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Atlantic County Prosecutor: Stay Away From Pyramid Schemes, Gifting Circles

These schemes rely upon the age-old temptation of greed. Just remember if an opportunity seems too good to be true, run away.

MAYS LANDING- Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner has a message for the community, regarding Pyramid Schemes called Sou-Sous, Flowers, Gifting Circles or similarly named Schemes: “Do not get involved.”

Sceme promoters oftentimes tell participants that their involvement will contribute to building wealth in their community.

Prosecutor Tyner warns that despite guarantees by scheme promoters, these Pyramid Schemes called Sou-Sous, Flowers, or Gifting Circles are illegal. Individuals, participating in the scheme could face charges of wire fraud, tax fraud, and theft by deception.

“I want all members of our community to be aware of all of the scams and people preying on them to take their money. This recent scam uses normally trustworthy people, such as family members, friends, even pastors, as unknowing conduits to take advantage of the innocent,” Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said.

How it Happens

Be aware that the trademark of an unlawful pyramid scheme focuses on two key components:

  • A requirement of an upfront entry fee coupled with the belief of a significant payout
  • The requirement to convince two additional individuals to join the pyramid, with the agreement to also bring in two more recruits to participate and contribute.

In the end, the entire scheme enterprise collapses, and the individuals who were the last to join these pyramids — at the wide base of the pyramid — lose their money.

For example, in a typical Sou-Sou, Flower or similar Pyramid Schemes, participants are often promised if they put up $100 in some cases, or $500 in others, after a month or two passes they would receive a return eight times their initial cash contribution to the scheme.

“These schemes rely upon the age-old temptation of greed. Just remember if an opportunity seems too good to be true, run away,” Prosecutor Tyner said.

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