FRAMINGHAM — Nubia Gaseta had never expressed an interest in TelexFree, but for months company representatives pursued her through phone calls, e-mails, and visits to the florist shop she owns. Friends and family, including her husband, kept prodding Gaseta to invest in TelexFree, which sold long-distance phone plans at discount prices, targeting Brazilians and Dominicans.
“It was everyone, everyone, everyone,” Gaseta said, waving her arms around her head as if she were swatting flies.
Eventually, the tide of enthusiasm proved too much. Gaseta, promised a quick and easy profit, invested $2,500.
Similar marketing tactics, fueled by personal testimonies and word of mouth, helped the embattled Marlborough company attract hundreds of thousands of investors in Massachusetts and around the world. As more of them come forward to tell their stories, it is becoming easier to understand how TelexFree expanded so quickly across continents, in what is now alleged to have been a $1 billion pyramid scheme.
Investors who claimed to have reaped huge gains evangelized about TelexFree on radio programs, over family dinners, and at extravagant events, including one near Orlando last year at which the company raffled off iPads and Mercede-Benz SUVs. Some people quit their jobs to promote the company full time, earning bonuses for each family member or friend they persuaded to invest.
You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month
Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.
- High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
- Convenient access across all of your devices
- Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
- Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
- Less than 25¢ a week