Crooks in China have sold ‘NASA-certified’ water bottles for $ 160 each
Photo: Jonathan Chng, Unsplash
Among the most expensive liquids in the world, many have good reason to boast high prices. But in a recent case in China, ridiculously priced “NASA-certified” water bottles turned out to be just plain water and part of a massive, multi-layered marketing program.
Chinese authorities recently indicted a company by the name of Zhongzichuanglian for exploiting the pyramid scheme, according to government legal media Daily Parquet reported in May.
The company, which operated from 2016 to 2018 and had over 49,000 members, made nearly 900 million Chinese yuan ($ 141 million) in revenue, including through a water-based product known as of “SSG Life Mineral Liquid” which would have been certified by the United States. aeronautical and space agency. Sold in boxes of 15, each 35 milliliter bottle of water cost 1,000 yuan ($ 160) and claimed to cure various illnesses and help people maintain youthful vigor. Police investigation later found it was just ordinary groundwater, state publication National Business Daily reported.
The case came to light in 2019, when a series of police reports were filed against the company, after victims of the pyramid scheme realized they had been scammed. According to Chinese media Legal daily, Members were told that they could enjoy a 100,000 yuan ($ 15,700) discount after spending 150,000 yuan ($ 23,600) on products.
But the cashback would never have come, and water has proven to be useless against its incredible health promises – backed by Nobel Prize winners, or the company claimed– which included weight loss, treatment for diabetes and treatment for cancer.
Despite the supposed healing properties of SSG Life mineral liquid, the company claimed that drinking water alone can only achieve 70% of its efficiency. To reap the full benefits, customers have been encouraged to take float therapy, a service offered by a subsidiary that operates flotation centers and sells other wellness products such as face masks and anti-body patches. pain. A floating therapy session would cost members 298 yuan ($ 47).
Members were classified into levels differentiated by the amount of their profits. To increase its membership, the company has implemented a variety of rewards policies, encouraging existing members to recruit new ones. The company has also reportedly promoted itself by claiming it uses blockchain technology.
According to Daily Parquet, 17 people were charged in connection with the pyramid system. The perpetrators of the scheme, identified only by their last names Yan and Wang, were sentenced to 10 years in prison with a fine of 1 million yuan ($ 157,000) and eight years and six months in prison with a fine of 900. 000 yuan ($ 141,000), respectively.
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