The Pyramid Crumbles

Last week we detailed the sketchy claims Irving-Based BioPerformance made about its "non-toxic, non-flammable" miracle fuel pill made out of toxic, flammable mothballs. We also examined the company's shady marketing tactics that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott decided violated the state's weak anti-pyramid scheme statute.

This afternoon, a judge upheld the May 17 court order that shut down BioPerformance. Lowell Mims and Gustavo Romero, the elusive founders of the scheme, surfaced for a three-day hearing in San Antonio--just long enough to offer stunning testimony about how much money they had bilked out of their 50,000-plus faithful followers in only five months. Some of their more interesting admissions:

    Mim and Romero skimmed at least $7.4 million from the company.

    Mims set up a trust fund for his family's use of $2.7 million, Romero for $2.4 million.

    Mims bought a $90,000 Hummer and twin Rolexes; Romero, a $40,000 BMW and a $50,000 down payment on a pool.

BioPerformance's lead counsel, Dallas lawyer John Jerome Lewis, undoubtedly did his best, but you'd have to forgive him if he was a little distracted. After all, he still has to worry about that pesky FBI investigation into the $250,000 worth of bribes he allegedly negotiated for Mayor Pro-Tem Don Hill. --Rick Kennedy

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