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Major UK athletics donor busted for pyramid scheme

Paul Orberson has been very generous to the UK athletics department over the years but that will be coming to an end now that he’s been busted for running a pyramid scheme.  Orberson’s Danville-based Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing company has been operating a “massive pyramid scheme” involving more than 100,000 people, announced today by Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.  Conway said criminal penalties could be involved, since violating Kentucky’s pyramid scheme law is a Class C felony.

Orberson donated $1.6 million to UK in 2002 for the Paul Orberson Football Complex offices in the Nutter Training Facility.  He’s also the man behind the $100,000 winning bid at the Hoops For Haiti telethon to have a private dinner with the Caliparis and Ashley Judd in the Calipari home.

Assuming his name will be removed from Nutter, KSR plans to reach out to UK about renaming the complex to BTI Sucks Football Complex or Stadium Frame’s Final Four Print Wants UK Football Offices and Other Rooms.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

55 Comments for Major UK athletics donor busted for pyramid scheme

  1. Bluebloodtoo
    4:28 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Hmmm….this has no spin yet, but anybody want to bet on how long it will take for this story to get on the media merry go round and spin up a million stories?

  2. Bluebloodtoo
    4:29 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Pete Thamel is putting in his vacation request already to go dig through trash and find something he can link to this….

  3. jaws2
    4:30 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Ok, Cal’s involved with this in 3,2,1…

  4. Irritated fan
    4:31 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    I can’t believe it took the AG this long to figure this guy out. No surprise here……

  5. ky_99
    4:33 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Blackshear out with shoulder injury and Ware suspended indefinitely. The wheels could come off tonight if loserville loses at home to make it 4 in a row. Let’s see the trolls speak up on this.

  6. TrinityPills
    4:34 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Mr. Forde and Mr. Thamel, please form a line over there next to the sign that says, “Nevin Shapiro Comparisons.” Thank you.

  7. kenny
    4:35 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Isn’t this same guy who,along with Coach Crum, made millions back in early 1990’s ? It was a phone thing before cell phones i think.

  8. Hello
    4:37 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    This scam was caught in other states years ago. What was Jack Conway waiting for??? And who fell for this? Please people…go to college or get a trade…work your way up your career. There’s no such thing as easy or free money….ever.

  9. bloobloodcat
    4:38 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Thameltoe will be all over this one. Was Cal involved?

  10. SexnNursinHomes
    4:39 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Ha I took one look at this guy and knew he was a hustler.

  11. Excel
    4:41 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    @7 It was called Excel.

    They sold long distance, and started the whole code before you dial long distance.

  12. tbradg
    4:43 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Happen to know these guys a little…from what I can tell Paul was never shy to admit that his company was in “multi-level marketing” which is the nice industry term for a pyramid. I also know he’s smart enough and rich enough to hire good lawyers so 1)he was taking some risks that he should not have been or 2) this won’t amount to anything.

  13. Jughead
    4:46 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Sociopath creeptard.

  14. bsquared
    4:49 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Haha this guy is a legend at Ramseys…we call him moneybag since he just throws money at everyone

  15. Rebs
    4:54 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    He also paid for the new turf at Boyle County. Will they rip it up now? My bet is Larry Vaught tipped off Conway (Ads fan @ heart)…

  16. only concern
    4:55 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    the only concern I have is sometimes when money is obtained in a fraudulent scheme like this the recipients are asked to pay the money back to the victims, if the accused is proven guilty. Whether they are a charity, business associate of the guilty, or anyone else – the attorneys may try to recoup that money for the victims. If that happens UK may be required to return any donations he made to them.

  17. only concern
    4:56 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    maybe an attorney can shed additional light on my concern above?

  18. Chattanooga Matt
    4:57 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    I was actually dumb enough to get involved in this company shortly after I got out of college back in 2011. Hind site is 20/20 but I should known something was up when the presenter kept saying “this is not a pyramid, it is multi level marketing”
    Cost me $300 that I didn’t have at the time. These guys are snakes and UK needs to disassociate themselves from Mr. Orberson as fast as they can!

  19. bmwuk
    5:00 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    I remember years ago he was featured in the Lexington Herald Leader and the first thing I said was “this is a pyramid scheme”. That is why I was shocked that when he contributed to UK football why he wasn’t in jail by then. Well, it will always catch up to you.

  20. SexnNursinHomes
    5:01 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    18- brother, I feel ya. $300 bucks huh? Good lesson. Monavie, that $50 bottle of fruit juice got me for $175 start up. One thing you always learn, is that making money ain’t easy unless you’re like Paul Orberson, who can promise the world while actually giving a big hand full of shit.

  21. bsquared
    5:07 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    This was was also a legend for the amount of food he would eat when he came in…he could put away 3 plates of food AND eat a whole pie…I knew from the start something wasnt right.

  22. bsquared
    5:07 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink


  23. Frew Dranklin
    5:08 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Don’t be surprised if John Short and The Truth are found the be very close to the top of that pyramid. Those guys have been raking it in for years. That is inside info from Thamel.

  24. Sweet Deals
    5:08 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    So thats where Billy G was driving off to when he got his DUI. Good thing they didn’t find his gun in the glove box.

  25. Rudy Baylor
    5:09 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    #16–don’t be worried about that. The donee (UK) can’t be compelled to return donations from this guy. Whatever he gave to them that’s in their pockets already, they can keep. It might bankrupt him personally, but UK will be safe.

  26. Rudy Baylor
    5:11 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    (Now, if it was a conditional gift, or from a certain kind of trust, or some non-standard donation, that could be a different story. Time will tell, I guess.)

  27. Matt
    5:13 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Really shocked that a company called Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing wasn’t on the up-and-up. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to get back to my job at Social Synergy Real-Time Internet.

  28. tyson
    5:13 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    This guy knows what he’s doing. Im sure he will pay a fine and that will be it.
    This isn’t the first MLM company he has been involved in.

  29. 2blu4u
    5:14 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Too bad. He was my history teacher in high school. Seemed like a great guy then, but that was before he got involved with the pyramid schemes. I cannot remember the first one, but he made millions from it and got another teacher involved as well.

  30. TDbigcat
    5:17 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Was he also distributing Gucci backpacks?

  31. MadoffIU#real
    5:18 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    I’m the one who gave Tom Crean his contract!

  32. Rich
    5:18 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    There is no such thing as easy money. Unless you get on the government dole.

  33. James
    5:19 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Meanwhile back at Rupp Arena, regular hard working Joes are ask to pay 42 a ticket for UPPER level. About time UK knows more about its donors. This is an embarrassment to UK.

  34. tuggerman
    5:20 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    So is that dinner with Ashley up for grabs?

  35. Lori M
    5:21 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    #8. Half of the top ten wealthiest people in the United States are the relatives of Sam Walton. All they had to do was be born to be billionaires.

  36. Interns-R-Us
    5:26 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Have you guys heard of:
    Amway Arena (Amway money owns the Magic)
    Herbalife sponsors LA Galaxy MLS and others
    Xango sponsors Real Salt Lake MLS
    Shaklee sponsors several teams including recent US Ski/Snowboard teams
    Advocare — the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl and Nascar Advocare 500 in Atlanta

    and these are just a few.

    Remember the NBA lockout exhibitions in Lexington? Logos on the back were for Zija (Jeff Shepherd)

    There are plenty of reputable companies in the Network Marketing / Direct Sales Industry. I’m sure some of you guys have girls that have bought Mary Kay cosmetics, went to a Candle party, 31 purse party, a jewelry party… all are built on the same type of model.

    I am not familiar with his exact “model”, but to lump everything in as a pyramid is uninformed.

    The thing is, too many join a NetWORK marketing company and forget about the “work” part.

    I will also add that Mr. Orbesen did make his money with Excel… several high school and college coaches were also involved. One, M.K. Turk retired from coaching to work Excel.(Souther Miss- Metro days)

    Lots of high school and college coaches are also involved in the before mentioned Zija and Advocare.

  37. Sir Brandon
    5:27 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    The renaming of Nutter shouldst be JT’s G.A.M. Development Center.

  38. Interns-R-Us
    5:27 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    P90X = TeamBeachBody
    Vemma/Verve = Phoenix Suns

  39. Interns-R-Us
    5:29 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Lightyear has a NWM/MLM division… sponsors of the radio show.
    Mike Pratt is on the commercials.

  40. Chris
    5:31 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    This guy is my neighbor

  41. bigbluemike
    5:32 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    It’s frustrating, though not surprising, that most of the posters on this thread have little to no knowledge on the business or the charges that FHTM and Mr. Orberson are facing, yet that doesn’t stop anyone from condemning him. For starters, there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of successful, legitimate multi-level marketing businesses (Amway, Mary Kay, Herbalife to name a few). And contrary to popular opinion, what makes a business a “pyramid-scheme” is not the concept of an individual recruiting others to ideally build a team that resembles a pyramid. That is completely legal and is used by the aforementioned companies. The two biggest illegalities of pyramid schemes are 1)when money changes hands between a business or member and another member without the exchange of a product or service and 2) when any individual is limited in the amount of money they can make so that they can’t exceed the earnings of those who have joined the business prior to them. Having said that, it appears FHTM is thought to be guilty of the first in a manner of speaking.

    My main point is that it’s silly to make Mr. Orberson or FHTM out to be some kind of fraudulent, fly-by-night operation that was engaging in willful, calculated illegal behavior. The law that governs multi-level marketing businesses varies from state to state and can be very nuanced and ambiguous. It’s possible FHTM may have broken it, but if it was patently obvious you can rest assured they would have been investigated and found out by now.

  42. bigbluereality
    6:07 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink


    So much for using Herbalife as a great MLM example.

  43. El Pollo Loco
    6:38 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Somewhere, Bill Ackman definitely got a semi-chub when this news broke.

  44. Steve
    7:18 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    I wish he would have given more!!!!!!

  45. Bill
    7:22 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    #38 the difference is if you market and sell the product or are just signing ppl up to make money. Zija is legit bc it’s a product no one else has. These others are about just signing ppl up rather than the product or disguise it as putting ppl in some kind of program. The next one down is body by vi…that company is bogus…all their products have ingredients you can buy at gnc, but they disguise it as some bogus weight loss challenge

  46. Bill
    7:24 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Btw, Brandon knights mom worked at this company

  47. Duck bill
    7:26 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Someone said it was Zija

  48. JimL
    8:00 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Isn’t’ this news 2 years old? I recall charges filed against him and his company at least 2 years ago. Of course that didn’t stop anybody from accepting his “donations”.

  49. Old?
    8:18 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    I remember hearing about this at least 5 years ago, when he donated money for Boyle County athletics upgrades. Maybe it was just under investigation then.

  50. SevenT
    8:41 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink


    Are you serious? You got in on a multi-level marketing system and lost a whopping 300 dollars! That is chump change

  51. JLivermore
    9:22 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    Any arrests expected on the fraudulent bowl years built on the backs of a schedule including three non-BCS schools?

  52. MillsWils
    11:27 pm January 28, 2013 Permalink

    I know Paul Orberson personally. He is one of the most generous kind hearted people I have ever met.I have seen him help complete strangers with expenses and he tips every waiter/waitress he’s ever had obscene amounts, because he knows they work hard. His father is a preacher & Paul never forgot where he came from. He always admitted that Fourtune Hi-tech was a multi level company, he never hid that.

  53. mike day
    4:17 am January 29, 2013 Permalink

    Paul is the best tiper ever! He is always a great person to wiat on. He has an amazing family. It cain’t be a pyramid scheme if they are selling products. (which they are doing ). Thank you Paul for your great genoricity!

  54. Matt
    8:01 am January 29, 2013 Permalink

    Donated 500,000$ to finish up WKU’s new baseball clubhouse a few years ago…pitched for wku and graduated from there back in the 70’s…He has been investigated on numerous occasions and has yet to be officially responsible for anything. rumor a few years ago was that he was going to buy the reds, but the pyramid scheme rumors kept that from happening

  55. UK sucks!!!!!!
    9:41 am January 29, 2013 Permalink

    Really cheating in Lexington?, Calipari has taught him well, HAHA