Pyramid scheme - Springfield type (published fragment). "Circle of Gold."  Ante $50. US, 1978.

[From A. Marks:]

A friend of yours who believes in the freedom to give and receive unlimited quantities of love wishes to share this belief with you in the tangible form of financial abundance.

You can make $100,000 without any risk and enter into an energy game which stimulates thought and promotes joy if you will invest $100 in yourself for one day. We have never heard of a better way to insure the success of an early retirement . . . Be realistic. Expect this miracle!

[Letter avoids being mailed, and hence claims legality in following text:]

". . . The person handing you this memorandum . . . knows that this concept falls within all current laws and has approval of legal counsel."

[Five to one participants are women, according to at least one authority.]


[From W. Flanagan:]

. . . within approximately 12 days you will begin to receive your money. Your name simply has to move up 12 lines. One line a day. Each day that your name moves up one line, the number of letters that are produced doubles.

Marlene Adler Marks, "Chain of Fools," New West, Nov. 20, 1978. Gives beginning and later text of two page "Circle of Gold" letter. First appeared in Marin county in July.

Flanagan, William, "The Circle of Gold, Mr. Ponzi, and the Tooth Fairy." Esquire. vol. 91, Jan. 2, 1979, p. 101. Gives later text as indicated.

Action: (1) participant buys the letter for $50 (presumably from any previous buyer, but in practice from organizers of parties), (2) letter contains a list of 12 names and addresses, buyer sends $50 to name at top, (3) buyer removes the top name, moves others up, and adds his to bottom, (4) buyer makes two copies and attempts to sell these for $50 each, recouping the $100 investment, (5) presumably after a chain of 11 such transactions buyers name reaches the top of the list and he starts receiving $50 payments. Maximum possible gain is $50 x 2^12 = $204,800.


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NOTE:  All money chain letters and pyramid schemes are illegal, even when they avoid the mails. I would like to obtain a complete copy of this pyramid plan, and any others, for presentation in this archive. I want only inactive plans, and they will contain a notice that they are illegal.
Thanks, D. W. VanArsdale  email