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Investigation: Russ Whitney Should Resign as CEO and Chairman

This article was written by in Investing. 22 comments.

For those who follow real estate investing gurus, it might be interesting to note that Russ Whitney’s company, through an internal investigation, is calling for the founder’s resignation. Russ Whitney, the founder, chief executive officer, and chairman of the Whitney Information Network has in the past aligned himself with Robert Kiyosaki (of Rich Dad, Poor Dad infamy).

The report said the committee “found that, among other things, before the start of the government investigations, the company’s marketing function — including advertising for company products, solicitation of customers, presentation of live seminars, telemarketing, coaching and mentoring — was characterized by inadequate controls, inadequate training and a failure to devote adequate resources to compliance.

Banking Deal: Earn 1.75% APY on an FDIC-insured money market account at CIT Bank.

I don’t expect any remuneration for customers who were swayed by the marketing cited in the report, unfortunately.

Here are the basics about Russ Whitney. He is a high school drop-out who built a money-making business. What was that initial business? Well, Whitney doesn’t really explain:

“I ordered a book that had a couple of ideas that made sense. I finally found something that I could do that didn’t require a lot of money to start, and in 3 weeks, I made $11,000…” He and his family celebrated his initial financial success with a commitment to use that money to make more money. He quickly invested it in another money-making vehicle. A little over a year later, at the age of 22, he had racked up $117,000 in profits.

Why no details other than to say his plan “involved real estate?” Well, he wants you to attend his seminars, buy his books, and become part of the program if you want to find out. As any guru, his primary income doesn’t come from these investment opportunities — it comes from the massive “education” program built around his investing ideas. That’s the truer way to wealth, at least for Whitney — become a cult-like motivational leader.

For some interesting reading on Russ Whitney, consider some of these articles. There is enough content here and elsewhere on the Internet to keep you busy for days.

News-Press: Top Whitney Execs Targeted
Rip Off Report: Russ Whitney
Russ Whitney’s Building Wealth and Russ Whitney’s Blog
John T. Reed on Russ Whitney
New York Times: Russ Whitney Wants You to Be Rich
Teach Me To Trade and Rich Dad Academy: both assisted by or partnered with Russ Whitney

Below is a video (part one of two, Adobe Flash required) about suspected rip-offs by Russ Whitney. The source is not identified.

If you’re interested, here is the second part of the video.

Updated June 23, 2016 and originally published November 17, 2007.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

I want a cult-like following that will pay me thousands of dollars for my nuggets of wisdom so that I don’t actually have to succeed at what I’m telling them to do.

Oh, wait. I don’t. I want to be able to sleep at night.

But there are day…………

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avatar 2 Anonymous

I’m not sure what you guys are upset about. My husband and I took his course about 5.5 years ago and we now own 14 houses. Yes, the information came at a high price, but so does college and there is no guarantee that you will find a job in the field that you trained for. Guess what you still have to pay off all those student loans. We had zero training in any kind of real estate, but in 2 years we had 14 houses. Its all in what you put into it. That goes for anything in life.

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avatar 3 Anonymous

Brandie, I completely agree. I have spent about $80k on my engineering education and about $30 on my real estate education (which began with Russ Whitney). I now have two 3-family houses paying rent, and I have been unemployed from my engineering job for almost 12 months, with no prospects in sight. My cashflow from rents is almost enough to live off of. One more 3-family and it will be. I bought one in 2006 so I am severely underwater, but because of the education I received through RW, I understood I am not interested in what the market does. As long as it cashflows, what does it matter? RW made it easy to figure out what cashflows and what makes sense.

I would never have understood the basic principles of real estate if I had not taken the classes offered by RW. If this lady in the article bought something because someone else encouraged her to instead of looking at sound financials, then she did not understand the material presented.

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avatar 4 Anonymous

Ditto! I didn’t even take a Russ Whitney course, I just read his book and went from renting a room in Harlem,NY to owning 8 rental properties(2 multi family buildings) in Brooklyn over the course of 4 years. I stupidly did it in my spare time while working a full time job. Had I put in more effort I’d have a lot more Real Estate. But there’s still time!

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avatar 5 Anonymous

I have to agree with Brandie. My wife and I took a few of Russ Whitney’s week-long training courses, including Lease/Purchase Options, Commercial Real-Estate and Mobile Home Investing. The materials were plentiful, well-written and contained numerous examples, templates, tips/how-to’s, and the instructors were experienced and took us to many properties to learn how things are done. After that my wife and I bought, rehabbed, flipped, rented and/or sold 35 residential properties and 7 vacant lots over the next 11 years in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Norfolk, Virginia. At our peak we were clearing almost $5000 per month in positive cash flow. The housing crash of 2008 took a lot of our money, but as I look back, we didn’t have and follow good exit strategies, and in some cases we bought on emotion instead of by the numbers. We earned far more money than Russ’ courses cost us, and nothing they told me wasn’t true. I stand by his teachings 100%. He didn’t lie to me, he told us up front what the training would cost and what it would teach us, and he told us we wouldn’t earn a dime if we didn’t apply what we learned. We have flipped houses, bought and rehabbed houses, sold houses by rent-to-own, and saved several people from foreclosure, and we did that while I held a full time job as an engineer. I just retired two weeks ago and am planning to get back into real estate investing. It was and is exciting, and I learned more than I ever could have in school or from a book. Don’t bash Russ Whitney or other real estate “gurus” until you have actually done what they teach you to do.

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avatar 6 Anonymous

I’m also wondering how I can get into that racket whilst still maintaining a semblance of ethics. Are we really sure it’s not possible?

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avatar 7 Anonymous

We must brainstorm this, plonkee. Anyone else interested? ;)

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avatar 8 Anonymous

You got that right! Russ Whitney & his “buddy” companies are bad news. Just look at the facts of recent litigation:
1. His customers are suing him CSK Tel 813-282-6000
2. His stock holders are suing him for defrauding customers, and inflating his stock value.
3. His employees are suing him
4. Several states atty generals have moved against him, like TN, MI, FL etc. FL just settled a multi million dollar suit against Whitney etc. AND are filing another suit. For one proof

Florida Attorney General is filing suit against: Russ Whitney – Gulfstream Developement – United Mortgage Corporation – Douglas Realty
For their fraudulent and illegal practices regarding housing Investor training & Turn-Key new construction houses.
Anyone who has been hurt by these poeple needs to file their complaint with the FL Atty General’s Office (here are step by step instructions)
Go to
Click on to Consumer Protection-(Left Side Column)
Click on Economic Crimes
Click on Contact Economic Crimes

The Complaint Form will appear. Fill in all sections.

Under Section 2, for Name/Subject list: Russ Whitney/Gulfstream Development/United Mortgage etc.

For Subject/Category dropdown list click on: False or Deceptive Trade Practices

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avatar 9 Anonymous

Hi Sherry Fearrand,
I’m not sure if you went throught the course to make a personal observation but my wife and I did. We got just what we paid for. Info and confidence to start. Many of the people that didn’t like the course mentioned to us thier issues and to be honest, we have yet to hear an issue that isn’t self induced. Winners win, everyone is jelous, lossers lose, and complain. Also, any education in human history will explain what is happening to Mr. Whitney. As you stated, #1 His customers are suing him. If one sues, others follow, not lead, which brings me back to my “winners win staement. #2, 3, and 4 on your list, see My original comment. They can’t win by themselves so they hire an attorney. I however applaud your efforts to help people who feel they have been wronged by your links and instructions. It’s good to have someone looking out for the helpless.

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avatar 10 Anonymous

Robert Kiyosoki BUSTED!!!!
His association with Whitney brought him down.

Watch for major developments in these two class action suits this and next week

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avatar 11 Anonymous

I happen to agree with Brandie also. You get from it what you put in. However, having said that, I immediately suspected Russ Whitney and his learning academy of being a scam after I spent a whopping $9k on his seminars and 2 courses, and found that when I requested assistance on a deal, the help was much lacking, and instead, I was advised to join their coaching program, for another $2500.

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avatar 12 Anonymous

Russ Whitney is bad news.Don’t believe anything you hear from him. My friend lost lost her ass following his doctrine. Her credit is ruined. the property she paid 200k for sold at sheriff sale for 64,000 .He SHOULD be held accountable!

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avatar 13 Anonymous

Wow! That is terrible and I wish your friend luck getting back on her feet. However, I am concerned about her buying a property for 200K. In the R.W. course I took, it was never taught, not once, to pay THAT much for a single property without doing the Due diligence. Maybe she got a lttle excited and went overboard. The course taught you how not to let that happen. So far for us, following his instruction,….. Do’n fine!

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avatar 14 Anonymous

Okay folks, I too am a Russ Whitney student and I paid lots of money for his courses and programs. I had several and even the mentor program where a Millionaire coach came out to my home and mentor me for a week, at the end I had under contract two properties ( I got one and missed the other) ,I then later had gotten 2 more and should of and could of gotten more but it wasn’t due to Russ’s courses or teaching it was due to me! You see you get out of it what you put into it! I just lost it somehow and got sidetracked or something! But I am sure if I go back over everything again that I can and it is no ones fault but mine! So people, quit your complaining and stop expecting to get rich just by buying the stuff and not following it thru! It does truely work, but again that is the key word “WORK”. Ofcourse you may have to make adjustments to certain things due to the way the econonmy is today! Sure a property worth 200k or so back a few years ago isn’t worth as much in some places , but it isn’t Russ’s fault , blame it on our politicians for the state of our country and the economy!

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avatar 15 Anonymous

I agree with Speedy and Brandie. I too am a Russ Whitney student, paid the money for the education, traveled to Florida for Millionaire Training, had a coach come to our town and worked it. Initially purchased three income properties. When it came time for refinancing, the economy dropped and the properties were not worth what I bought it for. Economy dropping is not Russ’s fault. I believe Russ started very honestly and found a way to share with others. I have met numerous people working for Russ. They were not as honest as Russ was. My guess is that these people were making promises to “students” that may have been out of reach. I went through a divorce and lost my shirt, so I don’t own anything anymore, but I will always value what I learned and use it as my basis for real estate investing in the future.

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avatar 16 Anonymous

Follow the mentors instructions and do not reinvent the formula (i.e, fixer upper/retailing) plus dedication, passion and hard-work. I learned a lot after just a year of following my mentors education and hands-on training I made it to the real estate investment. I acquired 12 properties in under two years. Four flips, and three rentals, one lease option and 4 whole sale. That is just being a part-time.

I move to Florida, the formula stayed the same, now I am a full time and I can see a great potential in this new market. Thanks Wealth Intelligence, I got what I paid for in a year, because of hard work and passionate about the people I am helping with their issues.

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avatar 17 Anonymous

I spent a little over $16k with the WIA and paid for it with my 1st deal! People often ask me how I buy so many houses and I tell them that I invested in the right knowledge. It paid off for me, I just had to do it!

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avatar 18 Anonymous

I went to 4boot camps in about 2001 paid quite a bit and learned a lot. The things they taught work. I own about 120 units. You do need to work at it and have some common sense.

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avatar 19 rachel

I went to wealth intelligence academy 13 years ago, and was cleaning my closet, and found my receipt of payment for all these expensive and useless classes! I was curious about Russ Whitney, so I googled, and here is my story, telling as is.

I am now a successful investor. But not because of Russ Whitney. They taught us foreclosure, and instructed students to contact bank for listing in 2004. Back then, the market was in high gear, there was NO foreclosure! So their classes was outdated. I can believe that most students got mis led and quit, simply because of the wrong instruction.

For beginners, I would advise to read basic investment technique on line or buy a book etc. when you have enough BASIC knowledge, you may join a investment club locally or online. Most of the seminars are targeting to sell you expensive package. If you really can not resist, buy one class first. DO NOT get lured to buy more for discount. What’s the point of discount on outdated crap.

Education is important. But you need to find great ethical teachers. Russ is NOT one of them.

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avatar 20 GIJo

I am hugely grateful to Russ Whitney. I took a weekend course after doing lots of independent study and took notes through the whole thing. After, I bought 14 rental units and that is what I do to this day. His instructor (Todd??) explained everything that was possible and I walked out of their completely confident and completely empowered. If you are actually ready to take action then even his weekend course is a huge plus and can show you the range of what is possible. Honestly, it was the best 500 bucks I ever spent.

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avatar 21 Jim Mcgeorge

I invested about $5000. Went to 4 boot camps. Learned a lot. All good stuff. Have 142 units and growing. RW taught that ” work for 5 years like others are unwilling to do and you can live the rest of your life like others will not be able to.” It has been so much fun that I just keep going. 16 years since I took the boot camps. Mk no

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avatar 22 Don

SHOCKING, but I only read two sentences written by Russ Whitney, and have since earned TEN BILLION DOLLARS (actually ten billion dollars and 43 cents, to be specific). Mind you, I accomplished all this in just the last 5 minutes, starting with a negative net worth of (minus) two dollars. In fact, my credit was so bad even Nigerian scammers avoided me! Just think, easy street is just one toll-free call and a few big credit card payments away! Good luck! Gotta run, my personal jet is about to take off!

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