Pyramid scheme promoter fined $10,000
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An Eden Hill man has been convicted for a second time and fined a total of $10,000 for promoting and taking part in an illegal pyramid scheme.
Graeme John Eddington, who operated under the business name Living Polarbear Style, was fined $5,000 each on two charges of participating in a pyramid scheme and attempting to induce another man to participate in the scheme. Mr Eddington was also ordered to pay Court costs of $5,886 in the Perth Magistrates Court on 11 January 2013.
Lawyers for Consumer Protection told the Court that Mr Eddington had placed an advertisement on the internet in November 2010 encouraging people to send him a $1,000 cheque, promising that the money would be returned within a year. He stated that every month someone in the scheme would receive $500 and that participants would receive a $50 payment for each new person they recruited. He also sent a letter to a consumer in February 2011 making the same claims.
A third charge was adjourned due to a witness not being available and will be heard at a later date.
Mr Eddington was fined $6,000 in May 2008 on similar charges after being convicted of promoting a pyramid scheme known as the David Rhodes Chain Letter.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said it was illegal to either promote or take part in pyramid schemes.
“Promoters of these pyramid schemes make a lot of ‘get rich quick’ promises which soon turn into a financial nightmare for participants when the scheme collapses,” Ms Driscoll said.
“Consumers should not be tempted to take part in these schemes as both promoters and players will face prosecution with possible heavy fines, and the original investment is put at great risk as well.
“We encourage anyone who is approached by a pyramid scheme promoter to contact us immediately so we can take quick action to close them down.”
Warnings about pyramid schemes and chain letters can be found on Consumer Protection’s WA ScamNet website: www.scamnet.wa.gov.au. Anyone being approached to take part in these schemes should lodge a report by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 30 40 54.
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(Consumer Protection is a division of the Department of Commerce)
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