Akira Tamai Fails to Pay Taxes on MonaVie Income
A leading distributor in Japan for the North American network marketing company known as MonaVie, failed to report any of the income he earned from making sales of the MonaVie health products, failing to pay about ¥100 million (About $1 million in USD) in taxes, sources said.
The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau has reported the suspected infringement of the Income Tax Law by Akira Tamai to the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, though the income has since been declared and the taxes paid, the sources said.
The 45 year old resident of Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, is the top representative among MonaVie’s 100k members in Japan and has been featured in several trade magazine features. Akira Tamai became a MonaVie rep around 2008, when he began selling juice made from acai, the fruit of an Arecaceae family plant native to Brazil, according to a person familiar with the case.
He is suspected of not reporting income or paying taxes for any of the $2.8 million he made through MonaVie from 2010 to 2012.
According to MonaVie’s Japan operations based in Minato Ward, Tokyo, members make money by buying juice at a discount from the company and selling it at a markup to friends, family and other acquaintances etc.
Members are also compensated for sales made by people in their membership group, which comprises of members they introduced, members those people introduce, and so on.
Depending on how much they sell, members are granted titles, such as “Ruby” or “Emerald,” with higher ranks such as Black Diamond, Blue Diamond, or even Crowne Black Diamond like my friend Brig Hart before he resigned from MonaVie in mid 2013.
Akira Tamai’s group reportedly has about 70,000 people, a major portion of MonaVie members in Japan.
In 2012, he was granted the company’s elite “Imperial Black Diamond” title.
He is said to be virtually guaranteed to receive an annual ¥200 million (About USA $2 Million) from his group’s sales, which he has spent on foreign luxury cars and living expenses.
“His knowledge of tax matters was lacking. He intends to properly pay his taxes in the future,” Tamai’s lawyer said.
Network marketing companies like MonaVie work by having salespeople expand their sales networks by soliciting new salespeople, which brings in profits from commission and other avenues. Also called MLM, the practice conforms with the law, unlike pyramid schemes, which are illegal.
However, there is constant pressure to invite new members to bring in profit. Solicitation methods and other aspects are regulated under “multilevel marketing” in the Specified Commercial Transactions Law. Founded in 2005 in the United States, MonaVie is now established in about 25 countries worldwide.
The Utah based health & wellness companies main product is juice made from acai and 18 other fruits. A 750-milliliter bottle sells for around ¥4,000, and MonAvie claims that drinking 120 milliliters per day is good for one’s health. The company does not have their products for sale in supermarkets or health food stores.
MonaVie began full-fledged expansion into Japan around 2008, and Tamai was an early member. He conducts 400-500 seminars per year on such topics as “The Secret to Success in Anything.” Tamai’s activities have been featured several times in multilevel marketing trade magazines.
In an interview, he said: “When you see someone cleaning a public toilet, try telling them, ‘thank you.’ When you become an honest person, it will change your appearance and people will be attracted to you.”
The company said it has provided its members with guidance on how to properly file tax returns through pamphlets, bulletins, members-only webpages and other means.
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