REPORT: ‘Women’s Circle’ Cash-Gifting Pyramid Scheme ‘Making Its Rounds’ In Canada’s Province Of British Columbia
The Castlegar Source, a publication in British Columbia, is reporting that the Nelson Police Department has issued a warning on a purported “women’s circle” gifting “program” making its way around the area.
A similar scheme operating in the United States resulted in criminal charges being filed against Connecticut-based pitchwomen and subsequent convictions — with jail sentences ordered.
Former Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal — now a U.S. Senator — once described “gifting” schemes as “pernicious” and as “merely a fancy name for an old-fashioned pyramid scheme that bleeds newcomers to feed the parasites above them.”
“State and federal law prohibit all pyramid schemes because each one is a house of cards doomed to collapse,” Blumenthal said in 2009, noting that the “The Women’s Gifting Table” scheme in Connecticut positioned itself as a “sisterhood.”
It seems Blumenthal’s early assessment of the perniciousness of the Connecticut scheme was correct. It later was revealed that even members of Alcoholics Anonymous had been targeted in the scheme. In 2009, the Better Business Bureau warned that frauds associated with gifting programs and gifting clubs were flourishing on the Internet.
The schemes, according to the BBB, may use social-media to gain a head of steam and ultimately take advantage of families struggling to make ends meet during challenging economic times.
Flash forward to 2013. From yesterday’s edition of the Castlegar Source (italics added):
Police said because there is no new money created in the circle, the scheme is simply a fraud that allows the original recruiters to take money from the new members.
Eventually, when no new recruits come into the circle, the gifters will have lost their money.
Pyramid schemes are illegal under section 206 (1) (e) of the Criminal Code and Competition’s Act.