Local News

Company Official Says International Heritage Will Clear Its Name

Posted May 19, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— The president of a Raleigh company accused of operating a pyramid scheme says his company will clear its name. WRAL-TV5's Stuart Watson looked into operations at International Heritage.

This isn't the first time that Stan Van Etten has been in the spotlight with questions about investments. Van Etten says he's learned from past experiences to run International Heritage on the straight and narrow.

From an office building on Glenwood near Oberlin, International Heritage expects to sell more than 200-million dollars worth of goods this year, including such diverse items as jewelry, crystal, phone cards, office products. But the North Carolina Justice Department's consumer protection section says Internation Heritage is selling most of its goods to its own sales agents, violating the state's pyramid statute.

Before starting this company Stan Van Etten was an office manager for a securities firm, F.N. Wolf, whose executives were fined for securities fraud. Van Etten says he was a whistleblower in that case but attorneys for investors say Van Etten was an accomplice turned whistleblower to save his own skin.

Indeed the jury did clear Van Etten of any wrongdoing this past January. Now he's fighting again to convince the North Carolina Attorney General's office this network marketing company is not a pyramid scheme.

Van Etten and his attorney were scheduled to meet with attorneys for the consumer protection division this afternoon. The two sides continue to negotiate an agreement. The negotiations have not kept International Heritage from doing business. But Van Etten says reports about the consumer division's conclusions have cost his company a million dollars and stopped an initial public stock offering in its tracks.