In the last 12 months I've accepted several invitations to attend "live" networking groups. In the case of two of the meetings, my impression of the group itself was negative enough that I chose not to attend a 2nd time. In both cases, my negative opinion came about because the person who led the meeting was selling the equivalent of snake oil. One meeting is particularly memorable because the "president" touted his investment company which guaranteed double-digit returns.
Was I networking with Bernie Madoff or with "Sir" Stanford, the subsequent "Ponzi-du-jour"? No, but the same principle applies. Legitimate financial advisors are taught to never, ever make those types of claims. Had I consented to filling the "banker seat" in either group, I would've become a snake-oil salesman through guilt by association. "Birds of a feather!" is the way Grandma would've put it.
What the Ponzis, Madoffs, and Stanfords of the world stand to gain by associating with those of us who have worked hard to build favorable reputations in a community pales in comparison to what we stand to lose by associating ourselves with them.
Good reputations take years to build but can be ruined in the blink of an eye. I've continued to actively network, but I've carefully steered myself away from those particular groups. I recommend that you do the same.