Pyramid Promotional Schemes

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What is a Pyramid Promotional Scheme in Virginia?

Virginia law criminalizes Pyramid Promotional Schemes (Pyramid Schemes) in Va. Code § 18.2-239:

Every person who contrives, prepares, sets up, operates, advertises or promotes any pyramid promotional scheme shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. For the purposes of this section:

(1) “Compensation” means the transfer of money or anything of value.

“Compensation” does not mean payment based on sales of goods or services to persons who are not participants in the scheme and who are not purchasing in order to participate in the scheme;

(2) “Consideration” means the payment of cash or the purchase of goods, services, or intangible property;

(3) “Promotes” means inducing one or more other persons to become a participant; and

(4) “Pyramid promotional scheme” means any plan or operation by which a person gives consideration for the opportunity to receive compensation a majority of which is derived from the introduction of other persons into the plan or operation rather than from the sale or consumption of goods, services, or intangible property by a participant or other persons introduced into the plan or operation.

All contracts and agreements, now existing or hereafter formed, whereof the whole or any part of the consideration is given for the right to participate in pyramid promotional scheme programs, are against public policy, void and unenforceable.

Any violation of the provisions of this section shall constitute a prohibited practice under the provisions of § 59.1-200 and shall be subject to any and all of the enforcement provisions of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act (§ 59.1-196 et seq.).

Va. Code § 18.2-239

Consult with a Virginia White Collar Defense Attorney

Pyramid Promotional Schemes in Virignia are subject to a complicated law. Each case requires an in-depth look into the facts of by an experienced attorney who can best advise you on your rights and options. Contact us today for a consultation.