Village Life Benefits Are All in the Family
Freddie Carr and his wife Jenelle started Village Life.
"We have about 3,000 members now," Carr tells NewsChannel 5 investigative reporter Jennifer Kraus.
And they claim that it works, that Village Life has already paid off one mortgage and bought several new cars.
But guess what we found: the house that they tell folks Village Life paid off, who lives there?
Freddie and Jenelle Carr.
And guess who got those new vehicles?
One went to the Carrs' foster son, another to Jenelle Carr's sister.
Village Life is now telling folks they're about to pay off another home...and guess who owns this one?
Jenelle Carr's parents.
"Those are the original people," says Jenelle Carr. "They put in their time just like everybody else."
The Carrs see nothing wrong with that. They say Village Life has essentially been a family business since the beginning.
Says Freddie Carr, "It would be like if you invented Avon, who would be the first customer you'd sell to? Your sister, your mom."
After NewsChannel 5 started asking questions, Village Life did buy a new car for one of its members...someone who, they say, is not in any way related to the Carrs.
But that's just one car after being in business nearly a year.
And here's what else they don't tell you during their seminars:
While they say they're going to help you pay your bills, we discovered they've had trouble paying their own.
In fact, at first, they wouldn't even admit it to us.
"We've never had any bills," Jenelle Carr says.
"So you've never had outstanding bills?" Kraus asks.
"No," Freddie Carr responds.
"Or sued for your bills?" Kraus asks.
"No," he says, pausing before adding, "One time."
"So, just once?" Kraus asks.
"One time, you've been sued?"
Actually, the Carrs have been sued nearly a dozen times for failing to pay their bills.
"He doesn't pay anything he doesn't think he owes," Jenelle Carr says of her husband.
But Kathleen Calligan of the Better Business Bureau is skeptical.
"People who don't pay their bills certainly aren't going to pay anyone else's bills.".
The BBB says more people are calling about Village Life than about any other company.
"What's the number one question everyone wants to know: is this company really going to be able to pay off my mortgage?"
But Freddie Carr insists his clients have nothing to fear.
"So you have no doubt this is going to work?" Kraus asks
"If I had any doubt, I wouldn't have invested $55,000 for 12 people."
After that interview, the state of Tennessee shut Village Life down, claiming it illegally sold unregistered securities and misled investors.