We looked last month at the case of the Pyramid fraudsters of South West England. As we explained then, this seems to have been a classic pyramid scheme. According to the Daily Mail, “Each of 15 spaces was filled with a participant who paid £3,000 and introduced two friends, who also paid that amount. Once the chart was filled, the eight people on the bottom of the chart paid their £3,000 to the person on the top, called the ‘Bride’. Participants collected their winnings at specialist prize-giving pamper parties, where they would be asked a series of simple questions before being handed the £24,000.A set £1,000 fee from the payout was deducted, with £600 shared between charities and £400 used to pay costs the committee occurred“.
Basically, you pay £3,000 to buy in and hope that more people follow you in. If they do, then you get £23,000 when you get to the top of the pyramid.
The reporting restrictions were lifted after the final three women pleaded guilty on 18th September 2014. They were sentenced on 13th October 2014 as follows :
- Mary Nash, 65 (charts co-ordinator) – 6 months
- Susan Crane, 68 (committee secretary) – 6 months
- Hazel Cameron, 54 (games coordinator) – 6 months, suspended for two years
Will there be an appeal?
As we said previously, the maximum sentence is only 2 years (so a lot less serious than other fraud offences) and with the absence of any guidelines, or more details, it’s pretty hard to say.
We hope that there is an appeal, as it would be useful to have some guidance on how serious an offence this is.
How did we do?
We said “We would have thought that those who pleaded guilty yesterday should just about get a non custodial sentence.“
So, not bang on, but one out of three isn’t too bad..?