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Awakened – Crook Review



The introduction of Awakened wasn’t the most seamless.

The business pre-launched with an NFT cash grab that could have defrauded affiliates of tens of millions of dollars.

Concerning a legal conflict between Vietal Nutrition and First Fruits Business Ministries, Zenith, the main supplement of Awakened, has also been plagued by controversy.

On September 1st, I made an effort to sort through the Zenith patent muck. I came to the conclusion that even though FFBM and owner Roger Catarino were the targets of a 2013 decision against Vietal Nutrition, it had no real practical application.

Whatever verdicts Vietal Nutrition might have reached, it was obvious that FFBM had been producing Trisynex supplements for well over a decade.

Trisynex, the primary component of Zenith, is covered under Patent No. 6,899,892. Anyone who searches for it will be able to see that FFBM received it in 2011.

The cynic in me thinks Awakend’s debut with Zenith is a result of the patent expiring earlier this year.

The assertion that Awakend possessed global exclusivity over Trisynex was crucial to its debut. It was claimed that this was obtained from Vietal Nutrition, which was absurd given the ‘892 patent.

Roger Catarino got in touch with me after I published that exploratory post to let me know he had given Awakend a stop and desist letter.

Reid Winthrop, an attorney with Vietal Nutrition, contacted me after writing about the Awakend cease and desist letter.

Winthrop first reaffirmed the assertions I was previously largely familiar with and considered to be essentially useless for the reasons mentioned above.

No matter how many court orders and legal documentation were presented, FFBM’s name was still on the ‘892 patent that had expired, and they kept making Trisynex.

It looked that Vietal Nutrition had sold the rights to a supplement formula that they technically did not hold, unless there were significant advancements.

The “significant development” I was searching for occurred on September 13. A Californian judge mandated that FFBM be taken over by a receiver.

The expired ‘892 patent is owned by FFBM, although Winthrop asserts that Tripharma, the previous marketing name of Vietal Nutrition, holds sole rights to it.

TriPharma was granted new, valuable, and exclusive intellectual property rights, to the exclusion of all others, by its license in 2006/2007 and a later modification (2013).

The power to exclude is one of a patent’s most valuable features. Anyone else who wants to “use” the patented technique (or product) must make a reference to the patent and receive notification from the patent holder.

Even the assignee/holder of the ‘892 Invention, First Fruits/Catarino, was not permitted to use the patent, since TriPharma held an exclusive license to it.

The mud is clear? Winthrop asserts that TriPharma acquired exclusivity from Imagenetix, the original ‘892 patent owner, and continued to hold onto that monopoly even after the ‘892 patent was transferred to FFBM in 2011. Yeah, I’m not too sure about that either, but Winthrop makes that claim.

Don’t worry if you’re still unclear about how that operates. Set that aside and catch up on the current state of affairs.

The court outlined the background of the ‘892 patent as follows, using the 2013 $4.6 million default judgment against Catarino and FFBM:

Prior to relinquishing its rights, Imagenetix, the organization that had “essentially all the rights connected with the ‘892 Patent,” entered into arbitration with Tripharma over the Patent.

In general, Tripharma’s exclusive rights to the Patent under its sublicensing arrangement with Imagenetix at the time were upheld by the arbitration decision in its favor.

The arbitrator ordered a “injunction” extending the licensing agreement to the Patent until October 2014 after concluding that this arrangement had given Tripharma exclusive rights to the Patent at that time.

In March 2012, Tripharma filed a lawsuit alleging patent infringement against FFBM. A default judgment was granted in April 2013 since FFBM failed to respond to the action.

The Court approved the motion for default judgment on April 2, 2013, awarded Tripharma $4,659,990 following a hearing on the subject.

Judgment. On May 20, 2013, the Court rejected First Fruits’ request to have the default and default judgment vacated and granted Tripharma $643,360.50 in lawyers’ costs.

For the following year and a half, not much transpired after that ruling.

The exclusivity injunction from October 2014 was lifted. And from what I hear, FFBM either kept producing Trisynex supplements or started over.

TriPharma brought a new lawsuit against FFBM in October 2021. As the court has recognized;

That lawsuit is still pending. The Patent’s rights are still up for debate.

This concurs with my former view regarding the litigation and patent ownership.

TriPharma requested the appointment of a Receiver in their case from October 2021 so that they could take over FFBM. This was an effort to carry out the $4.6 million 2013 decision.

Tripharma’s original application for the appointment of a receiver in this case was dismissed by the court on May 4, 2022.

The Court determined that Tripharma had not sufficiently shown its attempts to collect the Judgment via legal remedies and its subsequent failure to do so.

On May 19, TriPharma made another attempt. This time, the company requested an ex-parte injunction “enjoining the disposal and/or fraudulent conveyance of intellectual property assets.”

On June 8th, the court issued the desired injunction.

First Fruits then submitted an ex parte application asking for further information on the parameters of the preliminary injunction.

First Fruits argued that the preliminary injunction was only meant to prevent the company from selling, assigning, transferring, or otherwise disposing of any intellectual property it owned or controlled; it did not cover any money it made from the use of the IP.

Tripharma has looked for the money to pay the judgment.

The court had a harsh reaction to FFBM’s application.

“The Court is prepared to rethink its prior order refusing the appointment of a receiver,” the court said in denying First Fruits’ motion.

TriPharma responded by submitting a second motion to appoint a Receiver.

The court argued that this time;

Tripharma has made significant efforts to find assets and collect on the judgment since the court rejected its initial request for a receiver. These efforts include serving post-judgment discovery, obtaining an exemplified judgment and starting collection proceedings in South Carolina, making additional demands for payment of money toward the judgment and order, and filing for an injunction preventing First Fruits from harming Tripharma any further.

Tripharma contends that a receivership is the only way to collect the judgment that is due since Tripharma tried to collect the judgment over the period of nine years, and more recently engaged in significant post-judgment activities; all of these attempts were unsuccessful.

Tripharma also argues that aside from its intellectual property holdings, First Fruits has no other assets that a receiver may seize in order to pay the judgment.

TriPharma, according to FFBM, requested the appointment of a Receiver “to avoid the IP lawsuit by seizing control of the IP assets in question, such the Patent.”

First Fruits contends that Tripharma has not made a sincere effort to implement the judgment using the less extreme remedies at its disposal.

First Fruits argues in favor of this claim by saying that it tried to negotiate with Tripharma to pay 25% of all incoming monthly earnings for the Trimfit for Life product.

Tripharma declined, which First Fruits claims shows that Tripharma is not interested in getting paid but instead wants to take control of the intellectual property assets and prevent First Fruits from being able to defend itself in the concurrent legal dispute over these assets.

The judge dissented…

First Fruits claims that it is cooperating, although for more than nine years, First Fruits has made every effort to avoid satisfying the Judgment.

The proposal by First Fruits for 25 percent of the earnings from one of their products, Trimfit for Life, to be paid out monthly, is insufficient both in terms of content and time.

…but was hesitant to relinquish command of FFBM’s “IP assets”.

The Proposed Order gives the Receiver a too wide range of power, the Court agrees.

There are already a number of provisions in the proposed order that would grant the receiver administrative and operational power as well as the transfer of all of First Fruits’ intellectual property assets to Tripharma.

The Court disputes the idea that these powers are required for the current objectives under examined.

The Court then appointed an FFBM Receiver with the intention of

To gather all profits and income from the receivership property and to levy it as needed to help with the judgment’s collection.

TriPharma has been given fourteen days to file a fresh Proposed Ruling for the court to examine, omitting the “IP assets” items, in accordance with the court’s order from September 13th.

When a Receiver is appointed, FFBM is effectively prevented from making money off the sale of Trisynex supplements until the $4.6 million judgment against them is met.

I’m not familiar with FFBM’s annual income, but that could take some time.

Unfortunately, a final decision about uncovering the facts behind the transfer of exclusive rights to Awakend depends on the result of the lawsuit Tripharma LLC v. First Fruits Business Ministry LLC et al (case number: 8:21-cv-01806).

The lawsuit that the Court is referring to was very recently filed in October 2021. According to the court, “the rights to the Patent remain unresolved” awaiting the resolution of the dispute.

As a result, I’m changing my previous conclusion that Vietal Nutrition is selling the rights to a product that they don’t seem to own to Vietal Nutrition selling the rights to a product whose ownership is still up in the air.

The appointment of a Receivership will undoubtedly have an influence on FFBM’s business activities and, dare I say it, tilt the balance in TriPharma’s favor in the October 2021 lawsuit.

A jury trial has been planned for March 28th, 2023, barring an earlier resolution.

Both sides are currently firmly entrenched. On May 19, TriPharma submitted a second amended complaint. On August 19, FFBM submitted a first amended counterclaim.

Decisions on motions to dismiss the complaint and the counterclaim that were filed are still pending.

First Fruits Business Ministry LLC v. Tripharma LLC has been added as a case to be tracked by BehindMLM. Dare I imply that Awakend’s future hinges on how the case turns out?

While this patent snafu is being worked out, I still believe Awakend should never have been released.

Update: On October 20, 2022, FFBM’s counterclaims were dismissed, but the door was left open for FFBM to file an amended counterclaim.

On October 7th, FFBM also submitted a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition.

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Awakend & Zenith – Crook Review Part 3




Mickey Burns, a BehindMLM reader, contacted me earlier today to let me know.

This blog’s content is fantastic, and it has really aided me throughout the years.

She also criticized our coverage of Awakend’s prelaunch, notably their leptin supplement Zenith.

Oz, the white paper is available on the internet. Even a cursory Google search will reveal how the hormone Leptin functions.

This encouraged me to visit Awakend’s new website (which didn’t exist at the time I covered the company’s prelaunch) and download a copy of their “whitepaper” (tell me you’re a crypto bro without telling me you’re a crypto bro).

Oh, no.

You’ll see in the opening paragraph of the whitepaper report that it’s a 2008 study released in 2009. In other words, the research was carried out fourteen years before Zenith existed.

The next thing you’ll notice is that “Zenith” has been edited in, thus doctoring the published paper.

This renders it ineffective.

What was the original study’s purpose, as published? Is Zenith based on the same formula? Are the researchers okay with having their study doctored?

I’m not well-versed in academic process, but I can’t image doctoring published articles going over well. I know I’d be upset if someone took a published research with my name on it and changed it.

Awakend should publish the original study and include an update showing Zenith employs the exact same formula as examined in 2008.

Looking at the document’s attributes, we can see that it was last modified on August 12th, 2022 by Ashlee Headlee.

Ashlee Headlee James manages Awakend’s exclusive business Facebook community. Her precise function inside the organization has not been revealed.

Awakend’s website has no information about the company’s ownership or executives. Compensation paperwork is also missing, as recruiting is presently the company’s only priority.

The full Awakend evaluation of BehindMLM is pending the introduction of the company’s pay plan.

Awakend has updated the doctored study with a blanked out version of the original as of August 27th, 2022.

The following remark appears to have been added to the supplied 2008 research in reaction to this article;

The 2008 research referred to Trisynex, as stated in the comments below.

Roger Catarino sells Trisynex through First Fruits Business Ministry LLC.

The claim by Awakend to have “exclusive worldwide rights” is dubious because Trisynex-containing products exist and have been accessible for some time.

At the time of this update, Awakend had not addressed the availability of Trisynex in competitor products.

1st September 2022 – Update Because of the uncertainty surrounding Awakend’s assertions that Zenith is an exclusively licensed recipe, formulator Vietal Nutrition issued a statement.

Unfortunately, this has simply generated additional suspicions about Zenith’s exclusivity.

9th September 2022 – Update First Fruits Business Ministry has issued a stop and desist letter to Awakend about its Zenith marketing claims.

TriPharma (dba Vietal Nutrition) has achieved the appointment of a Receiver as of September 14, 2022.

FFBM will be placed under the control of the Receiver. The funds generated will be used to pay TriPharma’s 2013 judgment against FFBM.

Awakend has also deleted the previously supplied Trisynex research from its website, unless I’m mistaken.

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SEC & Forsage – Crook Review




The SEC has moved to provide alternate service to three of Forsage’s four founders.

Vladimir “Lado” Okhotnikov, Lola Ferrari, and Sergey Maslakov all live in other countries.

Okhotnikov, Vladimir “Lado”
According to the SEC;

Okhotnikov is a Russian citizen who is thought to be living in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. He is the operation’s public face, hosting many of its YouTube videos and participating in interviews with key promoters.

Okhotnikov engages with Forsage investors and promoters on a daily basis via Forsage and, more recently, Meta Force social media, YouTube, and Telegram.

Okhotnikov also has personal social media profiles via which he communicates, including Instagram, Facebook, VK, Telegram, and Twitter. He also has his own personal website.

Okhotnikov has stated on his Instagram profile that he is “constantly traveling,” and he appears to have visited Indonesia, Dubai, and Peru in the last two years.

During the inquiry, the Commission received a copy of Okhotnikov’s passport, which indicated him to be a Russian citizen but had no residence.

Despite attempts by Commission employees, the Commission is unsure of Okhotnikov’s present address.

He did, however, imply that he was in Georgia in both his August 19 and August 22 Instagram postings, and he reposted those same images on Facebook.

Similarly, he indicated that he was in Georgia in an interview he conducted on August 8, 2022, following the filing of the Commission’s Complaint in this situation.

Maslakov, Sergey
According to the SEC;

Maslakov is said to live in either Gelendzhik or Moscow, Russia. He has mostly appeared in Forsage Russian-language commercial films.

Foris DAX, the parent company of crypto exchange, provided the SEC with Maslakov’s email address and “last known whereabouts.”

Maslakov’s email address is smas*, according to the account information obtained by

The records also show that Maslakov visited his account from an IP address in Moscow, Russia, during 2021.

Maslakov’s present physical address and whether he is still in Russia are unknown to the Commission.

Furthermore, despite Internet searches, subpoenas, and voluntary inquiries to third parties, the Commission was unable to locate his actual address.

We suspect he is in Russia since he cites Russia as his location on his Facebook and VK profiles, and he accessed his account from a Russian IP address.

Ferrari, Lola
According to the SEC;

Ferrari, whose true identity is unknown but who goes by the name “Lola Ferrari,” is said to be a Russian national living in Bali, Indonesia.

She refers to herself as Forsage’s “goddess” and has starred in several of its advertising films.

The Commission’s officials established that Ferrari’s principal social media account is her Instagram profile during the inquiry.

Ferrari advertises Forsage on this website. She has also uploaded photos and videos that indicate she is in Bali, Indonesia.

Despite several efforts, the Commission has no knowledge of Ferrari’s present address or if she is still in Indonesia.

Service Alternative
With Maslakov in Russia and Lola Ferrari in Indonesia, Hague Convention service is no longer available.

Although Georgia is a signatory, because the SEC does not know Okhotnikov’s address, service under the Hague Convention is also ruled out.

As an alternative, the SEC is offering Maslakov service via email. Service on Okhotnikov and Ferrari will be carried out through social media.

The Commission intends to serve Okhotnikov and Ferrari by direct messages to their Instagram accounts, as well as Okhotnikov via direct messages to his Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Okhotnikov is still active on Facebook, where he posts about his life in Georgia:

Okhotnikov was last seen in Borjomi, a vacation town in central Georgia, according to a Facebook post from August 25th.

He’s also active on Meta Force’s YouTube channel, where he posts bizarre conspiracy theories and justifications for why investor cash and withdrawals are still frozen.

Lola Ferrari has made her Instagram account private since being accused by the SEC.

In support of their request, the SEC claims Okhotnikov is “indisputably” aware of the complaint.

Okhotnikov reacted directly to the claims in the Complaint via a video message aired online after the Commission filed action.

Following that, he gave an eighteen-minute interview on his Meta Force YouTube channel in which he denied the charges in the Commission’s complaint.

Authorizing service on a defendant via social media is especially acceptable when the defendant is clearly aware of the situation.
the case against him

Okhotnikov is already aware of the litigation against him, making such alternative service much more necessary.

Ferrari’s decision to make her Instagram page private implies she is aware of the litigation.

On September 2nd, the court granted the SEC’s motion for alternate service. The SEC verified service against Maslakov through email later that day.

Mikail Sergeev is Forsage’s fourth co-founder. Sergeev, according to the SEC, also resides in Moscow, Russia.

I’m not clear why Sergeev was omitted from the SEC’s motion, but I presume it was due to an inability to validate his personal information (email etc.).

The SEC has confirmed alternate service on Lola Ferrari and Lado Okhotnikov on September 9th and 13th, respectively.

Both defendants have till September 26th to respond.

Okhotnikov hasn’t posted anything on social media since August 27th. Since September 1st, there have been no MetaForce updates.

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Dot Dot Smile – Crook Review Part 2




Dot Dot Smile has declared bankruptcy, two and a half months after discontinuing its MLM opportunity and going wholesale.

On September 3rd, Dot Dot Smile filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in California.

According to the statement, Dot Dot Smile has $4.4 million in assets and $5.6 million in debt.

The following companies are Dot Dot Smile’s major creditors:

Gary Thompson – $200,000 (apparently a family loan)
CloudFund LLC (debt management firm) – $325,000
Mirror Fashion Company $1.5 million in Hong Kong
$600,000 for Nano (no details supplied).
Network Ventures LLC (contract violation) – $353,846
Nothing MLM-related shows on Dot Dot Smile’s file, at least not outside of the corporate side of things.

According to a BerhindMLM reader, as of July 31st, 2022,

Since May, no one has been paid. Thousands of dollars are owing to certain persons. They fired everyone on their team.

The cynic in me finds it difficult to perceive Dot Dot Smile’s bankruptcy as anything other than premeditated.

Nicole and Jeff Thompson (right) of the company presumably knew bankruptcy was imminent and reasoned that they needed to sell the MLM firm before filing.

Without the MLM possibility, there was definitely no intention of ever continuing Dot Dot Smile.

I might be wrong, but Dot Dot Smile suddenly being $5.6 million in debt in three months does not seem realistic.

I’m not sure how any of this works legally. Even if everything is legal, it reflects poorly on the Thompsons in terms of openness and Dot Dot Smile’s distributors.

Dot Dot Smile’s State of Financial Affairs report is expected on September 19th. A creditors’ meeting has been arranged for October 12th.

Nicole Thompson, the daughter of co-founders DeAnne and Mark Stidham, is connected to Dot Dot Smile.

It is unknown whether Dot Dot Smile’s bankruptcy filing has had or will have any influence on LuLaRoe’s business operations.

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