The Suze Orman Problem: Scams, Shams, and Shenanigans
My Piece of the Puzzle
We all have personal shortcomings, flaws and imperfections. Nevertheless when someone with extreme personality distortions has used your help to scam her way into a position of extreme influence that she is using to fool and plunder the world, even one who prefers to focus on the positive is obliged to speak up.
Therefore, please excuse me if I don't mince words in this presentation, which is intended to help clean up a problem that I mistakenly helped to create. 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 that should give pause to Oprah Winfrey, Louise Hay, Ariana Huffington, and others who have given undeserved credibility to someone who is little more than a creative and experienced con artist, someone who uses behind the scenes experts who actually have an education in finance to write her books and tell her what to say, someone who picked up a few spiritual phrases around the ashram community from which she was all but banished in the early 1990s for cheating and abusing mostly women community members before going on to con and plunder the world.
I unfortunately contributed to creating the Suze Orman problem back in the early 1990s, when I spent two years helping Suze onto the public stage at a time when she was unknown, unpublished, and deeply in debt. This deeply regretted mistake included getting Suze booked on her first two television show appearances and then producing, filming, scripting and editing a deceptive video that misrepresented Suze's media and financial expertise. This is the video that helped Suze get her first book deal after her proposal had been previously turned down by more than thirty publishers.
Just a few years earlier 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 -- she was selling multi-level marketing water filters, and behaving badly toward her host. Unfortunately, this mutual 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 the foundation asked us to work together to produce a video for their worldwide broadcast. I 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 was a narcissistic sociopath, 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.
Nevertheless, this article is about much more than just my personal experiences with a damaging person. While acknowledging that people are multifaceted and that everyone has a spark of good in them, in this article I am focused on bringing to light a serious problem that has caused serious damage to many individuals, to the US economy, and to the fabric of society, the Suze Orman problem.
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. You will find links to many articles along those lines throughout this article, 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 fooling and plundering the public, especially the poor, into funneling even more big bucks 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 the 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 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.
Only occasional journalists whose venues do not have the conflicts of interest that many do regarding Suze's powerful protectors have been brave enough to speak up about these problems, including most recently David Schuster, who 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":
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)
After reading this article that you are now reading, this financial expert who had partnered with Suze and fed information to her that she passed along as her own expertise, said to me regarding the information I've presented here, "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 to plunder the economy and the poor to fill her own pockets is terrible. Trying to destroy the lives of those who have been most helpful in her climb to the top -- with Suze making and breaking her common use of false promises, lying, scamming, and trying to ruin the reputations of good and decent people whom she has tricked into helping her on her way up is despicable.
In my opinion, as someone who was brought up by psychology teachers and studied psychology from age seven through to my studies at the University of Michigan, Suze Orman is a textbook example of a narcissistic sociopath. She has fooled a whole lot of people and caused serious damage to individuals, the economy, and the fabric of society. That is why I have felt obliged to create and offer this article that is filled with links to clear examples of these problems.
Look at this face, and ask yourself if it is the face of an intelligent 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'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. (Each link within the text leads to clear examples.)
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.
*NOTE: Each link within the text of this article leads to media-documented information and examples that are worth exploring. The examples you'll find in the links throughout this page were simple and easy to find with a bit of research on social media, and I invite journalists, bloggers, and government agencies who are entrusted with protecting the public from scams to use the information I have gathered in your own efforts to help clean up this mess.
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, including Merrill Lynch, me, and a long list of others, 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 lied about her credentials -- I made the big mistake of allowing her to talk me into getting her on her first two television show appearances and then producing a deceptive video that misrepresented Suze's media and fianancial expertice, the video that helped Suze get her first book deal after her proposal had been turned down by more than thirty publishers, at a time when Suze was unpublished, unknown, and deeply in debt. After that book was published, Suze continued to lie about her credentials, which eventually turned into her "price for acvice" schemes that allowed corporations and banks to pay her 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, paying for Suze Orman to skew her public advice in favor of their products are: Selectquote, US Bank, FICO Corporation, Lending Tree, General Motors, TD Ameritrade, QVC, General Electric, and even the Milk mustache campaign, where she touts drinking milk as a good financial investment.
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. 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.
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, 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." They had their hands full in 2012, trying to cover up hundreds of articles throughout the financial media, warning people about Suze's "Approved" prepaid debit card scam.
In early 2013 SKDKnickerbocker and Suze's agency ICM have apparently been working very hard to get her re-branded as a political activist instead of debit card scam artist, arranging for Suze to appear with politicians and in media and other high level venues in her new branding as a "gay activist." 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 keep 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 just for plundering the poor with her fraudulent prepaid debit card misinformation campaign of 2012.
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, 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 and almost 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. These 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. This "Approved Card" Suze scam once again used the undeserved clout that began with Oprah's undying and ongoing commitment to pushing Suze into the media landscape. Had her prepaid debit card 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 to buy a house and pay extra money to lock in their 7% mortgage rates - before interest rates plummeted below 4% - were going into foreclosure.
I have no desire to put up a critical article like this about anybody, but to hold back from alerting people to these problems when I know what kind of person Suze is and can see her scams fairly easily would be akin to watching a thief who you mistakenly helped to get invited to a party walking through the room breaking precious items and stealing directly from people's pockets, but choosing to stay silent. It is not possible to be at peace when the results of your mistake, even from years ago, are continuing to cause serious damage to the world.
- Click here for a synopsis of how the Suze Orman scam began.
- Click here to go directly to the "Approved" Prepaid Debit Card scam with clear evidence of Suze's scams and blatant fraudulent campaign to fill her pockets and her bank partner's pockets with money from the poor and uneducated.
- Click here to go to the Suze Orman Money Navigator Newsletter scam with clear evidence of Suze's lies, defamation and theft that Suze's partner has just experienced after she used him to fill her own pockets, something she has done to many over the years, including me. Suze's still-current newsletter partner now says he is planning to write a book that will expose her lies and shenanigans with documented communications.
During the past fifteen years, I've experienced ongoing regrets while watching Suze pulling the wool over the eyes of the American public with the help of many high level media and corporate entities who have their finger in the "Suze Orman pie." The Suze Orman I knew in the early 1990s was already known around our mutual spiritual community as a problematic person who had generated numerous complaints from community members to whom Suze had behaved inappropriately, lied, cheated, or caused harm. During our time of association, Suze was extremely upset because she had been all but banished from her local branch of our mutual spiritual community, a development to which I unfortunately responded with compassion rather than alarm. I am including some of my personal experiences with Suze in this presentation, because they show a glimpse into her nature. Certainly there are a long list of people who could share their own Suze Orman horror stories - several are included in this presentation, and perhaps my speaking up will inspire others to do so.
In the early 1990s, I used my Hollywood contacts to get Suze booked on her first two television appearances and allowed myself to be talked into using my award-winning skills to produce, film, script, and edit a video that gave a deceptive portrayal of Suze’s financial knowledge and media experience - the video that helped Suze get a deal for her first book publishing deal after her proposal had previously been turned down by more than thirty publishers. I also offered a lot of other assistance to Suze over those two years, using various skills and more than a hundred hours of coaching to help bring into the public eye someone who had shown serious aberrations from the day we met. It was a case of naive and weak-willed bad judgment that regretfully became an ongoing and escalating world problem.
The Suze Orman I knew was a real-life con artist who harmed, stole from, and violated me and others in seriously sociopathic ways, just as she has done to many individuals and to the US economy, with her often-fraudulent, corporate-sponsored, bank-sponsored advice, with a career that has been built on Suze's usual webs of lies from the beginning, as she bares her teeth, furrows her brow, and berates the world with a bossy enough tone to make people think she is actually an expert on the things she purports, which are usually geared to cover up negative press, create more fear, generate mass headlines for Suze, put more money into her pockets and those of her long list of bank and corporate sponsors, and in many cases, to take advantage of the uneducated and the poor. Bernie Madoff, Casey Anthony, Joran Van Der Sloot, and Jody Arias have nothing on pathological liar Suze Orman, who has managed to con millions of people and cause serious damage to the world.
Keeping what I knew about the Suze Orman problems more or less quiet did not lead to healing or peace of mind. How could I just forget and neglect all these problems while watching Suze fool many media personalities - as she once fooled me- into giving endorsements that engendered undeserved trust in Suze Orman from those who would otherwise be able to tell just by watching Suze, as can nearly every person I've ever discussed this matter with, that she is a con artist and a narcissistic bully. This page is filled with video clips and other media documentations that show clear examples of these issues – here is one interview that pretty much says it all to those who have eyes to see, ears to hear, and an intellect to discern.
Pre-famous Suze would often brag to me with the confidence of someone who has made a deal with the devil that she could talk anyone into anything, and I suppose at least that claim of hers has proven to be true. The Suze Orman I knew and have seen in the public eye over these subsequent years has plundered and used a long line of people, including behind the scenes supporters and much of the media machine, to fuel her climb to the top of the "financial expert" ladder, in spite of her almost complete lack of financial education before stepping into the role. I can hardly think of anyone I've personally known who I'd recommend less to be an influential voice in today's society. Therefore I offer some of my personal experiences, along with media documented examples of the Suze Orman problem.
Most of the 100+ links in this article with clear examples of the Suze Orman problem come from her scams and shenanigans just in the year 2012. I usually try to avoid seeing or even remembering that Suze Orman exists - which of course is not possible for anyone who partakes of today’s Suze Orman saturated media landscape. The Suze scams of 2012 were particularly well-documented, so I took time to save the links and put together this article as a way to present them. Certainly, my narrative could use a bit more editing – investigative reporting and criticism are not really my forte, and I have other more positive projects to focus on – nevertheless, the problems are clear to see for anyone willing to take some time to click on the links in the highlighted text throughout this presentation. My hope is that this article will provide information for individuals who have been fooled into trusting Suze's advice, and especially for journalists and government agencies who are entrusted with protecting the public from sociopathic con artists like Suze Orman.
* Update: On December 27th, 2012, Penguin Books released finance journalist Helaine Olen's, Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry. I don't know about all the information in this book, since I am not a finance expert, however it includes an entire chapter that gives warnings about Suze's shenanigans. I recommend reading at least chapter two with Helaine's well-written (and shorter) take on this topic. Although it still only scratches the surface of Suze's scams, shams, and shenanigans, Olen's easily readable narrative includes a fairly in-depth exploration of the Suze Orman problem from the viewpoint of a finance expert, including Suze's less than illustrious past, her changing, often conflicting advice, and her deceptive profiteering practices.
I'm not suggesting that "Suze's" books and products aren't useful in helping some people organize their finances, but that usefulness is precisely what allows Suze to plunder individuals and the economy with "advice" that is often sponsored by corporations and banks with the main purpose of putting money into their and Suze's pockets. Some of Suze's advice is put together by behind the scenes experts (since Suze has had almost no financial education aside from what she picked up "on the job," and written by ghostwriters); some is intended to create big media blitz headlines to cover up negative stories about Suze, often arranged by Suze's publicist Hilary Rosen, who has also been representing BP regarding their Gulf oil spill crisis.
Suze - who took many extra years to finally get a B.A. in social work, and often brags that she never received a grade above a "C" in even a single one of her classes - certainly did not write the books that bear her name, as is evident from her agent's exclamation of joy at finally having an author who knows she can't write, and occasional financial experts who break through Suze's confidentiality agreements to suggest what is going on behind the scenes. It is easy enough to see the low level of grammar and spelling in Suze's often barely literate twitter messages - the ones she sends herself, not the promotional ones that are often sent out by her staff and and CNBC's publicists, amidst ongoing, daily positive blasts about Suze by pseudo "social marketing" Twitter accounts that are almost certainly being paid by somebody. Those who have received private email messages directly from Suze can also probably see a level of writing that one would expect from someone who proudly claims to have never received above a "C" grade in even a single one of her classes, before spending the next seven years as a waitress, and then slowly but surely beginning and building - one deceit after another - the shams, scams, and shenanigans that have brought Suze to where she is today.
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. The Suze Orman I knew was a con artist who conned and stole from me, and has since conned and caused serious damage to many in a long and continuing string of scams, shams, and shenanigans, as well as due to her distorted world views and troubling, aggressive, shaming, and irresponsible behaviors.
Suze's bullying behavior, reckless commands, and ruthless, money obsessed doctrine have caused much more overall damage to individuals, the economy, and the fabric of society than most shysters, due in no small part to the extreme and unwavering support given to her by Oprah at a time when Oprah's empire was considered to be as powerful as any in media, politics, and business, which, in spite of all the clear evidence of the problems with Suze Orman, continues to this day. Through Suze Orman scam after sham, Oprah asserted her support of Suze as 100%, even when her entire team of producers thought Suze's hateful, bullying behavior on one of the shows warranted possibly pulling the show from broadcast (watch Oprah's belligerent response to her skilled team of producers expressing concerns about Suze's behavior toward the end of this clip), and in spite of thousands of complaints from her viewers on her webpage and in other social media. You can imagine that with this passionate and somewhat irrational commitment to supporting Suze without regard to the facts, Oprah's extreme clout as the person with the most celebrity influence in the world has been a major factor in the media's "Empress's new clothes" approach to Suze Orman. Whatever it takes to get some of that Oprah or in Suze's case, Oprah-related publicity magic.
Suze Orman Takes to O Magazine to Promote Her New Card New York Times
The incontrovertible support from Oprah at the top of her reign translated into a blanket media-wide complicity and acquiescence toward Suze's scams, shams, and shenanigans. I've heard some mentions about supposed shenanigans some say Suze ran to get Oprah's support, and can assume she played her usual repertoire of scams, manipulations, and con games, but since I don't have direct knowledge about the specifics in this instance, will leave it as one of many additional pieces of this "Suze Orman Problem" puzzle, yet to be yet discovered or confirmed.
I feel personally obliged to speak up my experiences and observations regarding this matter, because I made the serious error of using my skills, resources, media contacts and coaching skills to help Suze onto the public stage at a time when she was unpublished, unknown, and deeply in debt. Every time I see Suze plundering the public and damaging the economy, I feel a deep regret for that mistake, and also feel guided to speak up as best I can to help reveal and heal this problem that resulted, in part, from my mistake.
Suze fooled me into helping to create the Suze Orman pseudo-expert deception in the early 1990s. I had just recently left nearly a decade of monastic ashram life and was already in the midst of a successful, award-winning television career, when I was asked by our mutual spiritual community to work with Suze to produce a video for their upcoming international broadcast.
Suze's behavior from the day we met was inappropriate to the extent that I would have probably chosen to step back from our association at that point. But I was obliged to keep things harmonious for the sake of our video, and before you knew it, Suze had wheedled, cajoled, flattered, conned, and outright begged me into an association that included my offering two years of assistance to help begin her writing and public speaking career at a time when Suze was unpublished, unknown, and deeply in debt.
Although I'm sharing some personal experiences along with the media documented examples, this is not really personal. If she were not continuing to rip through the world and the economy with the same ruthless, dishonest, and unethical behavior that caused harm to many people's lives even before she became publicly known, Suze Orman would have long ago become a barely-remembered footnote in my life journey of someone who taught some tough lessons about how dishonest, disrespectful, unethical, harmful, and greedy some people can be. Instead of being able to forget that such a twisted person exists (which is impossible to do in today's Suze Orman-saturated media landscape), I have felt obliged to share these negative events on this webpage and in my memoir as a way of warning people about the massive fraud that Suze and her supporters have perpetrated on individuals, the economy, and the fabric of society.
When, in spite of good intentions and other positive works, our mistaken actions have contributed to creating a problem that is causing significant damage to the world, it is our responsibility to at least try to help illuminate and heal that problem. Every time another low income person is fooled and harmed by Suze's scams, such as Suze's blatantly fraudulent "Approved" card scam of 2012, I feel one more pang of regret and encouragement to speak up. Therefore, I have put together this article and collection of relevant links, regardless of any possible repercussions. I really prefer not to think or speak badly about people, and if media professionals and government agencies were doing their work properly, I would not have had to take time from more positive and uplifting projects to create and document this presentation.
I am not an expert in finances in any way. I write books and produce films on spiritual happiness and ancient wisdom topics, focusing mostly on charitable works and service. If I have any self interest in offering this presentation, it would be the peace of mind and personal responsibility relief that would come from never again having to turn on my television and see someone I knew all too well as a thief, liar, and worse continuing to cause serious damage. Suze's shams and scams depend on people, journalists, and government agencies forgetting what she has said and done previously, so in this article I've preserved links to quite a few examples, mostly from 2012.
I don't claim to be unbiased in my views, but whatever bias I have comes from having experienced and witnessed Suze's damaging behavior and scams up close and all too personal. Experiencing Suze's corrupt ways has probably made it easier for me to spot her subsequent shenanigans - in fact, they have been quite glaring and difficult to not notice, much as I would have preferred to forget that a low integrity person such as Suze Orman even exists. Instead, I've had to turn on my television and watch Suze's scams plundering individuals, the economy, and the fabric of society, using fear and shame tactics to create guilt, negative associations with money, and a sense of dependency on her "all-mighty" advice.
My assistance in helping to spark Suze's career included asking major favors from my Hollywood colleagues to get this completely unknown, barely credentialed woman who had trouble even answering simple questions booked on her first two television shows, and using my multimedia skills to film, produce, and edit a video that used those two television appearances and other footage I filmed to give an inaccurate, actually deceptive, impression of Suze's financial knowledge and media experience. At the time, I was editing and producing for various news-based television shows, and had just spent nearly a decade editing videos about meditation, yoga, and spirituality, so creating a deceptive video was something I didn't feel comfortable doing. Nevertheless, I did it, and for that and all the other efforts I made to help begin Suze's writing and public career, I deeply apologize and have certainly paid a price, while also learning some difficult but important lessons.
The video I produced helped Suze get a top-notch publisher after her book proposal had already been turned down by more than thirty other publishers. The thanks I got for helping to make Suze's greatest dreams come true was for Suze to take umbrage over a bit of feedback about her increasingly abusive behavior, and to use that as an excuse to take a vow never to speak to me again in her entire life and to throw away all of her promised repayment - just as the book I'd helped her with for the previous two years, her first book, was at the printer and about to be released. Suze the con artist clearly had orchestrated the sequence of events, using her increasingly rude behavior and my expected mention of it to break every one of her promises, to rip me off, and then to create and spread, along with her "best friend" who had a position of trust in our mutual spiritual community, a campaign of false rumors that went on for years and virtually destroyed my good reputation there.
I assume Suze's reputation destruction campaign was intended to ensure that nobody in our mutual community would find out about Suze's behavior and actions, which also included Suze sexually assaulting me while I was asleep, even though she knew I was not gay, that I'd just left a decade of celibate monastic life, and that I certainly would not have been willing to have any sexual interactions with her. Suze did this violation as an act of aggression after we'd had a fairly minor argument, and it is the kind of violation I've heard she has also done to others. Certainly, I have seen many instances where Suze has tried to inflict the maximum damage on a long string of people who helped her up the ladder to her desired name, fame, and fortune - a career that has been built on lies and harmed supporters left damaged beneath her yacht rudders. The fact that, along with all the other problematic issues addressed in this article, Suze Orman is also a sexual deviant may be beside the point in terms of her financial advice, but it is part of her overall sociopathology that has caused damage to our world in numerous ways.
Suze's current gay rights media blitz has clearly been launched in response to Helaine Olen's newly released book "Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry," in which Suze is prominently featured as the most damaging figure in the personal finance industry. Perhaps the current focus on gay rights activism is also intended to make it more difficult for government agencies who have been looking into Suze's recent shenanigans to take appropriate steps such as filing charges without looking like they may be responding to her gay activism.
It is intriguing and somewhat disturbing for me to see a PR agency branded, "gay activist" and "Oprah protégé" be the person who sexually assaulted me while I was asleep during the time I was helping to start Suze's career, just as she has raped the US economy while the general public has been asleep to her devious actions.
This photo was taken during the time that I was using my skills and Hollywood contacts to help begin Suze's writing and public speaking career. When the official photographer came by to take a photo of me with the Emmy award I'd just won, Suze grabbed it and wanted to be the one holding it as if it were hers. It was not a big deal for me at the time, however her grabbing my Emmy award for the official photo is one more demonstration of the kind of person Suze Orman is.
Even with the troubles she caused me, I would be perfectly content if Suze were off living a happy and prosperous life on her yacht, because I don’t feel it is my place to decide or deliver karmic retributions. However, the circumstances change when the person who wronged you is now wronging millions of people and causing considerable damage to the economy and the social fabric of our country and world. The circumstances also change when you played a significant role in helping her onto the public stage, and when a little effort and honesty just might help wake up enough people that the Suze Orman "Oil Spill" pollution will finally become capped. I can't help to heal all the troubles in the world, but I can at least offer some time, effort and resources to gather and present this information and hopefully help clean up this part of the problem.
During these years, I have often felt guided and pressured to speak up, and so have taken time from my usual positive spiritual projects to create this article and gather some examples to help illustrate my points, including that Suze Orman is a media-made, corporate-sponsored pseudo-expert con artist who has fooled and plundered the public. This is a shyster with a sociopathic ability to lie and convey extreme uber-confidence even on topics in which she has zero education or training, including child-rearing, marriage issues, important personal life decisions, spirituality (using quotes she picked up from an ashram while using, abusing, and plundering the devotees), politics, charity - or in Suze's case, lack of charity, since she tells people not to help others and has clarified that when she says the altruistic sounding line "people first," it means to put yourself first, which according to Suze's advice really means to put your money above all else, an approach that is generally in line with her own actions, and not really the best road for individuals or society, as we've already seen during the "Suze Orman years."
The Suze Orman Prepaid Debit Card Scam
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:
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.
Whatever of your private information Suze is sending along to TransUnion 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.
From the Baltimore Sun:
Nevertheless, Suze appeared on show after show, painting a very deceptive latticework of words, with a special focus on fooling minorities, the poor, and those not educated about financial matters into trusting Oprah-blessed Suze and shoveling their few dollars into her insatiable pockets.
Here are the 20 fees in the small print of Suze's "Approved" card
(13 more than the "L' il Wayne card"):
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.
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:
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 that had already been universally panned as a bad deal by nearly the entire financial expert community. This rendition of Suze's prepaid debit card ruse 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. Suze tells George that she put her own money into creating the card, and hopes to make big profits from it's twenty possible fees that she doesn't mention (three more than the Russell Simmons card and thirteen more than the Lil Wayne card), 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 lots of unexpected fees, including multiple customer service calls to try and sort out the card's technical problems, which include losing some users' entire deposits on top of all the fees they have to pay to call customer service to try to find their lost money.
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's "Approved" card has twenty fees -- more than either the Lil' Wayne or Russell Simmons cards -- not to mention that unless card users have direct deposit or already have a bank account, they will have to pay $3.95 - $4.95 each time they add money to the card.
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.
More examples of Suze's Prepaid Debit Card Fraud:
In one of many CNN segments Suze appeared on to fool people into buying her fee-laden card, the fraudulently titled, "Prepaid debit card to help credit score" on the 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.
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
- 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
- Quit Calling Me An Idiot Business Insider
- 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:
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. She even pitched buying new Acuras as a smart investment in an ad for the 2012 holiday season (in which Suze drives the car just as she has driven the US economy and individual lives for the past fifteen years). This ad even played during The Daily Show, which should have been doing a piece about her shenanigans rather than taking money and allowing Suze to fill her pockets while advising Daily Show viewers to buy a new car, which goes against any financial advisor's advice, including her own. The evidence throughout this article shows that Suze Orman is pay to play. A corporation can put money in, and she says whatever they want 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. ("Suze Orman Thinks You Should Consider an Acura," Forbes)
At this link you can see how even 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 uber political lobbyist Hilary Rosen as publicist for her prepaid debit card fiasco.
When I saw Suze putting out this "Approved" 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 deals wouldn't be able to find a shred of Suze Orman mentioned on the current SelectQuote website or other materials.
Suze has also been 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 her partner checks for 50%. This ability to erase her previous moves is what has kept the Suze Orman scams running for so many years, filling many corporate and media pockets along the way, and ripping off many trusted viewers and readers who think Suze is a trusted advisor. Therefore, I've assembled this presentation. If you only click on the links in the text you've read so far, you should have a pretty clear picture of the Suze Orman problem.
The Suze Orman Newsletter/Gold Rush Scam:
On January 21, 2012, the Wall Street Journal discovered some discrepancies in the claims of Suze's Money Navigator Newsletter and it's expert, Mark Grimaldi, with some saying that it was a case of outright fraud. Mark Grimaldi says that the problem was mainly a typographical error made by someone who previously worked for the company. 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.
While pitching the Money Navigator Newsletter in 2011, Suze also went on a big time gold pitching blitz on Twitter and television shows. I'm not sure exactly why, although it alerted my "Suze scamdar," and ended with her sending people to buy gold ETFs via her newsletter, and then jumping out of the market herself, claiming to have reaped great profits from the gold rush, while those who took Suze's 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 and never received a single grace above a "C" 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:
In this clip, from near the end of Suze's "Gold rush" - after she claims to have already made a ton of money on the "Gold rush" and quickly sold her stock - Suze tells viewers of The View to still buy gold ETF's (not gold itself, but ETFs that they can get through her Money Navigator Newsletter):
Uh oh - Look what happened next! All those people who listened to Suze practically begging them to buy Gold on televison and social media, 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 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 – used Mark and his entire team to create a newsletter upon her request, I'm sure with many Suze-style 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." 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.
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've not known anyone with such a deep hole of desires, and I suppose Suze is one example of how someone desperate to fill that hole with more of everything finds ways to play her games, regardless of how many people she runs over in the process, and regardless of positing herself as a know-it-all bossy expert on all things, without any credentials to back it up. And ghostwritten books pushed by top industry media publicists are not credentials, although I'm sure Suze has learned a lot about finances while playing her roles and listening to CNBC, as she claims to do for hours a day. So in that regard, I would assume that her financial advice, reckless headline blasts and corporate-paid claims aside, is probably generally useful, aside from the seriously damaged, often heartless and inhumane world view she pushes alongside the information about whether you should get a Roth IRA, information that is already available from many non-sociopathic sources who are not looking to plunder and conquer the whole world.
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 uber-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. In this article, you'll find specific and clear examples of Suze's scams and shams, beginning with:
The Suze Orman "Approved" Prepaid Debit Card Scam
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 were 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 claims 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 experiement 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?
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 TransUnion/FICO score misinformation campaign fooled a whole lot of 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. She made a special ploy to fool poor and uneducated people, who were pitched the card by none other than 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.
In this 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" 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."
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 - although he does look to be feeling somewhat ashamed about it in the poverty panel infomercial clip. 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.
Watch Tavis Smiley's shocking infomercial for Suze's prepaid debit card scam at a panel ironically titled, "Poverty to Prosperity." In this next 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. No wonder Tavis is so uncomfortable due to using a poverty panel to plunder the poor. Watch the clip:
Here is a sample of how widely this prepaid card misinformation fraud spread through social media:
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 three years when she says 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.
But Suze wasn't only trying to plunder the poor with her card; she went after everyone, using the extensive media machine that bowed to her Oprah blessed influence, without calling her out for pitching a fraudulent campaign (not to mention for having an almost total lack of financial education) on their shows. 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 credit card.
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.
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 feel 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 just three years. Of course, Suze says all kinds of things that aren't true but serve some purpose for her pocketbook in the moment, so who knows?
It's the same pattern Suze has of giving a big kick in the butt 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 audiences even after it had been called out as a bad product and scam by more than one hundred finance journalists. Perhaps they 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.
Some may think it is a cute and fun story that someone who was a waitress with zero financial education or credentials - who often brags that she never received a single grade higher than a "C" during the many years it took her to get a bachelor's degree in social work - soon found her way, 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) - until she is now in an absurd position of public influence and trust as a supposed financial, lifestyle, family, and political expert. 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, and who often brags that she was a waitress who never got a single college grade above a "C" - 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 time through social media, like a free pre-ad for Suze's card. This theory is clearly supported by Suze's quote in the interview above, where she 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. . . a big bank!
The bank behind this card is U.S. Bancorp, and according to Wikipedia, it 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, 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.
As a side note, the information in this article, as with many of Suze's books, 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. This 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.
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, and who has also generated positive media and another layer of protection for Suze by casting her as a gay rights activist. It's really not hard to see all these shenanigans once you know to look.
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."
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.
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.
(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."
The story of Suze Orman's climb to fame and the use of her profit-tainted advice and influence to increase corporate profits and her own bottom line is filled with important examples and lessons that individuals and society need to learn if we are not to be plundered again and again by the sometimes-camouflaged instruments of corporate greed.
Obviously, Suze Orman is only one part of the overall problems of today's society, but she is one of the most influential, sociopathic, and mistakenly trusted voices in today's finance media landscape and media landscape in general.
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.
The woman who helped Suze create her financial platform and got Suze on her first radio shows 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 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.
Watch an interview titled, "Suze Orman's Snake Oil Schemes":
If you're one of the many who can see that Suze is a charlatan and 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 positions and headlines, the clear evidence in this article may make you realize that certain altruistic-sounding headlines - perhaps inspired by Suze or her team of advisors - may be little more than ways of generating support for her rip-offs, such as the "Approved" prepaid debit card scam of 2012 and the shockingly long string of corporations, banks, and products Suze has been handsomely paid by for over a decade to promote in her supposedly-trustworthy, cookie-cutter advice.
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 her old shenanigans being removed as she moves on to new ones. In 2012, a number of articles were deleted or rewritten - even years after they were published, clearly the work of Suze's PR team. I had included a link in an earlier paragraph on the word "revengeful," to a Portfolio article from 2009 titled, "Seriously Do Not Mess with Suze Orman," that 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 be 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 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.
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'm sure a quick check would show a long list of such changes, because I just happened to notice these while doing some small edits on this article. Here's another from Bloomberg Businessweek, which took Candice Choi's Associated Press article titled, "Suze Orman's prepaid card: Can you afford it?" and months later reposted it shorter and removing almost all of the critical information.
- Here is the original version of Candice Choi's article as it ran throughout the media landscape, including on Bloomberg Businessweek, which ran the exact same full, critical article, along with many critical comments from Businessweek readers, many of whom have actually studied finance and gotten over a "C" in at least one college course, unlike Suze.
- Here is the complete reedit of Candice Choi's article as it is today, at less than a third of the original length, with almost all of Candice Choi's negative assessments of the card and warnings to consumers removed, including, "Orman's monthly fee is clearly a better deal than the Kardashian card. Yet it's not necessarily 'the smart choice for you!' as she states on the card's website." Someone re-edited Choi's sentence, "Orman says that her Approved card costs just $3 a month 'if you use it how I tell you to,'" into the much more tame and less accurate, "Orman says that her Approved card costs just $3 a month if used as directed." Much more important information,including Choi's debunking of Suze's claims of credit impact are all now gone from the Businessweek version, along with all of the reader comments from financial experts who read Bloomberg Businessweek, and who are apparently less valuable to Businessweek than whomever convinced them and other media venues to edit or remove their articles.
I 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, 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 suggests, along with the fact that Suze never got over a grade "C" in any class while pursuing a social work bachelor's degree and the evidence of her own semi-literate Twitter messages (the ones she posts herself), 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. Although she had almost no education about finances and proudly claims to have never once gotten above a "C" in college as if it were a badge of honor, Suze has been a master of shenanigans throughout her waitress-to-world-expert sham.
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.
Three years before "going fishing," along comes 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. The 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.
So 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.
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.
Based on my observations and personal experiences with her, Suze Orman is a con artist and a narcissistic sociopath who has caused and continues to cause serious damage to individuals, the economy, and the fabric of society. Suze used to often brag to me with the confidence of someone who has made a deal with the devil that she could talk anyone into anything, although apparently this was not so, as one old friend from the ashram shared, "Suze would hardly take no for an answer regardless of how many times I told her I was in relationship and not at all interested in one with her. There was also no way that her interest could be taken personally or as a compliment, since it was widely known even way back then that she was a serial flirt."
After I spent two years helping to begin her career, Suze stole six-figures worth of promised repayment to me, and sexually assaulted me while I was asleep as an act of aggression after we'd had a fairly minor argument. Suze did this knowing that I was not gay or willing to have any kind of sexual interaction with her; she also knew that I'd just left a decade of monastic ashram life, and that her violation would be a very nasty first sexual experience for me.
Suze then began one of her infamous misinformation campaigns to ruin my reputation in our mutual spiritual community with a campaign of false rumors that Suze and her friend in a high position within the organization enthusiastically spread throughout the worldwide community for years. The main gossip spreader - Suze's "best friend" and lawyer, who Suze often touts on QVC as the "best trust lawyer in the country" - admitted to me in a striking moment of honesty that Suze had asked her to spread the rumors, though to this day she continues to bully business associates who have more recently helped Suze.
Unfortunately, Suze's lawyer is also a lawyer for our mutual guru's spiritual community foundation, an association that I believe has been the source of certain troubles that developed within the community during her years in that role, as she brought some of the negative potentials of cults into our community, including her childish lists of who was "in" or "out." In my view, the "Suze Orman and company problem" has caused harm to our spiritual path as well as to the whole world.
My association with Suze Orman -- including watching with deep regrets year after year, as she caused more and more damage to individuals, the economy, and the fabric of society -- took a toll on my health, my finances, and my relationship to the spiritual community in which Suze used that long running campaign of false rumors to smear my name. Nevertheless, my spirit remained strong, and I look forward to the healing that will come to the world and myself when the continual damage that has been spewing into the world after a mistake I made many years ago is stopped, like the BP Gulf oil spill that is Suze’s PR protector Hilary Rosen’s other client finally stopped, though with residual damage to the environment.
More on the Suze Orman Prepaid Card Misrepresentation Fiasco
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'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
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 first" 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. 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 top notch PR media blasts. So she clearly was using her visit to the Philippines to give advice specifically geared to set the stage for her prepaid card, for which she has probably partnered with the Bank of the Philippine Islands, 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 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 Phippines. 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 was planning to start a mutual fund with this expert anyway. Along came the 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. 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, refused to 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. 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.
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 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 some friends of mine, penniless and selling multi-level marketing water filters.
Twenty years before this interview, in 1992, after I'd had the misfortune of meeting Suze while working on a project for our mutual spiritual community, she was 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. In 1992, 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 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 took quite a few years beyond the publication of her first book for Suze to be catapulted into fame and undeserved trust by Oprah, or to have any kind of show or platform.
Suze's Behavioral Problems
With this as the face of personal finance,
no wonder our economy has gone down the tubes!
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, bringing her new (current) girlfriend to her previous girlfriend of nine years' birthday party to tell 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 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, 12.
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
As 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 problem reached a new crescendo and 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
Recently, 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, with what looks like a campaign of misinformation going along with it that falsely suggests use of this card will improve your FICO or credit scores, which it will not. 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.
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.
This is a similar tactic used by other liars who are called out for their webs of lies, such as Jodi Arias, who called ABC reporter Ryan Own a "hater" for asking her a valid question about whether she was honest in her description of her boyfriend's murder. In fact, I've noticed that Suze and Jodi Arias have a number of behavioral qualities in common, including the ability to weave webs of lies with more conviction than if she were telling the truth (as can be clearly seen in the clips of Suze's "Approved" card misinformation campaign of 2012).
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 testifying and obviously lying, their boldness and comfort with lying reminds me of Suze Orman. Someone doesn't just start behaving in these ways out of the blue. This is also the way Suze behaved when I knew her in the early 1990s, and worse.
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 to Ron Lieber, who was in fact one of the least critical journalists), must be hiding something dishonest about themselves. 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."
Note that after Ron calls her on her dishonest response, Suze readily admits her lie, a la Casey Anthony and 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 others in the early 1990s, claiming it had some occult, psychological power to manipulate people to get you out of any predicament.
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 getting what she wanted, which apparently was fame and fortune and to be able to lord over as the boss of everyone.
All that's missing are the horns.
Back 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. Cheri saw a photo of pre-published, pre-famous Suze, whom she had never heard of or met; she didn't know anything beyond the fact that we were friends. 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. This was in 1993, when Suze was completely unknown, less than a year before her first book was published. It was one of many warnings that I did not heed.
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 what 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. I think another may have been, "I want you to," which is something Suze also says quite often while telling people what she does or doesn't want them to do.
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 Gerri Willis, who interviewed experts 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 can’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
Oprah gave Suze Orman an almost complete media untouchability that has allowed her to continue running and expanding her strings of scams, including the overall sham of her being a so-called expert. Many journalists and media venues have jumped upon the Suze Orman train, giving a platform of undue credibility to this "Finance empress's new clothes" that has fooled millions of viewers into assuming that Suze Orman must have had some reasonable amount of financial education.
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).
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" her Buttercup Bakery customers to loan her $50,000, and then scamming Merrill Lynch into giving her some free financial training and a huge raise in income, to fill their women's quota and most likely to keep her from suing them after one of their brokers lost her money that she probably (knowing Suze) convinced him to invest in something high risk to generate more revenue for her more quickly. 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).
Once she became wealthy, Suze finally repaid the Buttercup Bakery customers who had loaned her a significant amount of money. 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 was 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 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:
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)
For over a decade now, Suze has been using the same ridiculous one liners such as women fake orgasms, men fake finances, and that women live longer than men so we're killing them off. Suze especially likes to share her not so illustrious resume of scamming her way to the top in almost every talk she gives, with her usual sociopathic swag.
Note: In the above clip, Suze shares the same story she's tolk 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.
Around the time Suze first entered the financial field in this dubious way, she received 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 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 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 both of our lives, as well as to the lives of others who helped spark Suze's public speaking and writing career. Suze created false rumor campaigns about both Cynthia and I in our mutual spiritual community, and caused significant harm to at least one other woman from the same community whose name appears in the acknowledgments of her first book.
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.
Obviously Suze has a certain amount of intelligence in spite of not receiving a grade above “C” in any college course during the many years it took her to get a BA in social work. It takes brains to learn as much information as she has and also to run a successful scam, including threats, bribes, and blackmail, that has been supported and propagated by so many top media and corporate figures. Suze may go down in history alongside Bernie as one of the most successful "gangsters" of today's economic disaster generation - and based on her own words and actions, she just might enjoy the distinction.
Suze’s name should go down in history in the same category as Bernie Madoff, except in her case, she has ripped off millions of people, often the poor and uneducated who trusted her for help, distorting the US economy with her lack of financial education and willingness to sell her advice to banks and corporations, using the extreme influence she managed to garner though behind the scenes deals and unabashed protectors, including Oprah Winfrey. It is time to clean this up.
The Suze Orman problem goes beyond whether some of her advice is accurate or some her products useful. The damage occurring to individuals, society, and the economy, IMHO, seriously mitigates any benefits. I have no interest in causing harm to Suze with this presentation, however I do feel obliged to try to mitigate the serious damage she continues to cause to individuals, the economy, and the fabric of society, for which I bear some personal responsibility, due to playing a significant role in helping to start Suze's writing and public speaking career at a time when Suze was unpublished, unknown, and deeply in debt.
Not too long before becoming the self-proclaimed "Personal finance expert of the world," with almost zero financial education or credentials, Suze was a waitress who had barely graduated with a B. A. in social work after many extra years, in which she proudly claims that she never receive a grade higher than a "C" in even a single one of her classes. A few years before her first book was published, Suze was selling multi-level marketing water filters, and staying with mutual friends (one of whom complained to me years later and to others in our spiritual community at the time that Suze was hitting on her over and over again, refusing to take no for an answer, even though the woman was already in a committed relationship). Because she didn't have any money, Suze was borrowing tens of thousands of dollars from friends. I first met Suze after being asked by our spiritual community's headquarters to co-produce a video for their broadcast event with her. At the time, she was deeply in debt and arguing in one phone call I overheard with her ex-girlfriend, who had loaned her $50,000, with Suze 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 in the second half of 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.
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:
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.
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 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
Of course it is great to share positive teachings that we've learned for the benefit of others, but Suze has plagiarized and appropriated spiritual wisdom as her own 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 Ariana 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, and also using spiritual teachings to cover up their misdeeds and paint a picture of being more altruistic than they are. I have also seen similar traits in other narcissistic sociopaths who have been in the news, with some acting as though they cared about someone or something to present a certain image, when it was clear that all they really cared about was themselves. 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 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
On the threshold of the 1990s, I left nearly a decade of monastic ashram life and 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.
I've also had a pretty good history of helping people to begin or uplevel successful careers - some famous, and some not (several are described in the "Kumuda Gump" chapter of my memoir, that you can read here). I was happy to know I'd contributed to the careers of quite a few talented, generally positive people who had much good to offer to the world, including Charlie Rose and Simon Cowell (I designed and edited the "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers" music video that was Simon's first success at a time when he was considering giving up on the music business). However helping Suze Orman onto the public stage brought a deeply unfortunate and ongoing source of regret.
Suze and I first met in late 1991, after we were asked to work together to co-produce a video for our mutual spiritual community. From the day we met, Suze revealed herself to be an unscrupulous person whose main interest seemed to be pushing, fooling, and using people to fill her unending mountain of desires. I didn't know at the time that she had also caused a lot of troubles for other community members.
With my successful television career and spiritual knowledge from a decade of monastic life where I'd scripted, produced, and edited hundreds of videos about spiritual wisdom of the ages, Suze obviously saw me as someone who could help her to achieve her goal. From the day we met, she came after me, using every plea and con she could come up with to get me to be friends with her beyond the project. 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 propogate her scams. I was simply not 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. During the 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 and outright whining and begging - 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.
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 with rude behavior, shaming, fear-mongering, and often conflicting, irresponsible, heartless, blanket, and profit-motivated whims and notions would be hosted by some of the most widely trusted shows and news outlets in the land, 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, 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.
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.
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 Sally Hershberger's studio, where Sally herself gave Suze the first version of her now-usual haircut, although I've never heard Suze give credit to Sally.
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 benefitting 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 surpisingly 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 that 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. 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, but the flavor of Suze's pushing in these twitter messages reminds me of some of the predatory aspects of how Suze came after me.
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 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 on individuals, the economy, and the fabric of society, 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. 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 and the economy.
Back in the 1990s, I noticed that Suze seemed to have a sadistic streak and seemed to get off on causing damage to certain people's lives, just as she now 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.) As I share in my memoir, 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 (you're welcome to download a gift e-book of the memoir here).
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 three-years. However, I really don't think the world and economy can take three more years 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 benefitted 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 livlihood 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.
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.
I don't personally watch her shows, so can only present the Suze shenanigans that are obvious from viewing news and social media mentions. I'm sure that an investigator who looks into the matter properly would find many more points of concern.
One new shenanigan 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 how she sets the scams and then plays the con.
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.
The 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 done 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 2013, Suze has also been going full throttle with her quest to plunder the Philippines.
I usually approach life with a feeling that people are generally good, though with inevitable flaws. Some people are damaged enough to cause real problems to others in their circles of influence, and occasionally a sociopathic type makes it to a position of social influence by using their conniving intelligence and extreme ambition to arrange all kinds of behind-the-scenes quid pro quo benefits, and to gain high-powered supporters who will push and protect their behavior from scrutiny as they perpetrate what is basically a fraud - in this case using Oprah's position of trust and a long string of corporate deals to enrich herself and many corporations and become a self-proclaimed "finance expert of the world," not to mention relationship expert, family expert, child expert, political expert, and education expert - with only the scantiest bits of education and credentials. I expect that Suze Orman will ultimately go down in history as one of the great con artists of the century, and my guess is that she'd enjoy the distinction.
I remember in December 1991, hearing Suze arguing with a friend who had loaned her $50,000, because Suze said she wasn't able to repay the money according to their agreed-upon schedule. This was at a time when Suze also owed more than one-hundred thousand dollars (at minimum) to others, yet she was spending that borrowed money on a constant string of luxuries, including leasing a top of the line 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 at Neiman Marcus and other such stores, eating out sometimes several times a day at expensive restaurants, and more, indulging every lavish desire with massive amounts of debt.
Most viewers assume that Suze's finance credentials must have been carefully screened by all these trusted news outlets and media figures who have ooohed and aaahed over this empress's "delusions of grandeur" clothes for the past fifteen-plus years.
What Suze has lacked in financial credentials, she's made up for with ghostwriters, experts, a media machine, currently headed by BP Oil spill publicist Hilary Rosen, the support of Oprah, Larry King, Barbara Walters, Steve Forbes, Jack Welch, NBC, CNN, ABC, and way too many other supposedly trustworthy news sources, plus top ICM agent Binky Urban, whose 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," and whose 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."
From Womans Wear Daily:
All you would have to do to see Suze's inability to write, spell, or use grammar properly in action would be to look at her twitter feed at @suzeormanshow, where it is quite obvious which tweets are written by Suze versus the generally properly written ones posted by her publicists, etc.
As a Yahoo contributer noted in a 2008 article titled, "Ten Reasons Why Suze Orman is Not Qualified to Discuss Finance and Money": "It also sounds like she gets her stuff off the Internet and tweaks it so that it sounds like she did her homework to the capacity of an accountant, financial planner, or stockbroker." The staff at one of the offices that has worked closely with Suze regularly call her "Google Orman" for just that reason.
The above excerpt excerpt reveals several interesting things, including the fact that Suze decided Binky Urban was "a great woman," solely based on nothing but hearing her tell someone to go f--k themselves, and what looks like a clear agreement to use ghostwriters for Suze's books. When she met Binky Urban, Suze had "written" one book, "You've Earned It; Don't Lose It," the one I unfortunately helped get going, however it was Linda Mead who wrote the book, though with some input and information from Suze. Some authors may prefer to give their information to someone who is going to write the book on their behalf, but in Suze's case, there are other questions, including her lack of finance education, mentions by people like this woman, who Suze wanted to hire to give the information that Suze would pretend to know, Suze's often conflicting advice, and a whole lot of corporate sponsored pitches disguised as trustworthy advice.My guess is that Suze's legacy will ultimately be that someone with no credentials was able to fool the world, and I also think she quite possibly knows and likes the idea of that, as she often brags about growing up in the South Shore Chicago "hood," working as a waitress earning $400/month, just a few years before being turned by many savvy agents, publishers, corporate interests, ghost writers, media moguls, and unfortunately my mistaken assistance, into a "major financial expert."
If Suze were to ask my advice - as she used to do on an almost daily basis during the two years when she went from unpublished, unknown, and deeply in debt to having her first book published and being well on her road to a successful career with bestsellers, massive fame, and more money than one person who rarely gives to charitable works (and doesn't always pay her debts) could really need - I would suggest that she move up her retirement date to now, to stop the shenanigans, and just forget this prepaid card B.S. and whatever other corporate deals she has in store for the American, Filipino, Chinese or whatever people she is looking toward for her next influx of money and fame. Even the Kardashians had the humility to admit their mistake and take their card off the market when many (including Suze!) reprimanded them for it.
With the state of today’s society and economy, it is not always possible to have top notch, altruistic people in propitiations of authority, but when sociopaths without credentials use their delusions of grandeur to foster alliances that help appoint them as social arbiters -- in this case one who creates shame and fear and spits out denied at people’s dreams without even taking time to understand their situations, someone who ruins livelihoods, distorts streams of the economy, and wantonly damages industries by commanding that millions of people take vows not to go to restaurants, or insisting that everyone must cancel their newspaper service, instead of guiding people on how to decide what is most important in their individual lives. This is someone who egotistically demands that people listen to her opinionated kibble as if they were words coming from one of the great thinkers of our time, with some of the major media players going along, either from unawareness or complicity. Suze may be intelligent enough to cram study for interviews and to be a good con artist, but she is not as smart as she wants you to think she is, nor is she a good role model.
My primary reason for offering this article is to help protect individuals, the economy, and society from further harm. One personal side benefit would be the healing that would come from not having to turn on my television set and see all these supposedly trustworthy media figures lauding and fawning over the sneering face and bared teeth of a person who certainly caused considerable trauma to my life and to the lives of others who helped to spark her career.
Suze Orman is a personification of a society where greedy corporations have put profits above the well being of individuals, humanity, and earth herself, but she is sociopathic enough to cover it up, at least for some. Plenty of professionals have seen through the sham, but haven't spoken up except in the comments of many of those articles linked to above. Suze is a manifestation of what is essentially an increasingly sociopathic socioeconomic structure, stirring up fear and shame-based money obsessions, advising against kindness and generosity, and preaching a factory-style approach to life - which would certainly be beneficial to the bottom line of some corporations and corporate heads, many of whom support and even push Suze as the "personal finance expert of the world."
But it doesn't have to be that way. If we can speak up about these kinds of problems, those who shouldn't be in positions of power can be replaced with more honest and altruistic guides, and people individually can rise up and become leaders, each within our own circles and in our own lives – not leaders in terms of fooling and pilfering the poor or generating shocking headlines to sell books, but leaders in terms of taking care of ourselves and others while encouraging personal and social excellence with relish and joy.
Having now offered this page into the public discourse, I happily return to other more positive projects.
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