Legal Disclaimer: As of the time of writing this article, none of these men have yet to have their day in court. They are presumed innocent
until proven guilty, but of course, you’re free to form your own opinions in the meantime.
Note: I don’t want to discuss politics or religion in the comments. I know this article touches on some hot-button issues.
I’ve been in the Amazon FBA selling space since 2014, and I’ve met thousands of people along the way.
These three got into insane amounts of legal trouble…
Table of Contents
#1 Ryan Nichols — Jan 6th. Insurrectionist
Charges: (1) conspiracy and unlawful entry with a dangerous weapon; (2) violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; (3) aiding and abetting; (4) civil disorder; and (5) assault on a federal officer using a deadly or dangerous weapon. (You can read the full indictment here).
I met Ryan briefly at an Amazon conference in Las Vegas several years ago when he ran a company called “Wholesale Universe.”
He seemed like a relatively decent guy. We never worked together, and the feedback I heard about his company was pretty neutral.
So, I was pretty surprised when I saw him on the news.
If you’ve watched footage from January 6th, you might have seen Ryan without realizing it.
Ryan was captured saying things into a bullhorn, like (and these are direct quotes):
- “This is NOT a peaceful protest.”
- “Ryan Nichols stands for violence.“
- “If you have a weapon, you need to get your weapon!”
He was wildly active on his Facebook accounts before, during, and after as well, posting things like, “By Bullet or Ballot, Restoration of the Republic is Coming.”
Of all the things he was that day, “chill” was not one of them.
Ryan was arrested on January 18th, 2021 and has been in prison awaiting trial until recently. His attorney claims he will likely be pleading guilty as a result of “not being able to get a fair DC trial.”
He’s become the poster child for right-wing firebrands like Marjorie Taylor Greene in their efforts to paint the justice system as weaponized and biased against conservatives.
I’m not touching on the politics of that one…
Ryan had the farthest fall from grace of anyone in this article.
In 2018, Ryan was a guest on the Ellen DeGeneres show to talk about his rescue efforts during the floods in Texas.
Ryan had a viral moment where he rescued several abandoned, caged-up dogs from rising waters.
As crazy as Ryan’s story is, the next one is even crazier.
#2 Avraham Eisenberg — 9 Figure Crypto Fraud and Child P*rnography
Charges: (1) one count of commodities fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; (2) one count of commodities manipulation, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; and (3) one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. (See more about the charges here)
This one is a black eye for me. I can’t cast stones at these people without admitting my own mistakes, so here goes…
Avaraham reached out to me several years ago with an Amazon software idea that helped online arbitrage sellers create X-Paths. It was actually a really good and I am not one to ignore good ideas when they fall into my lap.
He had it developed and I helped him launch it.
However, I quickly realized that, although he was clearly wildly intelligent, he was not someone I wanted to work with. He had terrible people skills, was high maintenance and was just objectively annoying.
He drifted away from the Amazon space and into the crypto sphere.
He developed what was actually a pretty badass persona that was a far fetch from the person he is in real life. He had over 40,000 followers on Twitter and he was seen as a thought leader in the crypto world.
His intelligence, paired with his complete amorality (I don’t think he knows right from wrong, frankly), was a terrible combination.
Avraham is the type of person who will bend rules based on literalism.
For a hypothetical example, if his parents said to be in bed by 10, he’d stay up until 10 a.m. and say that they didn’t specify.
On October 11, Eisenberg and his trading partners took out a large position in Mango’s perpetual futures contracts. This artificially inflated the price of the illiquid MNGO token from $0.30 to $0.91. They then used their significant but unrealized profits as collateral to borrow the protocol’s assets and drained over $100 million from its treasury.
It gave off vibes of the scene from Office Space when they accidentally made way more money on their penny roundup scheme than they planned.
To make matters worse, he immediately took credit for the scheme, assuming (probably incorrectly) that he had done nothing illegal or wrong.
Statement on recent events:
I was involved with a team that operated a highly profitable trading strategy last week.
— Avraham Eisenberg (@avi_eisen) October 15, 2022
I'm sure his future legal team loved that.
The ethics and legality of the Mango market manipulation will actually be an interesting court case, but unfortunately for Avraham, any coolness he had from his bad boy of crypto persona was flushed down the toilet when child pornography was found on his phone by the FBI during investigations.
#3 Brett Bartlett — The “Good Christian” Ponzi Scheme Architect
Charges: fraudulent securities offerings. (See more about the charges here)
Brett is the classic example of someone using religion to mask nefarious intentions.
He collected investment money from Amazon sellers to sell with him on his brand called Dynasty Toys.
The brand was profitable, and the ROI promised was enticing.
He was endorsed by prominent people like Jim Cockrum of MySilentTeam which helped him seal deals with investors who would have been otherwise skeptical. Jim's brand leans heavily on his Christian faith, and that was clearly leveraged here as proof of character.
Regardless of your faith, I believe that trusting someone who is selling you something because they share your religious views is dangerous.
In the end, the money from new investors was being used to pay back old investors, and the whole scheme finally tripped over itself.
The SEC wasn't happy about this and recently hit him with the book.
Today we charged Brett M. Bartlett, his father-in-law Scott A. Miller, and their companies for fraudulent securities offerings that raised at least $20.5 million, some of which Bartlett and Miller misused for personal expenses.
— U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (@SECGov) May 2, 2023
Did he intend for it to be a Ponzi scheme? Probably not, there was legitimate money to be made. Did he let it become one? Certainly looks like it to me.
Here’s to hoping that these are the last (alleged) criminals I’ll come across in the Amazon world, but I highly doubt it.