(NaturalNews) The story of deception behind the ALIVE New York event is becoming more bizarre by the day. We continue to cover it not because of the simple fact that the event has imploded, but more because it has become a fascinating case study in mass deception and social engineering. The question remains: How did a young couple in their twenties manage to hustle their way into a position of receiving potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations -- and big-name celebrity involvement -- for a "tax exempt foundation" that did not even exist?
The answers, as you will see below, lie in the fact that they were "natural born swindlers" who infiltrated the natural health community, targeted its top celebrities and institutions for manipulation, then meticulously pursued a plan of bold deception as a way to "get rich" while positioning themselves as, in their own words, the "Brad and Angelina of the natural health movement." (Which is, of course, a foolish contradiction because the natural health movement is not about being rich and famous in the first place.)
In it, Joshua writes: "Sitting in Portland traffic, heading to Oregon this weekend to collect a duffle bag of green cash. Don't worry baby when I get back we can go window shopping... lol we live life on the edge"
To which a friend, Amanda Koh, replies, "On the edge of a big ole pit o money!!!"
This reference to "getting rich" and making lots of money appears again and again in the emails and conversations of Josh and Anna Scurry. For example, one email acquired by NaturalNews shows Anna Scurry saying, "Here are some RICH institutes a friend mentioned we should contact" (for money) -- which then goes on to list the Gerson Institute, the Chopra Institute, and so on. (http://www.naturalnews.com/036260_ALIVE_New_...)
Claimed to reach 30 million viewers online, sold fewer than 50 tickets
Getting rich the honest way requires real effort, but as you'll see below, instead of diligently working on the celebrity awards event, Josh and Anna reportedly "both sat right in [the] apartment, each having a laptop, doing nothing but surfing the web constantly." (Lynnette Pate is the source for this, see below.)
Their marketing materials claimed their event would reach a truly HUGE audience. As their sponsorship package claimed in 2011:
Size of on site audience: 8,000 - 21,000 + people in New York Size of extended audience via live streaming: 1,000,000 - 30 million + people Worldwide Total Reach estimated: 1,000,000 - 30 million + people Worldwide Total live streaming audience estimated: 1,000,000 - 30 million + PLUS UNLIMITED TO WHERE WE CAN GO AND WHO WE CAN REACH! People via Internet, Television, Theatres, iTunes, Schools and Colleges worldwide.
Although their estimated audience reach was 30 million+ people worldwide, NaturalNews can confirm from inside sources that they sold fewer than 50 streaming tickets for the event.
This might be why Anna Scurry called me the day before this entire event imploded, urging me to find a way to raise tens of thousands of dollars to keep the event going. When I mentioned we could help -- because at the time I was not yet aware of what was really going on behind the scenes -- she told me they needed it TOMORROW.
That's the kind of urgency that raises big red flags, and it turns out I wasn't the only one seeing warning signs of the impending collapse...
Former Marketing Director speaks out for the first time
Lynnette Pate functioned as the former Marketing Director for the now-failed ALIVE New York event, which imploded under evidence of fraud (http://www.naturalnews.com/036260_ALIVE_New_...). Adding to the enormous and weight of evidence that has now emerged against the co-founders of the event, Lynnette Pate has gone public with explosive details about her interaction with the couple and their attempt to swindle companies into handing over large amounts of money. This operation was, we now know, a financial swindle because even though it was all collected under the claim of being "100% tax deductible" for a "charitable foundation," it was actually being deposited by Josh and Anna Scurry to fund things such as a luxury New York apartment known as the Pantheon (http://www.manhattanscout.com/NYC-Apartments...).
As NaturalNews confirmed with the IRS, there is no tax-deductible non-profit known as the "ALIVE Foundation" nor "ALIVE New York." John and Anna Scurry continue to attempt to deceive the rapidly-dwindling number of people they hoodwinked with their scam by pointing to a Washington State non-profit they set up in the past, even though a state non-profit confers absolutely no federally-recognized tax-exempt status, and John and Anna Scurry were operating in New York while accepting donations nationwide. A former U.S. District Judge who reviewed the facts of the case declared it appeared to be "a clear case of financial fraud with federal jurisdiction, likely to be prosecuted either by the FBI or the Department of Justice." He warned, however, that such prosecutions are notoriously slow and may take months or even years to be brought to light.
ALIVE New York law firm quits
In a previous article, I wrote that NaturalNews staff, as well as other individuals involved in this cases, were being aggressively threatened and harassed by the ALIVE New York attorney. The tactics used by this attorney appeared to be a clear violation of professional codes of conduct, and we threatened to file complaints with the appropriate state bar association in an attempt to have this attorney's license to practice law suspended or revoked.
NaturalNews can now confirm that the law firm representing Josh and Anna Scurry has quit, citing "complications" of their situation and explaining that their law firm would, from here forward, not represent these two in any matters, including litigation. With this action, NaturalNews has no further reason to pursue complaints against this law form and we intend to focus our attention on other elements of this investigation.
Most of you by now have heard of the "ALIVE New York" event that was to take place on June 29 & 30 of 2012. I want to let you know that I, was at one time their Marketing Director. I agreed to be their marketing director, after meeting in person, Josh and Anna Scurry in Washington state during my west coast bicycle tour in November of 2011.
Josh and Anna urged me to "Beware of some of their friends they introduced me to there in WA as some of them had lawsuits against them".
According to my husband, they both sat right in his apt., each having a laptop, doing nothing but surfing the web constantly. Then Josh & Anna call me to say that the Marriot is insane to work with and they decided to move the event to the Hamerstein. This was the first change of venue among the 4 changes they had of venue and dates.
I began seeing more and more celebrities added to their list of "nominees" and "award recipients" who had NOTHING whatsoever to do with Natural health, organics or anything that I stood for. Josh stated to me: "Wow, Lynnette, this is so exciting and awesome that we want to be the Brad & Angelina of the Health world". My jaws dropped.
Josh & Anna never gave me the proper tools I needed to 'close the sale'. I was walking around in the dark with a blindfold. Every time I asked them for a paper, they sent me some fabricated disclosure without any attorney, or third party's name and none of the papers had Liana's name on it. Also they were NEVER advertising their so called sponsors except for the few supporters they listed on their sites. NOT one mention of any on public announcements or radio.
Josh also went on to say with his arrogant ways: "Lynnette, this is going to make all of us SO MUCH MONEY, this is going to be huge, we are going to be rich", "Wow, Lynnette, we already feel that we are Brad & Angelina".
When I asked them for the tax id number for their 501(c)3, they simply stated, we have filed for it. I called and all they had was a TIN#. They never had an EIN.
Everyone started dropping like flies, and when one person would leave, the answer was...."they are so evil, it's best we get them out now, cause that's what Jesus would do."
More details emerge from Anthony Gucciardi, who had volunteered to help organize the event
Anthony Gucciardi, founder of Natural Society (www.NaturalSociety.com), had volunteered to help organize the event, and he went to New York City to work alongside Josh and Anna Scurry. What he saw there was absolutely shocking, and he has now gone public with some of his testimony:
Amassing thousands in donations from well-meaning companies and individuals alike who wished only to further the message of natural healing across the globe, the organization was still around $100,000 short of paying off their debts -- one such expense included a $52,000 after party for celebrities and attendees. Furthermore, around $140,000 worth of production costs were being quoted for the Livestream portion of the event despite less than 50 total Livestream tickets being sold. It was factors such as these that ultimately led the team supporting ALIVE to dissolve. Footing the travel expenses with their personal account, picking up the cost of living, and taking time off from their day job to aid the event, these individuals quickly felt conned and betrayed by the event they once believed to be life-changing for all parties involved.
There has been an attempt to explain away the activities of these two people as just "a young couple who got in over their heads" and made some mistakes. That would be true if, at some point in the last few months -- or even the last few days -- they had gone public with a heartfelt apology that they didn't have the money to hold the event, and that they were issuing refunds as best they could, and that they were truly sorry and would try to make amends to the community.
But none of that happened, of course. What happened instead was a whirlwind of fraudulent and even criminal activity, including the staging of threatening phone calls to NaturalNews staff, the spreading of blatantly false lies, the use of multiple "troll" Facebook accounts to spam NaturalNews and other whistleblowers, secret phone calls threatening their own former staff with legal prosecution, and a bizarre combination of begging, pleading and intimidation tactics carried out against their own former employees via phone calls, texts and emails. Instead of apologizing, Josh and Anna Scurry self destructed in a blaze of insanity from which they still have not emerged with a single honest apology to anyone, including their own employees whom they scammed out of thousands of dollars in unpaid (but promised) wages.
It's like watching a combination of Jim Jones, Charles Manson and the cult leader Marshall Applewhite all tap dance on a land mine together and suddenly explode in a fiery mushroom cloud of cult-inspired insanity. There is almost nothing as spectacular on the internet as watching truly delusional people blow a gaping hole in the bottom of their own ship and then go down with it while desperately screaming, "This ship is NOT sinking!" These people have taken the art of denial to a level that even Monty Python's Black Knight could not imagine.
'Tis but a flesh wound!
This is the new American standard of behavior, by the way, taught in Hollywood movies, television shows and pop culture magazines. Get rich at anyone's expense. No apologies. No forgiveness. ME, ME, ME... lie, steal, cheat, deceive... do anything it takes to rub elbows with movie stars and take a walk down a red carpet, even if it's stained with the blood of all your victims. Who cares, right? You're a hot shot now!
Watch your back, everybody
In our rapid-paced information age, the memory of these two hustlers will be long forgotten in a matter of a few days, but what they very nearly pulled off should be a long-term reminder to us all: Fraudsters are becoming increasingly complex and convincing in their tactics. We must all up our own defenses, conduct more due diligence, check more facts about things we read, and stop believing something is true just because you read it on the internet.
Check the sources of any story you read, and check the author, too. Do they have a track record of accurate reporting? No one is 100% accurate all the time, but does the author even intend to report the truth and back it up with documents and evidence where possible? Or are they just flinging ridiculous accusations and hoping something sticks?
It's a question we would all be wise to remember as we ride out what I call the "Age of Deception," where rampant anonymity, Facebook trolling, fake email accounts and electronic disinfo campaigns empower fraudsters with unprecedented tools of deception. Make sure you don't inadvertently become one of their victims.
In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.
With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.