I was approached by Michael Brooks and Carina Ghionzol to be a keynote speaker at a TEDx style event they were producing called ‘Wavemaker’. Each speaker (12 or more) had to invest thousands of dollars to participate. They position it as a ‘TEDx Speaking Bootcamp. Live Event and 5-star Vacation all wrapped into one amazing event’. They described this as a ‘red carpet’ event and told us it would include the following:
- Special guest experts to help you brainstorm, craft and present your world changing Wavemaker 18 minutes or less world changing talk in San Diego this September. (never happened)
- 4-day retreat in San Diego, CA, beginning January 21st -24th, January 2018, including 2 ½ days of in-person training and rehearsals with our expert team prior to the Live Wavemaker 2017 Event. (never happened)
- Beach house lodging, Meals and Snacks included (not provided)
- Real Time Performance at Wavemaker 2018, Presented by Coach on Fire, January 24th, 2018 in San Diego before a live audience and Live Streamed to the world. (never happened and was never planned)
- Professional Video of your Wavemaker talk, posted on You Tube and a Special Coach on Fire Wavemaker website. (never happened)
- Hair and Make-Up prior to your Wavemaker Live Performance (never happened)
- Sunday Evening Arrival and Networking Party (never happened)
- Dinner Cruise (never happened)
- Rocking Wrap Beach Party (never happened)
- Facebook Group for Wavemaker 2018 Speakers to stay in touch after the event (they shut it down)
- BONUS – PROFESSIONAL PHOTO SHOOT FOR EVERY WAVEMAKER SPEAKERS – Our world class San Diego photographer will capture your amazing personal brand images to make your website and marketing pop. (never happened)
None of this was provided! Nor did they have the intention of providing this. All of the speakers traveled to San Diego for the event only to find that there was no event ever planned!!! The address they gave us for the beach house didn’t exist, no facility was ever secured for the event, they did not have a make-up artist, professional A/V team, photographer, or videographer secured. They never booked a dinner cruise or plan for a beach party afterwards
What was suppose to be ‘all inclusive’ speaking event turned out to be a big scam. Most of us struggled to pay the fee just to participate, but saw the value given everything that was offered and that it was all inclusive – hence no more out of pocket costs. Upon arrival, we learned that we had no place to stay, no meals, no transportation, no event.
We discovered that each of us paid different amouts to participate. I believe they were very strategic in how much money they thought they could get from each of us. However, we are estimating that, for this fake event alone, they took off with over $30,000.
Upon further investigation, we’ve learned that Michael Brooks is a convicted felon in the state of Idaho (fraud and forgery) and, in fact, may have a warrant out for a parole violation.
We’ve also learned that they have invented other programs to lure innocent victims that included telesummits, mastermind groups, on-line radio show hosting and production, retreats and speaker engagements. Perhaps their past victims will share their experiences as well.
It my our hope that this Ripoff Scams will be able to prevent future, innocent, unsuspecting people from being scammed like so many of us have already experienced.