Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A "Foreign Scammer" E-mail for Birth Professionals

I'm sure everybody has received one of those foreign scammer e-mails at least once... Hi, I'm a Nigerian prince, I want to buy something that costs $250, I'll send you a check for $2500 and you send me the change!  and so on.  Apparently, there is now one of these e-mails targeting the birth community.  Below is the text of an e-mail that has apparently been received by birth professionals in several states:

Greetings from France!

My name is Craig Dennis a Graduate of the prestigious Atlanta School of Massage in the United States, I worked with many celebrities and developed an international reputation for fantastic massage with an impeccable sense of service, I now live and work as a massage therapist here in France, I have over 19 years experience and have given more than 20,000 massages as a professional bodyworker. I do deep relaxation massage in which the muscles relax without pain. I also do energy massage that helps people feel great when I am done. I am also certified to do pregnancy massage.

I have lots of happy clients here in France.I have been looking for a Childbirth Educator for over a week now till i met an old friend yesterday that referred you to me, so i decided to contact you to know if you will be able give my client some private childbirth Classes, My client's name is Aly Corte, A model here in France who is 4 month pregnant and will be needing some Childbirth Classes when she arrives the States,as this is her first time being pregnant. She will be coming to the U.S in 2 weeks time for a modeling job and will be residing in your Area temporarily until the necessary arrangement for her job has been made before she leaves.

She will be needing 2 hour class per day, 2 classes per week for 6 weeks. Ms Corte, asked me to come with her to America but i told her i would not be able to go with her as i have a course i will be going for in a week time,and also because i do not know much about childbirth Classes, so i promised to help her get a good Doula in your Area since i use to live in the states before i relocated here.

Pls tell me a little more about your self, how long have you been a Doula? Would you be able to provide her with the Private Classes from the 4th of FEB to the 13th of MARCH, 2 Classes per week for 6 weeks. I need you to get back to me with the amount you charge per class and also let me know if she can pay you with a Certified check drawn from a US bank?

You can view some of Ms Corte Pictures from the link below:


Till I read from you remain blessed.

Craig Dennis
544 4816 from France
1544 4816 outside France

Hopefully it is obvious to anyone that this e-mail is full of inaccuracies and inconsistencies, and is more than likely a scam, but as we all know, we are a very compassionate, helpful community of professionals who accord a great deal of benefit of doubt.  Please be on the lookout for this or similar e-mails.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Full Circle: International Training of Mystery

We have been very focused on Brio Birth, a particularly pernicious scam in the birth community.  However, the name of this blog is Birth Scam Report, and as such we wish to protect the birth community from any and all scams.

One such concern raised has been a placental encapsulation training from Full Circle Encapsulation.  This training, based on information received, has taken place at various locations in the United States and Australia.  There has apparently been pretty universal dissatisfaction with both the content and the conduct of the trainings.  A letter from Australia reads:

It is with considerable regret that we in Australia are contacting birth workers throughout our beautiful global community, but at this stage we feel we have no other option than to share our experience with other hard working, well intentioned women.

Like many of you, we are very committed to women and their families and as Midwives, Doulas and Childbirth Educators, we are always looking to expand our education to further support women during their perinatal period. It was with some excitement that we organised and welcomed Amanda Johnson, of Full Circle Encapsulation in America, into our Community and our homes, as many of us are increasingly getting requests about placenta encapsulation. The plan was for her to visit 3 of our states. She delivered her training to New South Whales and Victoria, but cancelled the Werstern Australia training the day before it was scheduled to start, due to low numbers. This was extremely disappointing to say the least, particularly regarding the short notice as all participants had made special arrangements around personal and work responsibilities in order to attend this training.

The hosts involved in NSW and Vic were very generous in their hospitality with Amanda, and in organising the courses. A financial remuneration had been agreed upon, as part of a signed contract, prior to the training.

Amanda returned to America after the NSW and VIC trainings, and the WA women waited for their refunds (some $3000 in total), and waited and waited. Emails were sent, requesting, begging and demanding refunds, but no replies were received in return. Eventually, a single email was received by one of the disappointed attendees to say that Amanda had had a financial situation and was unable to refund at this time. Obviously this was completely unacceptable to us and at this stage, the other hosts became involved and an almost daily communication from them and ourselves FINALLY led to most of us being reimbursed. At this stage, there is still money outstanding and certainly no form of an apology has been issued.

Unfortunately, during this time, it became evident that Amanda had also not paid the hosts. Money was owed for venue, food, materials and a small percentage for organising the training. The hosts in NSW and VIC have tried communicating with Amanda but her sporadic replies are consistently vague and sketchy.

We gave her many weeks ( months now) to reply to our emails, but over time it became obvious that the unthinkable had happened, and that we have all in fact been misled.

We are still waiting for the hosts to be refunded, but were really torn as to whether we should warn other women about this organisation. We are a compassionate, caring community of women who work very hard and respectfully with women, and the very last thing we would want to do it to cause stress to another woman ( we all have families and understand life can throw some challenges)

However, it has just come to our attention that Amanda has again taken payment for another course, in America this time and then cancelled the day before training. So, we no longer feel hesitant in potentially damaging Amanda’s reputation by sharing this information. We just want to warn women, Midwives, Doulas and Childbirth Educators out there, that there are more reputable places to train. It is with heavy hearts that we share this experience with the birthing community, but we feel that it is our duty to inform our fellow birth workers so that they can avoid similar issues. We have tried everything to work with Amanda, given her every chance to come good on her promises but she has let us all down time and time again.

Another report from a training in the United States reads:

The training itself was disappointing... It was a year ago, so I hope things have improved. But she gave us binders and training consisted of taking turns reading out of it. At the beginning, someone asked how she became qualified to certify encapsulators. The short answer was she googled it. She didn't give us a list of necessary tools so we didn't have enough gloves... I don't think the information was accurate... and the promised "hands on from beginning to end" was laughable. Since she stayed with me, we had more of a conversation and she told me how some one said it was "the best training they'd ever taken." I can't fathom who would say that. 

This experience was evidently similar to that of the trainees in Australia.  The sources quoted above want the birth community to know that this may not be the best option for a training in placental encapsulation, and that signing up may result in a loss of hard-earned money, whether due to a training cancellation with no refund, or due to inferior training.

It seems that many in the birth community are learning the hard way to do research on organizations offering training before investing their money and/or their reputations.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Spinning Brio

Brio is at it again!  With Kylomi back in control of the Facebook page, they are trying to direct traffic and scam money any way they can.  Witness their response when someone asks about the availability of classes:

Since they don't appear to actually have any educators anywhere, their "options" are likely a virtual class taught by Naomi.  Any bets on how much they charge?  A $50 fire sale come-on price?  A vastly over-inflated $595?  If anyone actually knows the answer to this question, please comment, inquiring minds want to know.  Also, note the new e-mail address:

A new e-mail address likely means a new Paypal or Google Checkout account.  Something new for the AAHCC to freeze perhaps?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ask Karl

In the wake of Kylomi regaining control of the Brio Facebook Page, the silence from Karl is deafening.

Please bump any outstanding questions for Karl into this thread - hopefully this will help to organize things a bit if he has been offline.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Make an Offer

An anonymous source sent me the content of the offer letter for the assets of Brio Birth, asking that it be published in toto.

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Karl Clinger. I began working with Brio Birth in April of 2010 to assist in the area of technology. Already, there were many who had contributed their time and efforts to the intellectual property of Brio Birth, like the workbook and articles for the website. Nobody had a solid contract, but I was not willing to work without any terms to protect my investment of both time and money. So, I required that ownership of company assets (at the time) at least up to the value of my contributions would be retained.

Contractually, I own several domains for Brio Birth, including briobirth.com. Web tracking statistics show that this domain has more traffic than any other childbirth education related site. I also own all of the intellectual property of Brio Birth, which includes the social media. The Facebook page has almost 25,000 likes. Compare that to Lamaze with 2,200 and Bradley Method’s 5,635 likes. In short, my assets includes anything produced by the efforts of Brio Birth (like the highly esteemed Brio Birth Workbook). 

These terms were executed in a contract predating any judgments against Brio Birth, LLC. Kyle Thomas, CEO of Brio Birth, LLC, signed the agreement fully intending for me to be involved with much more growth than even has been realized. I had an amazing idea that I felt would benefit the company, but a difference in business philosophies has encouraged me to go in a different direction. I already have an impressive short list of very capable, well respected people in the birth community who could take over and make Brio Birth what I know it should be. I have also spoken with a few organizations that feel they could benefit greatly from one or more of the assets listed above. Therefore, I am writing this letter to several organizations that could possibly benefit from any of the assets listed above.

Alexa.com has briobirth.com ranked 1,890,844 globally. (The higher the number is the better.) Compare that to 628,618 for Lamaze and 1,130,559 for bradleybirth.com. Estimations of the value of facebook likes vary. On the low end, it is estimated that a facebook like is worth between $50 and $100.  Higher, corporate, estimations put the value of a facebook like at an average of $137.84. At the most conservative estimates, the Brio Birth facebook page is worth $1,250,000. Websites with similar metrics and comparisons within their own industry sell anywhere from $200,000 to $10,000,000. Rights to the workbook alone could produce massive retail sales or be used to improve existing materials of any childbirth education company. It is considered by most in the birth community to be the best manual available.

I apologize for my delay in writing this letter. The most recent development with the Thomases is that they will now be operating under Brio Birth, LLC. I am not sure what they will sell and how they will operate, because I am the only one with administrative access to any of the hosting, email and social media accounts. I have a contract signed by Kyle Thomas giving me sole ownership of the assets described in this email. 

I would like to cash out. However, in the absence of a suitable offer I will enlist the services of very qualified birth professionals who will use these assets as a starting point to make an organization like Brio Birth was supposed to be.


Karl Clinger

I will note that I have reason to believe that this was distributed before Karl renounced rights to the Brio Birth workbook.  That said, I am concerned that someone citing alexa rankings in order to make a sales pitch is not aware that a lower ranking on alexa.com is better than a higher one.  Consider the rankings of
babiesrus.com (21,598), babycenter.com (757), or facebook.com (2).  I am also a bit leery of the value of a Facebook like, but would like to note that if anyone is interested, the Birth Scam Report Facebook page is worth at least $50,000.  Humor aside, I could see some value, if not the above stated estimates, if the likes were of good quality, likely to turn into some sort of sale, or at least ad revenue.  Many of the likes on Brio Birth are not of that quality, though, and this should be taken into consideration.

I'm afraid that in many ways, Brio Birth is not much more than an albatross.  I strongly agree with the camp that encourages simply shutting it all down.  If the Thomases plan to continue operating under Brio Birth, LLC, maybe Kyle would be interested in purchasing the domains and Facebook pages back. He might be able to find an investor somewhere.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

From Embryos to Eggs?

In the wake of the parking pass scandal last spring, some rumors were swirling about a "breakup" of the Clingers and the Thomases that would effectively cut Brio's funding and cripple the scam.  Unfortunately, those rumors did not seem to bear out the events that so many of us had hoped for.

This blog has been largely silent about Karl Clinger and his association with Brio Birth.  There have been a few different reasons for that over time.  One was mixed feelings that did include an element of compassion for him as a victim of the Thomases' scamming.  One was a hope, for a brief, shining time last spring, that he would do the right thing on his own and shut Brio down for good.  And one was that, as evinced by the lawsuit that he is still waging against Melissa (for you newbies, she was the author of Brio Vent, a previous blog dedicated to exposing the truth about Brio / Kyle and Naomi Thomas and their scams), he is not above bullying, including by abuse of the legal system.  Now, however, I feel compelled to break that silence.

Coming soon from the Clingers: OVO Birth.  It appears that this is to be a replacement for Brio Birth.  So first we had Brio - the name of Kyle Thomas' little proposed empire, which purported to mean so many things, while making people think of toy trains.  When he started exploiting the birth community, he also claimed it as related to the Greek word embrion, which is the basis of embryo, meaning life within.  When he started having to run from federal judgments and mountains of other debt and threatened or pending litigation, along came Karl, the attempted human reputation shield, with Embrion Group, Inc - a Nevada corporation, which was never fully legally incorporated, and after a time of waiting for the steps to be completed, had its status revoked.  Now there is to be OVO Birth - OVO, obviously, from the Latin for egg.  Ivy has protested to sources who wish to remain anonymous that it is solely her project, that Karl is not involved.  A simple whois lookup of the domain, however, tells a different story. From an outside perspective, Karl seems to be as uninvolved with OVO Birth as he was with Brio Birth.  


At the same time, an anonymous source has revealed that Karl is attempting to sell Brio Birth... to the Hathaways!  Points for brass cojones, anyway.  He put himself forth as a continuation of Brio Birth, using most of the same principals in the company, collecting money on behalf of Brio Birth, even doing a foreign entry into CO as "Brio Birth", meaning he has assumed successor liability for all of Brio Birth's debts, including a $140,000 judgement against Brio for the Hathaways, and he turns around and offers to sell Brio's assets to them.  Apparently, this package is supposed to be worth a lot of money:

  • A broken website containing outdated and recycled blog posts, a lot of bad links, and an inaccurate list of educators, many of whom have publicly denounced Brio Birth
  • Over 20,000 likes on Facebook, many of which are poor quality - based on information and belief, they are either bought or they are the result of memes, many of them stolen, going viral - in other words, likes that will not be likely to convert into any kind of paying customer, and even ad revenue on a monetized site would be questionable
  • A large amount of intellectual property stolen from a yahoogroup that was created by educators, for educators
  • A workbook that contains a great deal of intellectual property that Brio itself doesn't have the rights to, and multiple cease and desist notices sent against it
This anonymous source reports that the Clingers' plan is to use Brio to drive traffic to OVO, then post all the stolen IP publicly, claiming that they are "giving it back to the birth community".  It is unclear whether Kylomi will be involved in any way with this new project, or whether they will be profiting in any way from it.