QAnon influencers luring followers into multi-level marketing schemes: report
A surge in child trafficking misinformation pushed by QAnon conspiracy theorists is stirring public panic. (AFP)

Some prominent QAnon conspiracy theorists have been directing their supporters toward multi-level marketing schemes.

MLMs rely on new members to recruit subordinate sales associates, who then pay a portion of their earnings "upline" and are encouraged to bring on their own recruits, and QAnon influencers such as Phil Godlewski have been encouraging their followers to invest in these schemes, reported The Daily Beast.

"Selling silver through 7k Metals marked the latest business move from Godlewski, who served time in jail last year after bouncing a bad check for more than $21,000, then falsifying bank records to avoid being caught," the website reported. "In an unrelated 2010 case, Godlewski was indicted over carrying on an alleged sexual relationship with a 15-year-old. He later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of corrupting a minor."

Many MLM operations are legal, but others can be illegal pyramid schemes that bilk new members and leave them badly in debt, and the Federal Trade Commission urges would-be investors to be cautious before signing on.

QAnon conspiracist Richard "Citizen Journalist" Potcner, who rose to prominence by filming hospitals to "prove" COVID-19 was a hoax, has been directing his followers to buy silver -- specifically from 7k Metals.

Other right-wing conspiracists, including the tomahawk-wielding Scott "Patriot Streetfighter" McKay, encourage their fans to invest in enigmatic schemes like "Operation Tomahawk," which he hadn't revealed much about but promises will "choke" liberal corporations through "economic warfare."

The Daily Beast reported that Operation Tomahawk was actually a direct sales business called Patriot Switch, which was based on multi-level marketing.

The MLM schemes have occasionally set QAnon influencers against one another, with conservative activist Jeanette Geary reporting Godlewski to the FBI late last year to investigate his silver operation, although he has not been charged with any crimes related to that.

Godlewski sued Geary shortly afterward for defamation in federal court after she claimed he encouraged his followers to convert their 401(k) retirement accounts into silver sold by 7k Metals.