Gifting Circles: How Illegal Are They?

www.ask-roxy.com is a public service blog from the Law Offices of Roxanne Sher Olson (www.roxanneolson.com).  Roxanne is an attorney in Santa Cruz, CA.  Email your questions to askroxy@roxanneolson.com

Here is an idea:  You give me some money.  By giving me some money you will be entitled to ask others to join our group.   Eventually, there is a chance you will receive money.  Sound about right?  No?  Okay, how about I form a sister empowerment group that shares abundance.  We focus on fulfilling our deepest selves through gifting love (and cash) toward the center of our lotus circle and someday, after you gather more women together, with lightness and invigorating clarity, you might blossom into the center and receive the abundance.  Sound better?

Either way you describe it, the legal term for a scheme where someone is enticed to join by paying money in exchange for the opportunity of gathering more people to pay money for the chance of receiving money is an “endless chain” and it is illegal under the Penal Code (section 327 for those of you who like to read statutes as much as I do).  For those of you who hate reading code here are the cliff notes: anyone involved is guilty and may go to prison.  


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

C. Stoney Brook September 25, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Nicely done, Roxanne! These variations on the 'Ponzi Scheme" or pyramids have been around for a looong time and rely on greed, weak math skills and lack of common sense. As an old-time investigator, I've seen the folks who were incensed when we broke up the 'groups' ['It's my money, let me spend as I see fit; you're violating my Constitutional right (too be stupid?)] or, after they've been fleeced, they want us to go get the Bad Guys ... Again, nice work and keep informing the uninformed. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Brian September 25, 2013 at 09:25 PM
what is amway?


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »