Ocean Avenue Hits ViSalus With Espionage Lawsuit
by Tina Williams on October 30, 2013
Ocean Avenue, Fred Ninow & Ken Dunn filed in US Federal Court yesterday allegations that, Nick Sarnicola, and Blake Mallen on behalf of ViSalus committed Racketeer Influenced and Corrupted Organization (RICO) violations, and engaged 3rd party individuals to commit criminal acts, extortion, among other violations against Ninow, Dunn, Ocean Avenue and several individuals associated with the above.
Visalus engages in corporate espionage, computer hacking and theft to damage Ocean Avenue and its owners according to the allegations.
Some of the items mentioned in the filings are:
However, as described in more detail below, upon the departure of many high income producing distributors, instead of making ethical business decisions to face this new competition head on, ViSalus intentionally engaged in unscrupulous acts of corporate espionage, corporate and personal defamation of Ocean Avenue and its founders, computer hacking into Ocean Avenue ’s computer system, the theft of a computer from Ocean Avenue ’s office, interception of Ocean Avenue ’s communications, interception of the communications of the owners of Dunn and Ninow, hacking into email accounts and social media accounts of Ocean Avenue ’s distributors, extortion, intimidation, coercion, threats and the filing of multiple lawsuits against distributors who had left Visalus, cut off back -office access without cause, cut off back -office access of any distributor thought to be “associated” with any disfavored distributor, withheld commissions earned.
This was all done in an attempt to stop the distributors from leaving and/or to stop Ocean Avenue’s tremendous success and to put Ocean Avenue out of business or severally damage its ability for early growth, which is key for startup MLM business. Even after distributors have left ViSalus, ViSalus has maintained using these and other tactics to intimidate former ViSalus distributors .
In response to Ocean Avenue entering the market as a competitor with Visalus, Nic Sarnicola, , and Mallen on behalf of Visalus hired a private investigation firm called “Moser & Associates”, in Menlo Park California (the “P.I. Firm”).
Nate Moser (“Moser”) and Peter Siragusi (“Siragusi”) are the private investigators with the P.I. Firm.
Moser represents himself as having been a civilian operative working for Blackwater in Afghanistan and Iraq and an expert in investigations and personal protection.
Moser has stated he is friends with the head of security for ViSalus who he knows from his military background.
Moser has attended and participated in various ViSalus events. See Exhibit E.
The P.I. Firm at the direction of Visalus, and Nic Sarnicola hired a computer expert located in India referred to as “Sumit Vishoi” to access the email accounts of the former Visalus distributors working with Ocean Avenue, Ocean Avenue employees, Ken Dunn and Fred Ninow .
Other of the items mentioned in the filings are:
Intimidation and threats against Ms. Bohn
Intimidation and threats against Ms. Then
Coercion and entrapment of Ms. Van Etten.
Continued Defamatroy Acts.
False and misleading advertising of Visalus and Isoflavones.
Enrolling pets and fake people as false distributors for false sales volume.
All filings are public record.