This isn't the first time that Stan Van Etten has been in the spotlightwith questions about investments. Van Etten says he's learned from pastexperiences to run International Heritage on the straight and narrow.
From an office building on Glenwood near Oberlin, International Heritageexpects to sell more than 200-million dollars worth of goods this year, including such diverse items as jewelry, crystal, phone cards, officeproducts.But the North Carolina Justice Department's consumer protection sectionsays Internation Heritage is selling most of its goods to its own salesagents, violating the state's pyramid statute.
Before starting this company Stan Van Etten was an office manager for asecurities firm, F.N. Wolf, whose executives were fined for securitiesfraud. Van Etten says he was a whistleblower in that case but attorneysfor investors say Van Etten was an accomplice turned whistleblower tosave 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 AttorneyGeneral's office this network marketing company is not a pyramid scheme.
Van Etten and his attorney were scheduled to meet with attorneys for theconsumer protection division this afternoon. The two sides continue tonegotiate an agreement. The negotiations have not kept InternationalHeritage from doing business. But Van Etten says reports about theconsumer division's conclusions have cost his company a million dollarsand stopped an initial public stock offering in its tracks.