Money chain letter. "As seen on Oprah"  Five pages of text. Six names, $1 to each name. Copy quota 200.  US, 2009.

Page 1:  "As seen on Oprah" pitch (below)
Page 2:  "Retired attorney" statement
Page 3:  "Dick Hollman" testimonial & instructions
Page 4:  Participants list, computations, suggestions
Page 5:  Testimonials
Page 6:  Brief analysis by Daniel W. VanArsdale

             [Page 1]

AS SEEN ON OPRAH AND 20/20

MAKE $250,000 IN WEEKS



***Oprah Winfrey and ABC's investigation team 20/20 also
prove it can be done***

***Proven by various, highly-respected U.S. TV and Radio programs
as being 100% legal, feasible and true***

IF A 15 YEAR OLD BOY CAN MAKE $71,000 IN JUST 5 WEEKS AND
OTHERS $250,000 IN A FEW WEEKS, SO CAN YOU!!!

THIS REALLY CAN MAKE YOU EASY MONEY!! IT WORKS!! BUT YOU HAVE
TO FOLLOW THE LETTER FOR IT TO WORK!! THIS IS NOT A PYRAMID
SCAM.....

This is people helping people



I came across an article similar to this that said you could make thousands of
dollars within weeks with an initial investment of only $6.00.

The truth is you can expect to spend the following:
                                         $6.00 paid to the names on page 4.
                        $45.00 for 200 peel and stick addressed mailing labels.
                                                       $11.00 for envelopes
                                          $53.00 for 200 sets of copied letters
                                                         $84.00 for postage.

                                  Your estimated total investment of $199.00

If after reading all of the pages you don't think this is worth $199.00, a
small investment for a very large return, then you must be happy with your
life.

                                   Please Read All of the Pages, Before Making Your Decision.

                                                           **********Here's how

    [Page 2]

                                             PLEASE TAKE TIME TO READ...THANK YOU
                                                                                Hello,
I HAVE RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION AND IF YOU WILL TAKE TIME TO
READ IT, I BELIEVE IT WILL BE BENEFICIAL TO YOU!!!

Dear Friend,
Greetings! I am a retired attorney.  Approximately two years ago a man came to me with
a letter similar to this one. He asked me to verify the fact this letter was legal. I told him
I would review it and get back to him. When I first read the letter a week and a half
later, we met in my office to discuss the issue. I told him the letter he had originally
brought me was not 100% legal and I advised him to make a small change to the letter
so it would be.

I was still curious about the letter, so he explained how the letter works. I thought it was
a long shot and decided against participation. However, before my client left I asked him
to keep me updated as to his results. About two months later, he called to tell me he
had received over $800,000 in cash.  I did not believe him; he suggested I try this idea to
find out for myself. I thought about it for a couple of days and decided I did not have
anything to lose so I asked him for a copy of the letter. I followed the instructions
exactly, mailed out 200 copies and sure enough the money started arriving! It came
slowly at first but after three weeks, I was getting more and more mail than I could open
in a day. After about three months the money stopped coming in. I kept a precise record
of my earnings and at the end it totaled $958,493!

I was earning a good living as an attorney. However, as everyone in the legal profession
will tell you, there is a lot of stress that comes with the job. I told myself if things worked
out, I would  retire and play golf. I decided to try the letter again, but this time I sent out
500 letters. Well, three months later my income was $2,344,178!!! I just couldn't
believe it. I met with my old friend for lunch to find out how it worked. He told me there
are quite a number of similar letters like this going around. What makes the difference
is there are six names on my list, not five like many others. That fact alone resulted in
many more returns. The other fact is that the whole program is very legitimate. No one
wants to participate in something illegal.

I'll assume by now you are curious to know what little change I told him to make. Well, if
you sent a letter like this one out, to be legal you must actually be selling something, if
you expect to receive a dollar. I told him that anyone sending you a dollar must expect to
receive something in return. So, when you send a dollar each person on the list, you
must include a slip of paper with the words "Please put my name on your mailing list."
This is the key to the program. FOLLOW THE SIMPLE RULES ON PAGE 3 EXACTLY AND
IN LESS THAN THREE MONTHS YOU SHOULD RECEIVE OVER $800,000.

                               Be honest and this will work for everyone.  Thank you!




     [Page 3]

Dear Friend,

My name is Dick Hollman.  In October 2003 my car was stolen, and my apartment was
broken into.  Bill collectors were hounding me like you wouldn't believe. I was laid off and
my unemployment insurance ran out.  In the following day's mail I received a letter telling
me how I could make over $800,000 any time I wanted to! Of course I was skeptical, but
I was so desperate and had nothing to lose, I gave it a try.  In January 2004 my family and
I went on a ten-day cruise! In February I bought a new Cadillac with cash.  Today, I am
currently building a second home in Virginia, and I will never have to work again. This
program works perfectly. I have never failed to make $800,000 on each mailing. This is a
great business opportunity, a perfectly legal money making program. It does not require
you to sell anything or come in contact with anyone. Best of all, the only time you leave
your home is to mail the letters and that's easy!  I'm sure you could use $800,000 in the
next 20 to 90 days. Please study this letter carefully.

                                                                 Rules
                                                      THIS IS NOT A CHAIN LETTER!!!
         This is a perfectly legal money making opportunity. Please be sure to follow the
                                                instructions exactly as they are written.

°   Immediately send $1.00 to each of the six names listed below and request your name
    be added to the mailing list. *This is the step that makes the program legal.*

°  Remove the name in the number 1 position and move each of the names up one
    place (#2 becomes#1, #3 becomes #2, etc.) Put your name in the sixth position (an
    easy way to do this is to retype the list with your name last, tape it in the proper
    position and photocopy).

°  After completing the above instructions, photocopy or print 200 copies of the five
   page letter. Purchase a mailing list of names from DATA LINE ONE. Data Line One is a
   member of the Better Business Bureau and they only provide names of opportunity
   seekers like you. They sell a list of 200 names for only $45.00, they also ship next day
   C.O.D. The best part is the names come on self-adhesive labels; you just peel and
   stick right to your envelop.  Just call 1-800-497-**** and they will have them delivered
   to you within five days. The company accepts VISA, MASTER CARD, DEBIT
   CARD, and CHECK OR C.O.D. to make it more convenient for you to get started. You
   can also visit www.d**********.com.

°  While waiting for the mailing list to arrive, place each of your 200 copies (or more if
   you want to make the bigger bucks) into business size envelopes and seal them. Go
   to the post office and purchase 200 of their .42 cent stamps and place them on your
   envelopes (the post office sells rolls of 100 self adhesive stamps for your
   convenience).

°  Once the list arrives, immediately place an address label on each envelope and drop
   them into the mailbox. Within 20 to 90 days you should receive over $800,000 in
   cash! Now here is the interesting part; the first time I participated in this program I
   kept an accurate count of my letters and my response rate was 9.5% and the second
   time it ws 11%. This system was made for the purpose of quickly accumulating
   capital. Honestly, when you send 200 copies of this letter and each responsible
   person sends out their 200 copies, your fortune multiplies rapidly. Very few people
   need to respond for this to
work. Remember this is legal. (Refer to Title 18 sections
   1302 & 1342 of the U.S. postal and lottery laws on the internet.)



     [Page 4] 


1. Cole ************************* Bismark, ND 58504

2. Hollie ************************ West Mifflin, PA 15122

3. Brandon **********************  Henderson, NV 89014

4. Rosevelt ********************** Minneapolis, MN 55408

5. Susan ************************ St. Louis Park, MN 55416

6. Deborah ********************** Long Grove, IL 60047


As a conservative rate of response, assume for example you get a 7% return rate.
(my first attempt was about 9.5%, and my second was 11%)
When you send out 200 letters, 15  people will send you $1.00 = $15.00
Those 15 people send out 200 letters. 210 people send you 1.00 = $210.00
Those 225 people send out 200 letters. 3,150 people send you 1.00 = $3150.00
Those 3,375 people send out 200 letters. 47,250 people send you 1.00 = $47,250.00
Those 50,625 send out 200 letters. 708,750 people send you 1.00 = $708,750.00
Total: $759,375.00     AND THAT'S ONLY A 7% RETURN RATE!!!!!

AT THIS POINT YOUR NAME IS DROPPED FROM THE LIST, BUT YOU
HAVE RECEIVED $759,375.00!!
It works every time. On the above example, you started with 200 at 7% return rate.
I GUARANTEE THIS MATH IS CORRECT. YOU CAN CHECK IT OUT
YOURSELF! WITH THIS KIND OF RESPONSE, YOU'VE GOT TO TRY IT!




Here are a few tips I have learned: (merely suggestions)
1. After receiving your mailing list, mail the letters as soon as possible while the list
     is still fresh.
2. When you handle a lot of letters, an electronic opener is great!
3. File your response alphabetically to track your earnings.
4. STAY COOL...keep your job until you have time to plan your next step.
5. Sow 10% of your new income to charitable contributions (**TITHING**) you
    reap what you sow.
6. Put 20% into savings; set aside 10% for your net project or mailing list, 10% for
   bills, 30% for taxes, and 20% to play with.  Not Enough??? Mail! Mail! Mail!
7. Note: when you send out these letters, you are in the mail order business. People
    are sending you $1.00 to be put on our [sic] mailing list. This is a legal and helpful
    service. See Title 10, Sections 1302 & 1342 of the U.S. Postal and Lottery Laws.
8. If you have tried this system before and it has failed, it was probably because you
    mailed them to your friends...NO KIDDING!!! This time, get the mailing list
    labels and SHARE THEM WITH YOUR FRIENDS AFTER YOU HAVE
    PROVED THIS WORKS!!!!




       [Page 5]

                                                              TESTIMONIALS

              I AM A BELIEVER AND AM TOTALLY CONVINCED IT WORKS.


"I am naturally skeptical and I have received at least 35 letters similar to this one
in a six month period. There was however, something about this one that I liked.
It takes less investment than some others do, and all the participants receive
money, not just the top one. Anyway, I sent out 250 letters and hoped for the
best.  Nothing happened for 11 days but on the 12th day I received $90.00. Over
the next 4-1/2 months, I received over $800,000 cash in the mail.  I am doing it
                          now with 1,000 letters". . . . .Jay Masterson


I wanted to try a similar program in which it costs $5.00 for 5 names and much
more expenses, but at the time I didn't have the money to invest.  The first time I
sent this letter, I got my expenses back in one week! After a short time, I got well
over $800,000 and now I am trying it again! Good luck to you all, it really
works!" . . . . . .Sandra Frisch

"When I got this letter I said yeah sure, and pitched it.  Then later I remembered
hearing that skepticism breed's failure, while belief leads to success.  So I
rescued the letter, ordered a fresh mailing list and sent them out.  Thank heaven I
did! In a few months I paid off all my debts, cut up my credit cards, now I can pay
for everything is cash and it feels great! I love buying what I need without paying
interest". . . . . Roland Siegerot


"We will invest in lotteries, enter sweepstakes, clip coupons,
etc. We need to invest in one another. Maybe you are not in need
of money - then do it for someone else. For a neighbor, a college
student, endowment fund, etc.


      LETS HELP EACH OTHER TO FULFILL OUR DREAMS AND FUTURES



Page 6                            

Brief Analyis of the "As seen on Oprah" chain letter.

I will not consider here whether this chain letter was ever seen on Oprah, whether it is legal or not, or whether you can trust strangers to send you a dollar even if they send out copies themselves. Instead I will compare it to other such creations in years past and consider what its own claims of success imply.

This "Oprah" chain letter is very similar to a letter from 2005 [see
me2005-08_retired_s6usdn6q200] except that:
1. A new cover page has been added, which starts: "As seen on Oprah."
2. Parts of the 2005 letter have been reorganized and presented with very few internal changes. Thus the "Retired attorney's statement" [page 2], the "Dick Hollman" testimonial [top of page 3], the rules [bottom of page 3] , the suggestions [bottom of page 4] and the concluding testimonials [page 5] are little changed from corresponding parts of the 2005 letter. To see this, compare the "Roland Siegerot" testimonial here to the "R. Siergerot" testimonial on the 2005 letter, here.
3. Only one supplier of a mailing list is recommended in this letter, whereas in the 2005 letter three suppliers were recommended.

There can be no reasonable doubt that the "Dick Hollman" testimonial is a fictional rewrite of an earlier "Dave  Rhodes" testimonial (also fictional). An early example of this Dave (or David) Rhodes testimonial appears in a 1986 money chain letter (Rhodes). Consider that these letters claim Rhodes and Hollman BOTH:
(1) were laid off and their unemployment insurance had run out
(2) used these exact words to describe their plight: "The bill collectors were hounding me like you wouldn't believe"
(3) lost cars;
Rhodes to repossession (in 1983), Hollman to both repossession (in 1983, see 2005) and theft in 2003,
(4) made fortunes with a chain letter
(5) went on 10-day cruises with their family
(6) bought a Cadillac
(7) built a second home in Virginia.

Finally, consider the claim in this "Oprah" chain letter that an unnamed attorney made $968,493 and $2,344,178 using the letter. That requires a total of 3,111,671 letters received, each containing one dollar. An empty envelope and a dollar bill weigh about .15 ounce. Some arithmetic then reveals that this attorney would have to have received about 14.5 tons of mail. If it takes just 10 seconds to remove the bill from an envelope, it would take one person working without a break about a year just to remove the bills. And if each of these 3,111,671 participants themselves sent out 200 letters as instructed (which we should expect they would since they have sent back a dollar), a total of 622,334,200 letters must have been mailed. That makes two for every man, woman and child in the United States. I suppose this could happen (something like this did happen in 1935). But if so, I do not think one should expect to make any more money with the same letter.
   
Daniel W. VanArsdale,  March 10, 2009



Photocopies of word processor originals - five pages. Mailed to a town in New Hampshire in Feb., 2009. No return address, postmark illegible. Lines and general format preserved in the above transcription. Provided by K. Martindale. Entered by DWV, 3/10/2009.

Paper Chain Letter Archive file name:  me2009-02_oprah_s1x6q200_5pp
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Daniel W. VanArsdale