBC enough to figure out certain financial information and trends, in spite of her almost total lack of finance education and her inability to achieve above a “C” in even a single class while spending many years getting her Bachelors of Arts degree in Social Work before working for seven years as a waitress and then running her shenanigans on Merrill Lynch. Over the years, Suze honed her BS skills with her naturally sociopathic nature to the degree that she can pass a lie as though it were the truth. Here is one example of how readily Suze admits lying when caught – more examples below in the section about Suze’s behavioral problems.
Suze has used the same kinds of dishonest and manipulative tactics she used on me to fool and plunder individuals and the U.S. economy, filling her pockets and those of her long list of corporate and bank industry sponsors, often with funds from those who are struggling financially. It is no coincidence that Suze's shams and scams have been supported by many of the top 1%ers, as she pushes deceptive plugs that are often paid for by banks and corporations, in the guise of trustworthy advice. The Suze Orman "Approved" prepaid debit card fiasco of 2012, documented below, is a clear example of Suze taking her usual scams onto a whole other level of what is clearly outright fraud. In my opinion, Suze is acting as a tool for the 1% to bring down the poor and the middle class.
I have no interest in causing any harm to Suze with this presentation, and I trust that she'll be fine regardless of anything I have to say. I'm not the judge and jury here; I'm just the presenter of information and observations, and yes, opinions. It will be up to others whether she continues her shenanigans or ends up in prison with Bernie Madoff, since I think of Suze as somewhat of a Bernie Madoff for the poor. Certainly government agencies have visited this page, perhaps looking into the blatant fraud she's tried to perpetuate on the poorest Americans with her "Approved" prepaid debit card scam of 2012, not to mention her 2011-2012 Money Navigator Newsletter shenanigans, which some journalists have suggested violate anti-fraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933, along with all her other scams, shenanigans, and corporate-sponsored advice for the past fifteen-plus years.
And from the same article:
I do have compassion for Suze, because in spite of generating great amounts of money and already having more wealth, fame, and power than she would even need, Suze is still damaged enough to plunder people to get more, a sign of a spiritually unhappy person. I would never want to be someone who looks at others in terms of what they can plunder from them, regardless of how many yachts and powerful friends it buys. Those who would fool and exploit others when they already have more than enough are the very poorest of the poor in what is more important in life. So I do have compassion for Suze, but am not going to stand by silently while she plunders the poor, especially at this vulnerable time for the US and world economy. I really thought her jig would be up long ago.
In this article, along with a focus on the prepaid debit card scam, you'll find examples of Suze's ongoing schemes within the overall deception of her almost completely uncredentialed "financial expert" career, along with video, Twitter, and other examples of her often corporate-sponsored "advice" and seriously troubling behavior. There are many more examples of Suze's lies and shenanigans that I could post, surely many more that others could post, but this article is long enough. It could probably use a good editor, so please excuse any duplicated information. This isn't my usual kind of project.
Plagiarizing and distorting spiritual teachings
Much of Suze's financial advice is also plagiarized; I have spoken to one expert who said Suze would call him to ask what she should say in response to current financial market developments in her social media and television interviews, after which she would present his words as her own. A few others have also come forth to point out Suze's use of behind the scenes experts to present her shams, although most signed away their right to speak up in Suze's ironclad confidentiality agreements. However, in this section, I will be showing evidence of Suze's plagiarizing of spiritual teachings in ways that are deceptive and often blatantly untrue.
Of course it is great to share positive teachings that we've learned for the benefit of others. It is also common for devotees and disciples of gurus to incorporate their teachings in our own offerings. However, Suze has plagiarized and appropriated spiritual wisdom as her own direct quotes to give a false impression of herself, and she has distorted them in ways that ruin or even turn the meaning of those wisdom quotes upside-down.
Suze has plagiarized more than spiritual wisdom -- just recently, I spoke with a financial expert who told me about how Suze would call this expert before she went on television shows or other interviews, and before commenting on current events on her social media. Suze would ask this expert what she should say, which she would basically repeat as though the expert's insights were her own, the kind of shams Suze has done throughout her career. Nevertheless, in this section, I am focusing more on how Suze has plagiarized and distorted spiritual teachings.
Over the years, Suze has often tossed out quotes from our mutual guru and spiritual community as if they were her own - one of our guru's secretaries complained to me about this years ago, yet Suze continues to do so. On one hand, it is good that Suze learned some bona fide spiritual teachings from the path, on the other hand, the spiritual teachings she quotes are often the opposite of what she is actually doing, and are often distorted to appear to support Suze's problematic actions, rude behavior, and personally motivated advice.
In the following tweet from January 15th, and while defending her prepaid card from criticism in an interview with Arianna Huffington, Suze fights back at critics using a common Indian wisdom quote that was often shared by our mutual spiritual guru, while also sending out a not-so-veiled threat to those who tell the truth about her behavior or her card.
This quote about the elephant walking while dogs are barking is a common Indian idiom that was originally composed by the highly revered 15th century poet sage Kabir, and has been taught by our guru and other teachers in our mutual spiritual community. The quote refers to someone who takes refuge in God above worldly matters, not someone who is trying to defend her rip-off debit card from scrutiny. This is just one of many examples of how Suze has distorted spiritual teachings to serve her greedy purposes, and one of many reasons I've felt obliged to share some additional information and personal observations and experiences with Suze in this article.
In May, 2012, Suze not only repeated this quote by Kabir again out of context in response to criticisms of her prepaid debit card in Jon Friedman's Wall Street Journal blog, but she actually took credit for having an epiphany while watching an elephant walk by barking dogs in India and writing this quote all by herself, which is a complete and utter lie. Both Suze and I have heard this quote many times in our spiritual community's courses, where it was explored in its proper spiritual context, and it is likely that she and I probably also discussed the quote in its proper context at some point during our hundreds of hours of conversation.
Here is Suze's blatant lie from Jon Friedman's article in MarketWatch, titled, "Suze Orman doesn't care if you hate her":
In the same MarketWatch article, Suze shares her oft-repeated suggestion that anyone criticizing anything about her is looking for "their 15 minutes of fame." Well, I can assure you that this topic is the last one I would want to become known for out of my many positive works, and I'm sure most others who have spoken up would feel the same way.
As with many other articles criticizing Suze - some of which were completely re-edited or removed soon after Suze's 2012 prepaid debit card fiasco - the comments in the above article have all been deleted. Here is a web-image of the MarketWatch article with page one of the now-deleted comments, including this one:
Here is another spiritual sounding message Suze recently posted, as she has done before with this phrase, as though it were her own original thoughts. "The gatekeepers of speech" was expounded by Socrates and others, and we heard it during courses at the ashram we mutually attended, but in this Twitter posting, right in the midst of a wave of critical media reports about her prepaid debit card scam, Suze is using this ancient wisdom as an attempt to silence the critics:
This is certainly not a teaching Suze has not practiced herself while insulting and blasting critics of her card and people in general.
In this video clip recorded a couple weeks before Suze posted this wise-sounding quote in February 2012, she is speaking with staff at Oprah's OWN channel and some television journalists, when she calls motivational speaker Tony Robbins - who was about to be Oprah's guest on her "Life Class" show - a "stupid asshole," because his financial advice differs from hers. And as one more proof of the power of bad company, the OWN staff all laugh at her slur against their upcoming guest. Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it true?:
Years ago, I was attending a New Years retreat where our mutual guru gave her annual message of guidance for the year, which was, "A Golden Mind, A Golden Life," given along with an extensive exploration of the Bhagavad Gita verse 17:16 on which the message was based, referring to the noble traits of mind that create a positive life. From Bhagavad Gita verse 17:16: “Peace of mind, gentleness, silence, self-restraint, purity of being; these are called austerity of the mind.” That is what our guru was teaching with her message, "A Golden Mind, A Golden Life," certainly not qualities that Suze has demonstrated in her own life.
Several hours after hearing this message, I was flipping through television stations to check the news. As I flipped by QVC, there was Suze selling her products. I watched for a few minutes, and was shocked to hear Suze pitching her product by saying - just hours after our guru had unveiled her precious teaching for the year - "As I always like to say, 'A Golden Mind, A Golden Life!'" - speaking as though the quote were her own, and suggesting that it was specifically referring to money and her QVC products. One more example of how Suze will bastardize anything to put a few more dollars into her pocket.
This is how Suze presents what are supposedly “her” five laws of life in her book Courage to Be Rich, which are often quoted as "Suze Orman's Five Laws of Life":
Suze often repeats these laws, always as though it were her own wisdom. This quote has been re-quoted as "Suze Orman's Five Laws of Life" in various blogs and other writings over the years, and may go down in history as the wisdom of Suze Orman, and Suze has never corrected the record, and clearly has been trying to give the false impression that these were her own words. Suze's Five Laws are actually plagiarized from Lebanese author and poet Mikha'il Na'ima's, who wrote in his "Book of Mirdad":
"This is the way to freedom from care and pain:
So think as if your every thought were to be etched in fire upon the sky for all and everything to see. For so, in truth, it is.
So speak as if the world entire were but a single ear intent on hearing what you say. And so, in truth, it is.
So do as if your every deed were to recoil upon your heads. And so, in truth, it is.
So wish as if you were the wish. And so, in truth, you are.
So live as if your God Himself had need of you His life to live. And so, in truth, He does."
I was actually in association with Suze when we took a meditation course that included this quote, which in the course was given as a translation pretty much word for word as Suze has published it in her book and in articles. I remember that Suze and I discussed the meaning of this quote during some of our hundreds of hours of conversation. Who would have guessed that one day Suze would take credit for this bit of wisdom as if it were her own, and use it to fool people into thinking she is wise or that she has followed the teaching herself - because if Suze's deeds were to recoil upon her head as the quote states, I would feel very sorry for her indeed.
During May of 2013, I watched some of the "Jodi Arias Trial" being covered by my old friend and Disney co-worker, Jane Velez Mitchell on CNN's HLN. Quickly, I saw how Jodi and Suze shared quite a few traits, such as being able to lie with absolute ease, creating webs of fabrication, as Suze did with her prepaid debit card and other scams and shenanigans, also using spiritual teachings to cover up their misdeeds and paint a picture of being more altruistic than they are. In my opinion and observation, Suze Orman is someone who can only think about herself and what she wants. If she seems to do something that appears to be nice or altruistic for another person, it is usually for show, and always with an ulterior motive. It is difficult for people who are not sociopaths to understand their mentality, which is why so many of us get fooled and harmed by our associations with narcissistic sociopaths. Suze's sociopathology and unending desires for more power, wealth, and fame, together with extreme public influence given to her by Oprah Winfrey and others, has been a dangerous combination for the US economy and the lives of many individuals who -- as is often the case with damaged and damaging people such as Suze Orman -- are left harmed and trying to pick up their lives behind the sociopath's plundering path.
Many of the spiritual-sounding quotes attributed to Suze Orman are in fact unattributed quotes from our gurus and ancient scriptures and sages that Suze has shared as thought they were her own original thoughts and wisdom, usually distorted to support her materialistic agenda. It's just one more part of the Suze shenanigans. By quoting and often distorting these words of wisdom as though they were her own, Suze has fooled some people into thinking she is wise and that miserliness, cold-heartedness, and greed are spiritual.
Of course, then you might say that Suze's main message is very altruistic sounding: "People first, then money, then things." It certainly isn't how Suze's lived her life, based on my experience and observation, but it does sound good. Yes, put the needs of people first, it almost sounds like a Christian teaching. But many times, Suze has clarified that when she says, "people first," it means to put yourself first, which does sound much more in line with how Suze lives her own life. So here we have this thin disguise of spirituality for those who don't look further and think Suze's message is kindhearted and altruistic at the core, when the core of Suze Orman's messages (at least the ones that are not ghostwritten or paid for by corporations) is actually selfish, disrespectful, shaming, fear-based, and really a sociopathic approach to put yourself first. Also, when Suze says put yourself first, she clearly means to put your money first, based on denying people their life dreams and even personal preferences if they don't have Suze's approved list of savings.
So Suze' fans have had to reconcile the spiritual sounding phrases with the behavior they have seen in Suze's television show appearances and Twitter behaviors. More than one person has written to me using the phrase, "Emperor's new clothes" when referring to Suze, and I think it is an apt parallel.
Suze's Occult nature
Back in the early 1990s, Suze was much more into using occultism and manipulative techniques than other people I've known. Her approach to spirituality often had a flavor of dark energy, and seemed to be almost exclusively focused on using spiritual and occult methods to get what she wanted.
All that's missing are the horns.
In 1993, a year before Suze's first book was published, her dark occult nature even alarmed a well-known psychic who often worked with police to solve crimes. Suze was always going to many psychics and astrologers; in fact, she had suggested that I go to this psychic -- it was my first experience of going to one -- and since everything tended to be about Suze, she had asked me to show the psychic her photo, which elicited the psychic's alarming warnings about pre-famous Suze Orman. Cheri saw a photo of Suze, whom she had never heard of or met; she didn't know anything beyond the fact that we were friends. It was one of many warnings that I did not heed.
Listen to the the psychic's prescient warning about Suze:
I remember Suze often bragging that she could talk anyone into anything, and telling me about a list of phrases she had learned that were meant to magically manipulate people into giving you whatever you want. Since manipulating people has never been an interest of mine, I didn't record the list, but I'm pretty sure one of them was "I admit that I was wrong," which would apparently get you off the hook for things. Note that this was the exact phrase Suze used in 2012, after her rude and insulting behavior on Twitter toward finance journalists who were critical about her prepaid debit card scam, including New York Times journalist Ron Lieber, looked like it would damage her brand.
Then she tossed out a a couple more of that old favorite occult phrase, "I admit that I was wrongs" to save her brand:
Another of the occult lines Suze learned in the early 1990s to manipulate people was, "I want you to," which is something Suze also says quite often to create a sense of domination over viewers who are just tuning in with hopes of getting their finances in order, and not to get caught in Suze's occult methods that I believe have also snagged Suze supporters such as Oprah Winfrey and Kathy Griffin.
Suze's Questionable Money Class Quiz Contest
A number of our website guests have found this "Problem with Suze Orman" page by searching for information about what they generally typed in as, "Suze Orman money class winner scam." Suze went on countless shows promising to give $50,000 and a number of $5,000 prizes from her own money to OWN show viewers who watched her shows, within which the answers were given, a move that was obviously intended to get more viewers and pump up (ie. bribe/pay for) better Nielsen ratings. When asked in a recent interview how she gives back, such as charitable giving, this payment that was announced throughout the media landscape as a ploy to increase ratings for her own show was the only specific example Suze gave:
In another example of how Suze inspires her supporters to be deceptive and fool people like she does, Oprah sent out a Twitter message asking her followers if any of them need more money as a deceptive pitch for people to watch Suze's "Money Class" show on OWN, which drew criticism from followers and a few brave media sources:
But were these widely touted prizes even paid? And if so, were they paid to random viewers or not? Throughout her media appearances, Suze pitched watching her show as a way for viewers to win money by taking a quiz at the end. Part of the contest was for viewers to submit an essay about what they like most about Suze's show (also giving Suze Orman and Co. the right to do anything she wants with their laudatory essays of praise for Suze).
Based on quite a few searches that brought guests to this page, some apparently think the prizes may not have been actually given properly to contest entrants, which is not surprising based on this clip where Suze rattles off a few first names with a style that did set off my "Suze-Scamdar."
This would be one more place for an investigative journalist or agency to look into, although it would be hard to imagine that OWN would allow Suze to promise winnings in a contest and then pretend to give them, or give them to people she knows, although that's exactly what I'd expect the Suze I knew to do.
Some of My Personal Experiences with Suze
It's not really pleasant to have to share the unsavory details about my personal experiences with Suze Orman, however, I feel it is important to give one more piece of the puzzle into the overall Suze Orman problem that I can describe from personal experience. Many other pieces of the puzzle can be found in the other articles I've linked to in this presentation, including a November 2013 article in The Daily Beast that includes some telling quotes, and this article from the New York Times, both of which are replete with examples of Suze's sociapathology.
On the threshold of the 1990s, I left nearly a decade of dedicated, monastic, ashram life, where I'd offered many kinds of service from milking the sacred cows to producing hundreds of small and large videos for the international spiritual organization. From there, I entered the Los Angeles television and film business, where I was soon editing and producing many top television shows, winning local, national, and international awards, and working with over a thousand reporters, producers, directors, and crews from many different studios, before moving to a quieter life of spiritual works and creative service, a shift that took place, in part, due to troubles that came from my association with Suze Orman. Here is a photo album of my times in the ashram and Hollywood. And here you can watch clips from some of my videos, films, and shows.
After moving from the ashram to Hollywood, I discovered that I had somewhat of a knack for helping people to begin or uplevel successful careers, by connecting them to the right people, by producing video reels for them, and often by coming up with consulting ideas that would open new avenues of success. I was happy to have contributed to the careers of quite a few talented people who had much good to offer to the world, including Charlie Rose and Simon Cowell. It is my joy to help good people who can bring great things to the world, however my error of judgment in allowing Suze Orman to convince me to go against my usual integrity to produce a deceptive video about her financial and media credentials, which helped give Suze entry onto the public stage, has brought a deeply unfortunate and ongoing source of regret, because just about every time I've seen Suze show up on all the supposedly trustworthy shows she frequents, I would see her continuing to plunder the public, just as she once plunderred me and others I knew.
When I first met Suze, I had never previously met a bonafide sociopath as far as I know. I was as innocent as could be, coming from a monastic life where we learned to trust God and to say "Yes," when asked to do some service. Suze knew about these qualities in the spiritual community devotees. She was already somewhat notorious for cheating and plundering a number of other devotees in the community by the time we first met in late 1991. I received a call from our spiritual community's headquarters asking me to work with this woman devotee from Oakland, California to produce a video for our mutual spiritual community.
From the day we met, Suze revealed herself to be an unscrupulous person. With my successful television career, she obviously saw me as someone who could help her to achieve her goals in various ways. From the day we met, Suze came after me, using every plea and con she could come up with to get me to be friends with her beyond just working together on the project. First she phoned me at midnight on the day we met, while I was staying at the Oakland ashram, where everyone was long asleep in preparation for the morning practices of chanting and meditation. I don't know how Suze convinced the operator to put the call through -- I assume she told some lie as she usually does, probably about having some important communication regarding our video project. In fact, she started the conversation by telling me that she had come up with several songs that might work for our video, but then proceeded to play love songs, including "Goodnight My Love," and "Getting to Know You." Suze then declared with her emphatic style that people now know so well, that she was head over heels in love with me. I explained that I not only was not gay, but that I'd just left a decade of ashram life where I'd chosen to live a monastic life in terms of not having any romantic relationships, seeking to experience the depths of love for God, for the Divine, for the Self, and ultimately for all. At the time, I did have some interest in a fellow I was working with at Disney, however I was wanting to focus on my career and transition first, and ease into a first relationship at a gentle pace.
But Suze would not let it go. She begged, cajoled, and eventually talked me into having a friendship relationship with her that would not have any sexual elements, but from her perspective was some kind of relationship beyond just a usual friendship. I wasn't even sure exactly what this pushy woman's strange request would entail, since I'd barely had a few dating situations during my teens and hadn't watched television shows or movies, or even listened to usual commercial love songs for the previous decade. But there this pushy woman was, calling me at midnight on the day we met, playing love songs and insisting that she'd fallen head over heels in love with me -- definitely not something I was used to dealing with. I didn't have any attraction to Suze in that way, didn't know enough to especially like her then, and grew to like her even less as I got to know her harmful ways.
However, once she got the hooks in, Suze took over and used her manipulative skills to convince me to go against my better judgment in several ways, including helping to start Suze's public writing and speaking career in a way that compromised my usual commitment to honesty and integrity, at a time when nobody had ever heard of Suze Orman. I made the mistake of allowing her to talk me into getting Suze on her first two televison appearances, and then using my skills to produce, film, and edit a video that misrepresented her financial expertise and media experience at a time when Suze was unpublished, unknown, and deeply in debt. This was the video that would help Suze get her first book deal after her proposal without the video had been turned down by over thirty publishers.
Suze's arsenal in manipulating people includes extravagant use of excessive praise. She would often tell me I was the most brilliant woman she'd ever known, in her usual con artist technique of flattery that she still frequently uses to get journalists and others to help propagate her scams. Suze was not beneath begging or pleading to get me to do whatever she wanted. I was innocent, naive and not at all prepared for this manipulative sociopath, who had discovered that the often trusting and innocent ashram community members were easy prey for her to use, abuse, and plunder.
In fact, soon after I began helping Suze, she was all but banished from her local ashram community by a decree from on high for violating and causing harm to other community members, mostly women. Our mutual guru had previously asked Suze to stop going after the devotees, which I only found out after Suze had already sunk her claws into me and herself told me about our guru's request. During our two years of our association, I made the most regretful blunder of my life by putting aside clear indications from the day we met that all was clearly not well with Suze, and allowing her manipulations - including lavish promises of extravagant repayment - to push me into continuing to associate with her and using my skills, resources, and Hollywood contacts to help begin her public speaking and writing career at a time when she was unpublished, unknown, and deeply in debt.
In this photo, we were celebrating my 1992 Emmy win at the Emmy after-party, during a time when I was helping to spark Suze's writing and public speaking career. When the professional photographer came by to take the photo of me with my award, Suze grabbed and posed with it as if it were hers. This didn't bother me too much at the time, but it is nevertheless is a metaphor for what Suze does with the talent of the many she has used and harmed to create the sham of her expert status and fill her own pockets.
Suze had quite a few unusual qualities. She had all but removed her breasts as a cosmetic surgery years before we met, obviously before the surgery techniques were perfected, since she had big cross scars over what was left. Most people know from her interview that she’s never been with a man, although Suze confessed to me once that he had molested her friend’s dog. I’ve never known anyone else who did such a thing, certainly nobody who did such at thing and told me about it. This is who Oprah and company have put on a pedestal to tell other women to leave their husbands and refuse to help their children with things like college.
Another difference between Suze and anyone else I’ve known is that when I knew Suze, she all but refused to brush her teeth, saying that she had some kind of bone disease that made her teeth sensitive, so she often had bad breath. This makes it especially intriguing to see that she’s chosen to make her current “teeth” that are a completely different shape from her natural ones blindingly white. Of course it is fine to need false teeth, however she then attributed their blinding whiteness to Crest white strips in response to a Twitter message that she could have just as easily ignored -- one more example of her innate dishonesty and love of lying about things large and small.
When I visited her house, I discovered another one of Suze’s traits that was actually stranger than the idiosyncrasies of all but one of the many roomates I’d lived with during nearly a decade of monastic ashram life, when visitors and residents of all kinds would live, often eight people to a room, with a lot of turnover. Suze’s strange quirk was that if she ever saw a hair, just a regular hair that had fallen off of someone’s head, it would freak her out. And if the hair was wet, such as left in the shower, she would scream like a middle aged woman calling her husband to come and kill a big spider, and she would be furious with whoever had left the hair there. (So if you’re wanting to give Suze a no thank you gift, you know what to do.) These are just a few more intriguing facts if any professionals want to come up with a profile of Suze’s psychological distortions.
While helping to spark Suze's public and writing career, I knew we were pushing it a bit to try to present her as a bona fide "financial expert" in spite of her serious lack of finance education and credentials. Our vision was to turn her into the financial Martha Stewart, but I never imagined that we were creating a Frankenstein. I never imagined that Suze's mixture of general finance advice, combined with rude behavior, shaming, fear-mongering, and often conflicting, irresponsible, heartless, blanket, and corporate-sponsored, profit-motivated, often deceptive whims and notions would be hosted by some of the most widely trusted shows and news outlets in the land, with Suze problematically guiding the economic mentality and income streams of millions of people, and contributing to the greed-based, cold-hearted culture that has been harming our economy and world -- combined with some basic financial information and a few spiritual-sounding words and unattributed quotes from our mutual guru and ashram community tossed on top to give the impression that Suze's teachings of money obsession, miserliness, and greed are spiritual.
This is my most regrettable mistake (Kumuda is my spiritual name from the ashram):
Suze has caused serious damage to the lives of at least three women whose names are on this relatively short list of acknowledgments, and to at least one I know of whose name deserved to be on it.
The video I produced and funded, with frequent promises of extravagant repayments from Suze, helped Suze get her first book deal after her proposal had already been turned down by over thirty publishers. Eventually, Suze stole every cent of the frequently promised payment, and instead took a vow never to speak to me again in her life after I gave a few sentences of feedback about her abusive behavior right when her first book that I'd helped her with was at the printer and about to be released. Please note that I am not sharing to complain about the payment or lack of payment, even though Suze's promises were frequent and substantial. It was well worth losing even a large sum of promised money just to be rid of this sociopath so I could move forward in my life journey. Unfortunately, even if Suze had a conscience awakening or other impetus to finally repay her debt to me, I wouldn't be able to accept money that has come from her plundering of individuals, the economy, and the world. The reason I am sharing some of my personal experiences is to add my piece of the puzzle to this presentation on why Suze Orman is seriously the wrong kind of person to have any influence on society, much less be one of the most influential people in today's world.
Just using and ripping me off was not enough for sociopathic Suze. She then took steps to destroy and take away what was most important to me. Suze and her henchman spent years spreading a Suze Orman style misinformation campaigns of false rumors about me throughout our mutual spiritual community, with the clear intention of destroying my good reputation and longtime relationship with the path.
Suze has unleashed this kind of reputation destruction on others who have helped to begin or uplift her career; it is the same kind of behavior she continues to this day, as you'll see in some of the linked examples below. Most of Suze's victims don't want to speak up publicly for obvious reasons.
Here you can watch a clip from the filming of Suze's first television interview that I pulled strings and asked major favors from news station colleagues to arrange. I also arranged for a nationally syndicated show that I was working for called "The Senior Report" to film and broadcast an interview with the then completely unknown Suze. These appearances helped Suze get a deal with PG&E, educating and encouraging their older employees to take an early retirement option.
I've since heard from several sources including this comment in the New York Times that Suze says she was paid $250,000 in one month to convince these employees to retire, although in her usual deceptive and thieving way, she didn't let me know about this pay at the time, even though the shows I'd gotten her on helped her to convince PT&E that she was a savvy financial professional. Instead, Suze allowed me to continue to think she was deeply in debt, and even asked me to pay for all the expenses to produce, film, and edit her promotional video and offer other assistance, with ongoing promises of extravagant repayments in the future.
I took a day off from my usual TV show work and paid my own airfare to fly up to San Francisco for a day to film Suze giving the early retirement information at a three-hour meeting for PG&E early retiree candidates, where we had Suze dress to the hilt so I could edit it all together and make Suze look like a savvy financial expert speaking in front of a larger and more elegant audience. Before the filming, Suze flew down to Los Angeles, and I took her to famed hair stylist Sally Hershberger's studio, where Sally herself gave Suze the first version of her "Suze Orman" haircut, although I've never heard Suze give credit to Sally, just as she tends not to give credit to the many others who have helped to create her career. No, Suze wants to convey a magical sheen of magically flying from waitress to financial expert of the world just because she is so beyond most human beings.
My participation in helping to spark Suze's public and writing career has been a constant source of concern and regret for me personally, since I unfortunately contributed to the initial deception by getting Suze booked and interviewed on these first two television shows, and allowed her to convince me to go against my usual honest nature and use my Emmy award-winning skills to produce a professionally edited video that gave a false impression of her media presence - the video that played a significant role in getting Suze's first book publishing contract. This is another aspect of what Suze does - she gets people to go against their own personal morals to suit her whims.
At the time, Suze's book proposal had already been turned down by over thirty publishers, and she wanted to pitch Esther Margolis at Newmarket Press, who would only consider authors who had media exposure. So like a one-person PR company, I used my skills and contacts to produce, film, and edit a media reel that portrayed Suze as a media savvy finance expert.
Here you can watch a clip from the filming of Suze's first television interview that I pulled strings and asked major favors from colleagues to arrange. I used my award-winning editing skills to carefully, deceptively, edit bits and pieces of a seriously poor interview like this, along with other footage I arranged and filmed, into a video that made Suze look like a media savvy financial expert and helped her to get her first publisher after her book proposal had been turned down by over thirty publishers.
Suze's first television interview
A clip from the PG&E presentation
After nearly two years of frequent mentions that, "I'm going to use the first funds that come in from this book to buy you a ($150,000 at the time) AVID editing system," and "If this book takes off, I'll take care of you for the rest of your life," just as her book was at the printer and about to be published, with double thanks to me in the acknowledgments, Suze behaved more abusively than usual, and then became upset when I gave a few words of feedback about her behavior. As though she'd planned the whole interaction, which I'm quite sure she did, and without a second thought, Suze took a vow never to speak to me again in her entire life, and tossed every one of her many promises of repayment for my two years of generous assistance into the trash - without as much as a penny of pay or even a copy of the book.
Instead, Suze spent years spreading false rumors throughout our mutual spiritual community to ruin my reputation. I've been told she also tried to ruin the reputations of others who significantly helped her, and she is still doing it, as demonstrated in in this 2012 Twitter conversation.
After spending a year wishing to find out who would possibly be behind a campaign of false negative rumors about me that was spreading throughout our international spiritual community and ruining my good reputation, I have to say that I was shocked to find out it was Suze’s destructive campaign, and to later be told that she’d done similar things to others. The moment when Suze’s best friend, who was spreading the rumors, confessed to me that she had done it on Suze’s request was a moment when I lost a certain faith in humanity – one of the frequent effects of associating with Suze Orman. Unfortunately, many who have their own stories to tell are bound by the confidentiality agreements Suze and her best friend (and lawyer) have had them sign.
At the time, I was just relieved to have this sociopath out of my life, and hoped I would never have to see her face again (cue the Twilight Zone music). Instead, I would have to spend many years watching Suze plunder and fool the world, just as she plundered and fooled me and many others, as she continued to cause wave after wave of damage to individuals, the economy, and the fabric of society.
A University psychology professor who also knows Suze described to me what he saw as Suze finding ways to dig her psychic hooks into people. One of the stranger examples of this dynamic is Kathy Griffin, who usually calls other shysters out, but practically worships Suze. Kathy barely seems able to get through a comedy set or interview appearance without referencing Suze in generally positive terms that include repeating many times on many interview shows that Suze should be the president of the United States, a joke that continues in 2013, sounding more serious than joking (Huffington Post, May 2013: "Kathy Griffin Wants a Lesbian President, Nominates Suze Orman"). I'm guessing Kathy has an arrangement where Suze pays her for these mentions, but that's just a guess. In this clip, Kathy explains how Suze is like Jesus. Apparently, Kathy began gushing about Suze as her idol when they met and Suze convinced Kathy to fire her manager. That is something I read, but do not know for sure, as I also heard that on Suze's first show with Oprah, she basically told Oprah not to feel obliged to help family members financially (notice a pattern?)
Suze the narcissistic sociopath has also been insinuating that she would make a good president of the United States. Perhaps she figures that if she could con her way into her current unqualified position, why not play the game to the top. Then she could get behind the scenes experts to help her fake it and just sell the country off to the highest bidder piece by piece, like she's done with her sponsored advice, paid endorsements, inflammatory headlines, distorted advice, and exploitive products like the so-called "Approved" Prepaid Debit card.
Several years ago, Kathy Griffin's assistant, Jessica, who had previously contacted me to say thanks after reading and enjoying one of my books, shared her concerns about how Suze's effect on Kathy was like a cult. In the clip below you see Suze on Kathy's "D-List" show, emasculating one of Kathy's assistants and trying to humiliate Jessica on national television by calling her "stupid, just stupid" because she was leasing a reasonable car.
NOTE: Even though Suze tells Jessica in this clip that leasing a car is the stupidest thing she'll ever do in her life, when I knew Suze in the early 1990s, she was leasing a top of the line BMW, along with all of her other extravagant indulgences, and this was at a time when Suze was more than one hundred thousand dollars in debt, not including all her promised repayments to me and others that she had apparently always intended to break and blow off. At the time of this show, Jessica had a good job and could actually afford the lease, although soon after this show aired, after many years of working as Kathy's assistant, Kathy fired Jessica, probably on Suze's advice, since Suze loves to tell people to fire their employees and managers, and not to help friends or family in need.
Soon after this Kathy Griffin show appearance, Kathy's assistant Jessica -- who Suze calls "stupid, just stupid" (also calling her by the wrong name) in this clip -- wrote to me to express her concerns about Suze's condescending and brusque behavior and Kathy's cultlike obsession with her, adding, "Kathy even got a little ruffled with me when I said I probably would continue to lease cars. As if it offended her and Suzy...such bizarre cult like behavior."
I'm not knowledgeable enough to work out all the psychological shenanigans of how Suze digs her hooks into some people, including Oprah Winfrey, although I do remember Suze's interest in learning psychological manipulation techniques and other occult means of manipulating others and getting what she wanted in the early 1990s, including a list of phrases that she claimed would get you what you want from people. I've also heard that Suze has used blackmail on some people, but since I was pretty clean, fresh out of a monastic ashram life, she wouldn't have had anything to use on me, so she used and plundered me in other ways.
Not only was Suze a thief and liar in my personal experience, she was also a rapist who assaulted me sexually, orally under the covers and under my nightgown while I was sleeping, as an act of aggression after we'd had an argument. Suze raped me knowing that I was not gay or interested in having any sexual relations with her. Suze had previously claimed to have fallen in love with me -- on the day we met, in fact -- but it was just one more of Suze's long string of sociopathic desires, something she had claimed to many other devotees at the ashram, before harming and plundering them. Suze was clearly looking at me with an eye toward using my skills, coaching, and Hollywood contacts to improve her lot in life.
I had already very clearly told Suze that I was not gay and that there was no way I would have any sexual relationships with her or even kiss her. I was nearly a decade younger than Suze, and had just left nearly a decade of living a monastic life. I was as naive as a young woman could be, like a nun who had just left the convent, where I had spent my twenties with not even a spark of romantic interest or experience, or any significant experience before that time.
Suze knew that her angry violation would be a very nasty first sexual experience for me, but as I've seen in other situations, Suze likes to leave her victims and those who helped her the most with maximum psychological, lifestyle, and career damage. It was somewhat challenging for me to read in the New York Times in 2007 that Suze was now claiming to be a 55-year old virgin, when I actually was a virgin when she violated me under the covers while I was asleep. She also caused serious damage caused to the lives of many in those early years, including at least three of the relatively few people mentioned on the acknowledgments page of Suze's first book, and many more whose names were not included, but probably should have been. Nevertheless, even with all these violations, I would have long ago all but forgotten that these events even happened, if not for having to watch my rapist be practically worshipped by Oprah Winfrey and others who usually speak against such violations, and if not for watching her basically rape the economy and the world, year after year, to this day.
Suze Orman is a rare kind of person who actually gets off on causing maximum damage to people, especially to those who have helped her the most, or to whom she owes money or other extravagant promises that Suze often makes with no intention of ever keeping them. One of her partners recently told me that she convinced him to put tens of thousands of dollars of his own money into creating a product that Suze was benefiting from much more than this partner, with extravagant promises, including telling the partner that Oprah had said she was going to make it one of her "Favorite Things," which not surprisingly never happened, and which she clearly made up to manipulate the person into spending large sums of money to benefit her own pockets.
Like other habitual liars who weave webs of deceptions with the same confidence that most people tell the truth, Suze Orman thinks she is smart enough to fool everyone with her twisted tales -- such as her blatantly fraudulent "Approved" prepaid debit card scam of 2012 -- and thus far, she has been surprisingly successful in fooling many, leaving the usual trails of damage that tend to follow destructive sociopaths.
I've been told by someone in attendance that Suze showed up to the birthday party of her girlfriend of nine years - a woman who had helped Suze's career significantly after I'd helped her onto the public stage - and Suze showed up to her longtime girlfriend's birthday party with her new (and current) girlfriend, as a way of letting the now old girlfriend know that she had been dumped, and probably cheated on for a long time. Knowing Suze, she arranged this timing so that every subsequent birthday would remind her previous girlfriend of a sad and difficult memory. As I understand, this woman did take legal action to receive money that Suze owed her, something people also suggested that I should do, although that wasn't my way.
After posting an early version of this article several years ago, I read some comments on a forum board from several self-proclaimed Suze Orman fans who mainly commented on how I was plain looking, and "why would Suze go for that?" One said I looked like a truck driver, and another said that you haven't lived until you've been sexually violated in your sleep. The same woman professed how much she would like it if Suze did that to her. These are Suze's fans, who have apparently learned much from their idol.
I agree that I'm not a fashionable beauty and it was also surprising for me to find Suze professing that she had fallen head over heels in love with me. My assumption has been that Suze wanted to use my skills, Hollywood contacts, and spiritual applications to get what she wanted, and that everything else was mostly a ruse. I don’t believe it was physical attraction so much as Suze being an "energy vampire" type who could recognize someone with power and exploit them, stealing their energy, just as Suze has been stealing since she was a child growing up in "the hood."
Another possibility is that Suze is attracted to women who aren't so outwardly attractive, which seems more likely after seeing Suze's recent near-stalking of a comedian named Fortune Feimster, who is also not considered to be especially physically attractive by general standards. Fortune is a lesbian, and hasn't seemed too fazed by Suze's flirty overtures -- has even flirted back a bit -- but the flavor of Suze's pushing in these twitter messages reminds me of some of the predatory energy of how Suze came after me. Except in my case, she used a whole lot of extreme flattery, telling me way too many times that I was the most brilliant woman she had ever met. I've also seen Suze flatter others extravagantly since when they can do something to benefit her, so don't really feel very flattered by Suze's cheap if well-practiced flattery.
Using my skills and resources to help Suze begin her deceptive career is a mistake that I have come to regret deeply, one that I would have very much liked to forget, which obviously has not been possible to do with Suze Orman being seriously unavoidable in today's media landscape. I may be somewhat blunt in sharing my observations and assessments along with well-documented examples about Suze's damaging influence, although some who have known Suze personally have expressed their opinions more bluntly than I, including this person, who was asked to use his/her credentials to cover up Suze's lack of financial education or credentials.
Pre-famous Suze had the ability to lie with impunity and to charm certain people to suit her goals, just as she does today, as clearly evidenced by Suze's widespread deceptive pitches for her "Approved" prepaid debit card scam of 2012. During our two years of association that ended just as her first book had gone to press, Suze used to boldly brag to me that she could talk anyone into anything -- a claim she has since proven to be surprisingly true in ways that have been seriously troubling for society, the economy, and the wellbeing of many individuals.
Back in the 1990s, it was obvious that Suze had a sadistic streak. She seemed to get off on causing damage to certain people's lives, and liked to control and tell people what to do. And now she enjoys sitting as CNBC's queen bee and yelling at people that they are denied for whatever reasonable or unreasonable wishes and dreams they may have in life. (View a video montage with some examples, if you're fortunate enough to have avoided watching such spewings on TV thus far.) Suze was such a control freak that just going out to eat with her in a restaurant would often turn into something reminiscent of Helen Keller's utensil scene if I dared to use the wrong fork or cut more than one piece of food at a time.
Throughout this article, you have found many links to media-documented examples that together make a clear case for taking a serious look at how this person with almost no financial education or credentials, who took nearly a decade to get her BA in Social Work, often bragging as though it were a badge of honor that she never received above a "C" in even a single one of her courses, used a whole lot of deceptive shenanigans to pull a big one over on the American public, just as she once fooled and coerced me into spending two years helping to begin her writing and public speaking career in the early 1990s, at a time when Suze was unpublished, unknown, and deeply in debt. Suze conned me into using my Hollywood contacts to get her on her first two TV shows and used her manipulative skills and bullying nature to convince me to go against my better judgment and usual level of honesty and integrity, when I made the long regretted error of using my award-winning skills to produce, film, script, and edit a video that pitched Suze in a way that was extremely deceptive regarding her almost complete lack of financial credentials and media exposure at that time.
As the author of spiritual and philosophical books, I often write about personal responsibility from a metaphysical karmic perspective. In my view, we do bear some responsibility for the results of our mistaken actions, especially if we have the option of taking some guided, reasonable actions, like writing this article, to help save additional people from being harmed. It would be easier for everyone involved if Suze would gently leave the scene before retiring from public life to sail around the world in a boat as Suze claims she will do in 2014, which is likely to be proven as just one more Suze Orman lie. Either way, I really don't think the world and economy can take even one more year of Suze Orman.
My hope is that the recent 2012 events of being challenged by hundreds of finance journalists and professionals regarding her dishonest and harmful behavior and actions will inspire Suze to set sail sooner than later. It would be nice if Suze would take the money and run like a good con artist from the hood and enjoy the rest of her life spending her tens of millions of dollars, which she certainly worked hard to earn, even if many of the ways she earned it are questionable. Suze should probably quickly get out of Dodge, because her recent fraudulent actions of fooling unsavvy, mostly poor people into paying a long list of fees for her prepaid debit card under the mistaken impression she intentionally propagated that using her card would improve their credit score in any way, could certainly lead to some requests for refunds and perhaps some legal troubles for Ms. Orman. If Suze were still asking my advice as she did throughout those two years, I would suggest that this would be a great time for her to exit stage right.
I invite bloggers, journalists, and others to use the research presented here to help keep society from being duped any further from someone who I predict will one day be considered as one of the most successful con artists of today's economic disaster generation - and based on her own words and actions, she would likely enjoy the distinction.
Suze's plundering patterns continue today, empowered by her ability to give good ratings or make promises using her high powered media contacts. I was recently contacted by a fellow who was had achieved success with his finance-based business, when big, famous Suze Orman contacted him and offered to partner on a project. As with Suze's usual scams, the fellow had to fund the whole project, with great promised future rewards from Suze, including promising him that their mutual project was going to be one of Oprah's "Favorite Things" that year, one more example of her lies. This fellow spent tens of thousands of dollars and countless staff hours to create the project, from which Suze benefited from greatly in many ways, including financially. When no longer needed, Suze threw the project and this fellow into the trash and tried to ruin his livelihood and reputation, bringing a long and ongoing nightmare to his life that he'd never imagined, even involving government agencies that should have been going after Suze, who is unfortunately protected by powerful political PR lobbyist Hilary Rosen and others.
In June 2013, Suze repaid so-called poverty activist Tavis Smiley's loyalty in pitching her prepaid card as a great choice for the poor in functions including at the National Press Club, and a "Poverty to Prosperity" conference, by being one of the first to appear on his new online radio blog show. Of course, Tavis had to pay the piper again by pushing Suze’s crummy prepaid debit card to his listeners, even allowing Suze to say that using her card prepaid could "literally change your life." His producer even claims with great over-enthusiasm that using Suze's card improved his credit score so much that he was able to afford to buy a new house.
Suze proudly describes her ruthless climb to success in this clip from Anderson Cooper's AC-360 show, saying "Because I didn't care what other people thought, because I knew what I wanted and I was going to go after it at all costs, I got what I wanted." It's not that Suze hasn't told us who she is, but that not enough people with the avenues to say something about it are either noticing or choosing to speak up.
Suze's attitude is the kind of "Courage to be Rich," "make money the most important thing in your life at all costs" mentality that has all but destroyed the U.S. economy and caused considerable harm to the focus and behaviors of society. If "The American Dream is Dead," as Suze used her authority shtick and PR team to declare all over the media to sell books in early 2011 while pushing the American public to expect less, live less, give less, and work longer, in my opinion, Suze and her corporate friends and sponsors have certainly played a role in killing that dream for many.
Suze's Shenanigans Continue in 2013
Suze’s 2013 shenanigans have not thus far been as publicly and explosively revealed as her blatantly fraudulent “Approved” card scam of 2012, but her career-long pattern of personally profiting through plundering and fooling the public with distorted advice and behind the scenes deals to fill her pockets with the money of those who have been fooled into trusting Suze Orman Inc. continues in 2013.
Suze has continued to push her "Approved" card scam throughout the media landscape in 2013, after her PR team, headed by Hilary Rosen, managed to all but sweep more than 100 critical articles about the card from finance journalists top to bottom under the rug using carefully planned distractions and media blitzes.
In June 2013, Suze appeared on "poverty activist" Tavis Smiley's new online radio blog show. Tavis had been instrumental in giving credibility to Suze's "Approved" card in 2012, including saying at the National Press Club that he would do anything for Suze Orman, and in 2013, she repaid him by appearing on his new radio show. Of course, Tavis had to pay the piper again by pushing Suze’s crummy prepaid debit card to his listeners, even allowing Suze to say that using her card prepaid could "literally change your life."
Shortly after three minutes into this excerpt, Tavis’s assistant plays the role of a satisfied “Approved” card customer, who Tavis describes as “giddy” about how well the card has worked for him, in what was obviously a previously planned "infomercial moment." The assistant claims that his FICO score shot way up after he started using Suze's card, allowing him to even buy a house. Of course, if you are reading this article, you know that Suze’s card doesn't do a thing to improve anyone’s credit, which Tavis must also know, even though he is supporting this false claim and even pushing his assistant to tell about how he was able to get a house mortgage due to his use of Suze's fee-laden prepaid debit card.
At first, Suze doesn't correct the fellow’s claim that her card made his FICO score shoot up, but then the second time he makes the same claim even more exuberantly, Suze finally speaks up, and gave a new spiel she and her prepaid card team have apparently come up with, saying that using her "Approved" card had helped improve the assistant's FICO score enough to qualify for a house mortgage after just a year of useing the card, because he wasn't carrying balances on credit cards. Most people -- especially the poor and uneducated who Tavis claims to be serving -- would come away from this disguised infomercial thinking, once again, that Suze's prepaid card would improve their FICO scores, unless they already know that Suze Orman is a con artist and that Tavis has been acting as an enabler regarding her card.
Unless the listeners are super savvy regarding finances and unraveling twisted words, they will once again be fooled into thinking that Suze’s card will improve their FICO scores, as it supposedly did for Tavis's assistant, just as so many were fooled by Suze's previous shenanigans in Tavis Smiley’s 2012 poverty conference, which resulted in people posting incorrect information to all their friends via social media and in person, telling the people they care about that Suze’s card would up their FICO score.
In a sense, with her prepaid debit card scam, Suze is milking the most vulnerable in today's economy in a brash and reckless attempt to take herself from being part of the 1% to perhaps the .01 percent. Many complaints are already coming in about the card, with the Approved Card losing one woman's account and all her money, and others being locked out of their accounts. Unhappy customers are already spending big bucks to speak with apparently incompetent customer service representatives overseas at $2 per call. As one woman said in the complaints posted on Suze's Facebook page, (most of which Suze erases), "I feel like there should be a huge sign on my head saying 'Sucker!'"
I don't personally watch her shows, so can only present the Suze shenanigans that are obvious from viewing news and social media mentions. Surely an investigator who looks into the matter properly would find many more points of concern beneath even the seriously troubling tip of the iceberg presented in this article.
Suze's 2013 profiteering with bad advice actually began in late 2012, with her campaign urging consumers to buy a new Acura as a smart investment in an ad for the 2012 holiday season. In this commercial, Suze drives the Acura car just as recklessly as she has driven the US economy and individual lives for the past fifteen years.
Of course, buying a new car goes against the advice of most financial advisors, including her own, but if the company pays enough, Suze's pseudo advice can be bought, to the detriment of those who actually think she is a trustworthy financial expert, which is also a scam due to her lack of finance education and use of behind the scenes experts to write her books and tell her what to say. Disappointedly, this ad even played during The Daily Show, which should have been doing a piece exposing Suze's plundering shenanigans rather than taking money and allowing Suze to fill her pockets while advising Daily Show viewers that buying a new Acura is a good financial decision.
Suze was also paid big bucks by GM in 2004 to do the same, and the outcrys about her unethical endorsement back then were also covered up by the same kind of Suze Orman PR cover-up teams that had to work much harder to cover hundreds of articles warning consumers about her "Approved" prepaid debit card in 2012, with the scams regarding her "Approved" card continuing into 2013.
"Ad puts adviser's advice in question," Chicago Tribune
"Advice or advertising? Tough to tell," Wall Street Journal Market Watch
With Suze Orman's "price for advice" schemes, if a corporation puts enough money into Suze's pockets, she will use her undeserved extreme clout as someone on the "most influential" lists of Time and Forbes magazines to say whatever the company wants her to say, fooling and plundering those who who have been convinced by the media supported scams, shams, and shenanigans to consider "financial expert" Suze Orman's advice as honest and trustworthy.
Another new shenanigan for 2013 is that Suze has now sold her name and public trust to the University of Phoenix, a controversial for profit school with many complaints and a high default rate that is nearly double that of a public four-year school.
From David Halperin via Huffington Post:
"Suze Orman Teaching Personal Finance Class - At the University of Phoenix"
"If you were teaching a course on how to manage personal finances, one of the best pieces of advice you could give is to avoid attending a for-profit college. A series of government and media investigations have exposed that signing up with a for-profit college could well be one of the worst financial decisions a person could make in his or her entire life. Many of these schools offer a toxic mix of ultra-expensive tuition, low-quality classes, high dropout rates, and poor job placement. As a result, they often leave students -- single parents, veterans, immigrants, and others struggling to earn a living -- without jobs and deep in debt from the loans they've taken out. For-profit colleges have 13 percent of U.S. college students, but an astonishing 47 percent of student loan defaults. So why is Suze Orman -- who calls herself "undeniably America's most recognized expert on personal finance" -- teaching an online personal finance course at the University of Phoenix, the biggest of these controversial for-profit colleges?"
(Note: Just before "University of Phoenix Professor Suze's" latest announcement came another announcement that the University of Phoenix is currently in danger of losing its accreditation.)
This new deal helps to explain why -- just before the announcement of this class -- Suze blasted the media with advice that sounded like she was telling students not to take out loans for college educations, presenting herself as an activist on behalf of students. This is one way Suze sets her scams and then plays the con, distracting and misinforming the paying public by criticizing others for doing exactly what she is doing. This is similar to how Suze ranted about prepaid cards while offering one more crummy one on a big hook into the gullible consumer fishtank. It is also similar to how Suze uses the wise and altruistic motto, "People first, then money, then things," before explaining that "People first means to put yourself first," which in Suze land means to put your money first.
Suze's political lobbyist PR team SKDK - who continue to push her "Approved" prepaid card even after it was called out by finance experts from top to bottom as a bad deal - also managed to get Suze booked to speak alongside congress members, creating more appearance of Suze's public influence, as well as more actual public influence, and generating many headlines, including, "Suze Orman joins (Congresswoman) Karen Bass to tackle student loan problem."
And lest you think Suze might actually care about anything beyond her crafted reputation and bottom line:
- Suze Orman (Chicago Tribune)
As is her modus operandi, Suze paints a sheen of good advice and trustworthiness, and then slips in her bad products -- along with other scams, shams, and shenanigans. This is how Suze Orman has plundered individuals and the economy for the past fifteen years.
You can also see an example of Suze setting the stage by praising the not-so-highly respected University of Phoenix in this article that ran in USA Today in December, 2011, a little over a year before announcing the commencement of her new class at the University of Phoenix, and most likely around the time when she signed the deal and started putting forth her "advice for a price" on their behalf. Gangster Suze's got it down to a formula, and the companies who use her shenanigans, as well as media outlets that serve it up to the public, should all look at what kind of damage they are helping to create for their audiences, for the economy, and for the world.
Note that in her 2009 interview with the New York Times, Suze -- who likes to brag that she never got above a "C" in a single class, while spending many extra years to get a bachelor's degree in social work -- put down doctors, universities, and teachers in one fell swoop:
Orman has strong opinions in general. She won’t speak before many doctors’ groups, because they get on her nerves (doctors always think they know better, she says). Until recently, she didn't like to speak at universities, because they generally don’t charge students to attend her lectures, and she says that people don’t value things they haven’t paid for.
She has been reluctant to work on school curricula on personal finance, because she says students can’t learn empowerment from people who aren't empowered, and teachers, she says, are too underpaid ever to have any real self-worth. She told me: “When you are somebody scared to death of your own life, how can you teach kids to be powerful? It’s not something in a book — it ain’t going to happen that way.” She once delivered pretty much the same message at an anniversary celebration of a private school — she seems to recall calling the school a “travesty” — and was all but escorted to the door when she was done.
Nevertheless, the Suze shenanigans keep coming. Just in time for Mother's Day, in April, 2013, Suze made a big announcement on her CNBC show, stating that hiring a doula for childbirth is a need, not a want. Whenever you hear Suze give props to something she knows little about personally and has never supported previously, you can assume there must be a scam in the air. CNBC featured the doula recommendation on their site, certainly by request of Suze's PR planners, and mothers were so happy to see Suze's endorsement (as other factions Suze has used have felt when she sends some of her "public influence" their way) that they blasted social media with positive posts and links about Suze's support for doulas. Of course, this set off my "Suze Scamdar" alarm, as it was clearly a set-up in progress for Suze to plunder mothers.
Not even one week later, came the pay-off -- Suze's article on "Elizabeth Street" titled, "Suze Orman's Money Tips for Mothers," which of course featured Suze's widely debunked "Approved" prepaid debit card as a good deal for mothers.
On the same day this article came out, came other articles by Suze with pitches for mothers to use her crummy "Approved" card, including this article that includes Suze's assurance that, "You know I will do everything in my power to tell you everything you need to know. You can always bank on me because I have your best interest at heart. Learn more about The Approved Card here."
Don't bank on Suze! She does not have your best interest at heart.
Suze's attempts to fool and plunder the poor and take advantage of minorities and the "Occupy" movement with her prepaid debit card scam apparently didn't bring enough money in Suze's quest to move money from the banking system into her pockets and those of her partners in the card, including US Bank, so in honor of Mother's Day 2013, one year before Suze has announced she will be retiring, she's trying to push her fee-laden card on mothers, many of whom probably assume Suze can be trusted because Oprah has told them so.
For Suze Orman, the public - regardless of who they are - are little more than sheep for her to fool, plunder, and exploit. That's how narcissistic sociopaths roll.
In September, Suze's new producer/expert, who instead of ghostwriting Suze's articles is writing them in her own name about Suze's advice, wrote an article on CNBC's website that was obviously intended to generate another media and social media blitz: "Suze Orman changes homebuying advice." Now, instead of telling buyers to put 20% down (after previously pushing everyone to buy a house and lock in a 7% mortgage rate before the housing crash), Suze now declares that this is one of the best times to re-enter the market. Since Suze has said that everything she does is a source of income to her, it is not difficult to find the payoff when you look at how Twitter and other media exploded with hundreds of mortgage bankers, real estate agents, and others involved with the housing industry posting Suze's change of advice article as though it were holy gospel, and as though they are giving their personal endorsement to Suze's "wisdom," even while many of them probably are familiar with the Suze Orman problems. This is part of Suze's M.O., to appeal to people's greed and make them become footsoldiers in her scams. Here's some of the explosion of posts from a search of Suze and homebuying on Twitter.
Also in 2013, Suze has continued to go full throttle with her quest to plunder the Philippines with set-ups for her prepaid debit card scam, now apparently adding Malaysia to the plan, with both efforts funded by the banks that would apparently partner with Suze on the card, which has already been debunked and torn to shreds as a bad deal by nearly the entire United States financial expert community.
In October 2013 came what looked like another example of Suze's usual narcissism, but of course her actions always have a hidden profit-driven motive. While the United States was on the verge of economic disaster, Suze hopped onto several talk shows, obviously intending to show the extent of her influence, that NBC Nightly News and other supposedly trustworthy shows considered this woman with almost zero financial education as the go to expert regarding the country's economic crisis. On the shows and in social media, Suze, harbinger of doom, continued to push the kind of pessimistic prattle that has kept her in business for that past fifteen years
But more important than all that boring economic concern was Suze's big new contest for Halloween, which took up a whole lot more space on Suze’s social media space than anything that may have been potentially useful to those living in a country on the brink. Here are just a few of the long string of posts:
You might wonder, it does seem narcissistic and out of touch in a time of financial crisis to ask people to dress like you, bribing them with a piece of used clothing as a grand prize, but how can it be a Suze scam? I'll tell you how. Once you understand that everything Suze does is geared to increase her public influence and "price for advice" price, using people as pawns in her shenanigans, you can see how Suze is manufacturing a public image that people are dressing up like her because she is so famous and influential that they thought of dressing up like Suze Orman from their own inspiration and admiration. Suze is wanting to create a false image, using her followers to set the scam, and you can bet that she'll be showing those photos of people dressing like her around the world to give a false impression of trust and admiration as she tries to plunder the Philippines and other countries with her prepaid debit card scam.
In fact, most of Suze’s first Twitter followers started following her years ago, when Suze had a relatively small number of followers. Suze's wife/brand manager/partner-in-crime Kathy Travis went on Twitter literally begging people over and over to get more followers for Suze as a birthday present to cheer her up. Offers were even made of giving gifts to those who got more people to sign up to Suze’s Twitter feed, although I'm not sure if those gifts were ever given to the small but enthusiastic group who took this project on as a personal mandate and sent messages begging hundreds of celebrities and others to RT and ask their followers to also follow Suze Orman on Twitter as a gift for her birthday. This ploy allowed Suze to brag about her large numbers of Twitter followers, which then generated more followers and gave Suze more clout. More clout allowed Suze Orman, Inc. to raise her price for spouting what banks and corporations asked her to promote in the guise of trustworthy advice, and allowed her to portray herself as more influential and popular than she actually was.
In my observation, the Suze Orman phenomenon is made up of 90% pseudo images; these are just two more small examples of thousands of deceptive ways she has created the sham. Obviously there are many interpretations for someone’s actions. I’m not usually too much of a conspiracy theorist, however due to my past experiences with Suze and who knows what strange karmic destiny, I can often see pretty easily what shenanigans this admittedly brilliant con artist is playing, which are usually not for a purpose that benefits her fans or the world, but for her own skewed interests.
I'm sure there are many upcoming shenanigans in Suze's current and future plans -- all the scams and shams listed in this article are just a few that are obvious from a quick look through media and social media. Why haven't government agencies and journalists who are entrusted with protecting the public from being plundered looked more closely at Suze's webs of scams and shams and conducted proper investigations to unravel the shams?
Now, having now offered this page into the public discourse, I happily return to other more positive projects.
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