The Craziest Pyramid Schemes In Recent History

Where there are naive people, there are dishonest con artists preying on their vulnerability. Pyramid scheme organizations are very much aware of this, which is why there are so many out there. Most people don’t do their research and are too quick to take things at face value. Sadly, it could be years before these shady organizations are exposed and taken down for good, which is why you need to be on high alert. There are so many to choose from but this article will highlight five of the craziest pyramid schemes in recent history.

1. Business in Motion – Selling Vacation Club Packages

Most people can see the glaring red flags when it comes to these tricks, but it seems that this wasn’t the case for the 2,000 people who fell for the Business in Motion scheme. The founder, Alex Klippax, showed up in Canada offering a pretty silly deal: make $100,000 a year by selling cheap vacation club packages, but only if you buy into the club for $3,200. Then you’d receive a $5,000 commission on every vacation package sold. Investigators quickly noted that it was impossible to pay out commissions that were higher than the actual cost of the product being sold. Guess he didn’t think this through.

2. Elite Activity – A Pyramid Scheme Inspired by God

God was blamed for the Elite Activity scheme where members were tasked with gifting money to the organization. In return, they’d receive a sizable profit for their hard work of bringing in new recruits. Havery Dockstader Jr. called it the “cycle of abundance,” which funnily enough only seemed to benefit him. Once his cover was blown, Dockstader once again brought up the religious factor as a sort of defense. The Texas federal judge remained unfazed and hit him with two years of jail time.

3. Wealth Pools International – DVD Sales

Wealth Pools International claimed to be a worldwide marketer of English and Spanish language DVDs. As with every other pyramid scheme, they robbed their recruiters blind with the promise of making a sizable commission in exchange for investing in the company and selling their products. An estimated 70,000 from over 64 countries were bamboozled by this scam. It was even discovered that the majority of Wealth Pools’ profits came from the recruiters purchasing the DVDs to sell. The recruiters spent at least $132 million in total.

4. Vemma – Energy and Weight Loss Drinks

With Vemma, their tactic was to offer higher payouts for bringing in recruits than they were paying out for commissions for the sale of their products. So the recruiters would start off by purchasing a $600 starter kit then pay hundreds of dollars every month for access to the latest products. This was a total ripoff considering the fact that Vemma’s recruiters only earned an estimated $6,000 or less per year. The Federal Trade Commission quickly put an end to the entire charade.

5. BurnLounge, Inc. – Selling Songs

Like many other streaming sites, BurnLounge required members to buy a subscription for the opportunity to sell their music. Thirty thousand people joined up. The catch was that they also had to recruit new members, just like any good old-fashioned pyramid scheme. But it didn’t stop there. In the event that the digital storefront owners did sell their music, they would only get paid in points which could be used to purchase only BurnLounge products. And if they wanted actual cash? Then they’d have to pay a fee to get their money back.

 

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