Alleged Pyramid Scheme Crumbles in Rocky Mount
Posted June 16, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
ROCKY MOUNT — An alleged pyramid scheme inRocky Mountis crumbling under police pressure.
In just five weeks, investigators say one family was able to attract hundreds of people and their money.
According to authorities, people paid for the privilege of joining the club, then got their friends to pay them. The more people who joined, the more a person made.
Police say most of the Nu Millennium Social Club's business happened in a rental space twice a week.
"This is simply a pure cash scheme in terms of setting this up. The people that participate in it were promised money. They were not selling a product or even under the guise of selling a product," said Chief William Hogan of theRocky Mount Police Department.
A New Jersey man allegedly brought the club to town just five weeks ago, first renting a room in a night club then moving for more space. They had just moved again to a ballroom in a nearby hotel.
Rocky Mount Police say as many as 400 people could be involved though only five have been arrested so far.
The alleged scheme worked on two tiers. Those in the lower ranks paid a little less than $300 to get in, while those in the upper echelons paid up to $6,000.
Police say everyone involved broke the law, and they are not sure how many will be charged. But, participants have probably seen the last of their cash.
"Those that have invested money can seek legal advice and possibly look at that, but I'd venture to say that there is a lot of money that has been lost," said Hogan.
Investigators say more than $200,000 was paid in. So far, only $14,000 has been found.
None of the five suspects spent time in jail. The alleged ringleader paid his own bail and was released.