Two women face charges linked to ‘cloud gifting’ pyramid scheme

Two women face charges linked to ‘cloud gifting’ pyramid scheme

Recruits were asked to ‘pay in’ with sums of up to $5,000

Two women from Maple Ridge are facing charges connected to a ‘cloud gifting’ scheme, according to Coquitlam RCMP.

In a Tuesday release, police said that Chrystal Lee Lyons, 44, and Esther Ayshia Vandenbrink, 56, face charges from a cloud gifting pyramid scheme.

Police said that typically, new members must pay a ‘gift’ fee of between $1,000 and $5,000 to join the group after being invited to join by friends and acquaintances.

READ MORE: Dozens of Cloverdale women involved in illegal ‘gifting clouds’

New members are then required to recruit more people until they reach the ‘top’ of the pyramid and share in a $40,000 ‘birthday gift’ payoff.

Lyons, who went by the nickname of ‘Purple Shadow,’ is facing four counts of conducting a lottery.

Vandenbrink, who went by the nickname ‘Party Girl,’ is facing one count of conducting a lottery.

“Variations of this pyramid scheme often encourage people to use pseudonyms,” said Cpl. McLaughlin.

“The organizers also regularly change small details of the scam, or claim that they’ve found a legal loophole, or claim that their scheme is endorsed by a police officer or tax official. However, no matter what you call them, pyramid schemes are illegal.”

Anyone who is approached by someone recruiting for a pyramid scheme is asked to call their local police.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.