Reality star couple scammed black investors out of millions with ‘Blessings in No Time’ scheme: lawsuit
Thousands of African Americans who pumped an estimated $40 million into what some saw as a “Godly, ALL-Black, socially conscious gifting community” known as Blessings in No Time, might have placed their faith in an illegal pyramid scheme started by reality star couple Marlon Moore, also known as D.J. ASAP, and his wife, LaShonda, according to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
In a lawsuit filed on June 10 in federal court, Paxton alleged that the Texas couple, who appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Network’s reality show “Family or Fiancé,” which brings together disapproving families of engaged couples, used deceptive trade practices to fleece their victims. He is seeking an injunction against the couple to stop their business, known as BINT (Blessings in No Time) Operations LLC. The company was formed in August 2020 when COVID-19 had already killed thousands of black people nationwide.
Since January 2021, state authorities have received nearly 200 consumer complaints against the couple, alleging over $700,000 in lost BINT investments. Many complainants said they only joined the community because they were promised the right to a full refund at any time.
"Marlon & Lashonda Moore & staff of B.I.N.T, LLC, used deceit, celebrity connections, name dropping & the collective fear, grief & trauma that Americans were experiencing during & after the 2020 Spring/summer riots to scam over 8k Black people out of over $40 million dollars. Blessings In No Time (BINT, LLC), was presented as a Godly, ALL-Black, socially conscious gifting community that came about on the tail-end of a lot of this past summer protest. They claimed that BINT was completely legal, they repeatedly said that they were not a sou sou or pyramid scheme, they said there is no way to lose money because guarantee,” one complainant noted in the lawsuit.
“This was my first encounter with gifting circles, I am ashamed I believed them. I brought in 6 of my family members. BINT used all 6 people & said they would return ‘my fires’ when I needed them to ensure that I was blessed out. That never happened. … Total family loss = $32K, of that, I lost $15,650 between my own spots & family I sponsored . . . Why would I believe they would give a refund? I believed we'd get a refund due to the heavily documented refund guarantees from BINT founders & staff,” the complainant wrote.
The Prosper, Texas, couple promised to "bless" and assist needy members of the African American community with an eight-fold, $11,200, return if they placed an initial investment in BINT of $1,400 to $1,425 and recruited other people to join who they called "fires."
In an effort to cover the "illegal scheme," the Moores imposed a formal condition of membership on all participants, prohibiting them from posting reviews on social media and sharing “negative comments about BINT in any forum under penalty of termination of their membership and all of their rights,” the lawsuit said.
“By stifling existing members' ability to speak the truth about Defendants' practices. Defendants were able to continue deceiving more victims to buy into their illegal pyramid scheme,” it continued.
Fearing they would never be able to get a refund of their initial investment, many of the victims kept quiet about the scheme until the couple revealed in a January Zoom meeting that they didn’t have enough funds to make refunds and BINT investors didn’t have a right to refunds.
“Previously, Defendants might have provided some refunds, but they appear to be making no refunds at all as victims are filing consumer complaints with the State and seeking the State's help with redress. As it became clear Defendants will not provide refunds, the threats of losing their refund rights was no longer enough to stop victims from speaking out,” the lawsuit said.
Many of the investors who said they've been swindled have also banded together to create a website called bintscam.com in an effort to expose the Moores and their scheme.