COQUITLAM RCMP’s Economic Crime Unit (ECU) investigators are hoping to put a stop to a new pyramid scheme that targets law-abiding citizens who have no idea they are breaking the law.

Police say the Gifting Pyramid Scheme usually targets groups of law-abiding women who are convinced to recruit their friends or acquaintances. New members have to pay their recruiter a $5,000 ‘gift’ to join.  In turn, each member is expected to recruit eight new people so everyone can end up with $40,000.  Recruiters try to legitimize the buy-in payment by calling it a ‘birthday gift,’ a ‘transaction,’ or ‘a gifting circle’ and insisting that the payment is not taxable or illegal because it’s only a gift.

“We are finding people getting caught up in this pyramid scheme who have no idea that it’s illegal,” said Cpl. Michael McLaughlin on Thursday. “One of our Coquitlam RCMP ECU investigators was even asked if she wanted to join! The sad truth is that pyramid schemes always fall apart and the people at the bottom – your friends and family – lose their money.”

You might be reluctant to talk to police because your friends are involved or you feel ashamed, but Coquitlam RCMP’s ECU says it needs your help to spread the word and prevent more people being victimized.

If you have any information about a Pyramid Gifting Scheme, call your local police. For Pyramid Gifting Schemes in Coquitlam, or for any non-emergency crime, call the Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550.

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