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Suicide Sinks Herbalife Stock

November 30, -0001

Top sales rep dies from gunshot wound.

Shares of Herbalife sank as much as 7% Monday morning amid reports the weight-loss and nutritional products company's top distributor died of an apparent suicide.

John Peterson, 58, reportedly earned $3 million last year as one of Herbalife's top salespeople. He was found dead last week of an apparently self-inflicted, single gunshot wound at his Steamboat Springs, Colo., residence, The New York Post said this weekend.

That would seem to conflict with a memo from CEO Michael Johnson last Monday that described the death as a "tragic accident."

Peterson, who earned the title of Herbalife's top distributor of the year 10 times, started his career with Herbalife with the help of an online lead-generation business called Work from Home Inc., the Post reported.

This isn't the first tragedy to impact Herbalife. In 2000, company founder Mark Hughes died of an overdose of alcohol and a toxic level of doxepin, an antidepressant.

Activist investor William Ackman late last year accused the lead-generation business of being a pyramid scheme, where an individual promises recruits who make payment that they will make money by recruiting others.

Herbalife denied accusations of pyramid scheming, but also changed some of its practices.


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