This page was last updated on: May 28, 2013

Calgary Police and RCMP Penetrate Pyramid Scheme Arrests Made!
Sept 2005 - One Okotoks resident and three others from Calgary have been arrested after Calgary Police uncovered a pyramid scam know as 'Circle of Friends.' After receiving numerous tips from the public, the Calgary Police Service Commercial Crime Section and the RCMP were able to infiltrate secretive meetings of the group and made four arrests.

Andrea Northam, 25, Marlise Vittur, 22, and Lori Deane, 40 all of Calgary and Dena Liebrecht, 30, of Okotoks have been charged with operating an unlawful money increment scheme and operating a pyramid scheme. They will enter their plea today (Wednesday) in Calgary.

According to Cst. Barbara Smail of the RCMP Commercial Crime Section, RCMP became aware of a group originating in Okotoks which lead to the Circle of Friends group Pyramid Scheme.  Smail added that since the first group of citizens was charged and convicted in Calgary, it opened the floodgates to calls of other similar scams in the area.

'Once that happened the phone calls (to the RCMP) picked up,' said the constable.  Through numerous public tips and tips through Crime Stoppers, RCMP were able to determine which meetings they would be able to attend undetected.

Undercover operators with the police were able to identify the pyramid schemes after attending the secretive meetings where the suspects would stand and tell attendees how much money they needed to join the circle.  'They would talk about how (the money) is not taxable because they are actually giving a gift, which is not true,' said Smail. Those in attendance were then told how to obtain the $5,000 needed to join through various means such as taking out a loan or borrowing the money from family.

Then, Smail explained, actual pyramids were drawn on a board telling people how the pyramid works. They were then given the name of a person to meet at an undisclosed place to hand over the cash. She explained that people are promised that they will quickly move up on the pyramid and once they reach the top they will collect $40,000.

The pyramid scheme scams are solely dependent on recruitment, said Smail, and normally they fall apart before the person on the bottom can reach the top.  'It doesn't work. It is dependent on recruitment and if they can't recruit enough people eventually it will die off,' said Smail. 'It is an illegal Pyramid Scheme game.'

'It usually is a victimless crime. The people at the bottom who give the money also could be charged for participating,' she added. 'It is illegal because it falls under the gaming section of the criminal code. The way (the pyramid works) it can't work the way it is presented.'

Normally, Smail added, people who participate in these types of Pyramid scams are in desperate need of money to pay off a debt or they want to help someone else out. 'There is usually a lot of greed,' she said. Smail explained that there are quite a number of pyramids schemes under way not only in Calgary, but the surrounding communities as well under various names such as the Perpetual Money Tree, the Wine Club
and the Muffin Club.  All are Pyramid Schemes.

'There are a lot of these pyramids going on for sure,' she explained. 'We have had complaints from every single small town outside of the city.' Although each scheme may come under a different name, residents will quickly recognize it is a scam. 'You will know instantly,' she said.

Failure to declare income from a pyramid scheme could also result in tax evasion charges and prosecution by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA). However, individuals who have not filed returns for previous years or who have not reported all their income, can still voluntarily correct their tax affairs.

The CCRA will not penalize or prosecute if full disclosure is made before the agency starts any action of investigation for hiding money from a Pyramid Scheme.

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Think this is not "for you"?
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Ed. Note: You were in some sort of detention?  From prior gifting thefts?

I am no stranger to the "gifting" arena, as many of you know. But having "been there and done that" in every facet of gifting, gloriously celebrating sometimes, crying others, I have been avoiding it like the plague. It's not that gifting itself "doesn't work" or is "bad"; it most certainly is not. It's just that the "body count" of the average participants was way too high for me. I just couldn't promote gifting in good conscience any more, knowing so many people were getting hurt. But ...

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Time is of the essence now in reaching out to others.
I urge you to try to come to a quick decision.

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To make an intelligent decision , please get on the very next "Enlightenment Call".

Enlightenment Call Schedule

Please call: 646-519-5806, wait for the operator and
enter PIN code: 8901#


More Pyramid Scheme Gifting Pages:
Gifting Club Pyramid Scheme Training
2008 Gifting Pyramid Scheme Update
Women Helping Women Gifting Club
Gifting Pyramid Schemes and Scams
Links to Research Gifting Reports

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More Gifting Pages:
Gifting Club Pyramid Scheme Training
2008 Gifting Pyramid Scheme Update
Women Helping Women Gifting Club
Gifting Pyramid Schemes and Scams
Links to Research Gifting Reports
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