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

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