Skip to content

Maple Ridge man charged in multimillion-dollar pyramid scheme

US Department of Justice announces charges in 8 Figure Dream Lifestyle case
(Department of Justice/Special to The News)

A Maple Ridge man has been charged in the U.S. with allegedly orchestrating a multimillion-dollar pyramid scheme.

Alex Dee, 49, who formerly went by the surname Dowlatshahi, is alleged to have operated the scheme named 8 Figure Dream Lifestyle (8FDL), according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice on Friday.

Brian Kaplan, 52, of Fort Collins, Colorado, and Jerrold Maurer, 58, of North Bellmore, New York, co-founded 8FDL with Dee and participated in the scheme, and have pleaded guilty to charges.

According to the Justice Department, from January 2017 through June 2019, Dee allegedly ran 8FDL as a pyramid scheme. Dee and his co-conspirators allegedly recruited participants through emails, robocalls, promotional videos, and webinars.

They are alleged to have told consumers that 8FDL was a legitimate business with real products, and to have lied to prospective members about how much money they could make, how much others who had joined 8FDL had made, and the ongoing costs associated with the business.

Dee allegedly wrote and sent mass-marketing emails claiming that typical members with no prior skills or experience could easily earn between $5,000 and $10,000 in 10 to 14 days after joining the program, and that most members were averaging two to three sales in their first 30-45 days. In fact, the vast majority of people who joined 8FDL never made any money, said the indictment.

READ ALSO: Gangster gets life sentence for Surrey and Abbotsford killings

Dee was arrested at the U.S.-Canada border on Tuesday, Jan. 9, while trying to enter Washington State from B.C.. He made his initial appearance on Wednesday before a judge in Washington.

Dee is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and four counts of wire fraud. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each of the charged counts.

Kaplan and Maurer were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and both pleaded guilty. They have yet to be sentenced, and each faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Acting assistant attorney general Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and inspector in charge Eric Shen of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Criminal Investigations Group made the announcement. USPIS is investigating the case. The department received assistance from the Federal Trade Commission.

If you believe you are a victim in this case, contact the Fraud Section’s Victim Witness Unit toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or by email at

An indictment is an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

READ ALSO: Watchdog calls body cams an imperfect ‘eye’ into B.C. police interactions

Black Press Media Staff

About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

Read more