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Attorney General Mark Vargo

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Eleven More Arrested in Watertown for Role in Pyramid Scheme

Eleven More Arrested in Watertown for Role in Pyramid Scheme

(Pierre) – Attorney General Mark Barnett said today that eleven more Watertown residents have been arrested this week for their role in the pyramid scheme that has been circulating throughout the State. Further arrests are expected in the coming days. Those arrested have been charged with one count of Deceptive Practices. The Codington County Sheriff’s Office is serving the warrants and in most cases, allowing those charged to report directly to their Office.

In addition, cases are still pending against six other Watertown residents who were charged last Fall for their involvement in the pyramid scheme. Two individuals have previously pleaded to the charges.

"Our primary goal is to end these pyramid schemes in South Dakota," Barnett said. "For every person who profited, we are running into many more citizens who are victims of this scheme. It’s time for it to end."

Barnett’s office continues to investigate pyramid schemes throughout South Dakota, including recent reports in Winner. The schemes often are promoted under various names, including ‘Gifting Clubs’ and ‘Fast Track University’. Along with the Attorney General’s office, State’s Attorneys in Brown and Pennington Counties are prosecuting individuals involved in the scheme as well. And in the first case to go to trial, a magistrate judge issued a guilty verdict Thursday in Pennington County.

Consumers with questions or complaints about gifting clubs/pyramid schemes are encouraged to call Barnett’s Division of Consumer Protection at 1-800-300-1986.