10 Dec 2002. The Sacremento, Ca. District Attorney ordered the arrest of 3 more women in connection with the "Women Helping Women" gifting scheme. These are alleged to be the ringleaders and are charged with securities fraud and endless chain schemes. They were Christine Ney, 28, Theresa Machold, 49, and Debra Walker, 48 all of central California. Still on the loose is Donna Goles, 37, of Rocklin. Note: These people are innocent till proven guilty in a court of law.
2 October 2002 - Four women where arrested for running a gifting club "Women Helping Women. Sacremento, Ca. Sheriff's officials identified it as Gifting Club pyramid scheme operation. Women paid $5,000 to join at the appetite level and followed the usual gifting pyramid chain up to the dessert level where the illegal participants called "Birthday Girls" cashed out at $40 grand! The women arrested where all upper middle class and some had professional credentials. On top of that, Sheriffs Deputies with warrants searched the houses of other participants. Other arrests may be possible depending on the outcome of the evidence collected in the searches. Other counties are participating in the Gifting Club investigation that may shake the state. Ed. Note: 27 October update raises this the number charged to 8 women.
One of the women arrested, Ms. Bean, was a regional director for the pyramid scheme. Others were "Chart Monitors" that kept track of the illegal pyramid scheme "panel splits" (in MLM WatchDog editorial terms they were the "bookies"). In all officials estimated that the group grew to over 10,000 women and sucked in $12 million before the Gifting Club pyramid scheme was shut down.
Interestingly from the reports received indicate that some of the ringleaders were juggling the charts and actually skimming money off the top of the "Women Helping Women" Gifting Club pyramid scheme! Note: WatchDog experience is that Gifting Club administrators take 10% for running the games for their work. Note: Gifting panels I have seen are usually a mess so these girls earned their money!
In an interesting slant the California Department of Corporations indicated it may file civil charges against the participants running the "Women Helping Women" Gifting Club pyramid scheme. The civil lawsuit by the state would be for false advertising and claims. This has never been done in other states where Gifting Club pyramid schemes have been hit by local authorities! Wow! Double pyramid scheme jeopardy!
The lawyer for the women indicated that he expected them to be exonerated. The MLM Watchdog totally agrees they need to be considered innocent of pyramid scheme criminal charges until proven guilty. But, as an editorial comment.. doesn't seem too likely!
These pyramid schemes are found in nearly every state. Earlier this year 30 people were arrested and indicted in New Mexico on charges of running similar pyramid schemes. In Texas two women were arrested in 2000. Philadelphia, Pa. reported that last year a dozen women complained about a giftining pyramid scheme. In Maine, the the state attorney general warned the public of a ring made up of men that used Nascar or Men's Club names and steps in their pyramid schemes. Idaho and Washington had gifting clubs there around bucking bronc horse riders and non-profit church dinners!
Your Editor Rod Cook says: Spread the word - Gifting Clubs are illegal pyramid schemes!