The gifting table pyramid leaders are facing up to 14 years in prison. Donna Bello, age 57, and Jill Platt, age 65, are scheduled to be sentenced on August 13. Both women were convicted of attempting to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, filing false tax returns, and wire fraud.
The women are accused of heading a pyramid scheme between 2008 and 2011. In addition to the fact that the women made millions in the scam, they failed to report the earnings to the IRS.
As reported by Fox News, Bello and Plat involved hundreds of women in the gifting table pyramid scheme. Members were asked to pay an initiation fee of $5,000. They were then expected to recruit other women into the scheme.
The more women that each member recruited, the further they moved up the pyramid. They made more money with each new member.
By the time the scheme was noticed by the IRS, there were close to 70 women at the top of the pyramid. Bello and Platt remained at the uppermost tier, receiving the largest benefit from the scam.
Within a three-year period, close to $5 million was exchanged within the “sisterhood.” Bello and Platt’s gifting table pyramid was working as planned.
The women insist that their pyramid was legal. Both their attorneys state that the women were not aware that taxes had to be paid on their earnings.
As reported by The Courant, the Federal Government’s memorandum tells a different story. The filing claims that both women regularly instructed members to avoid alerting the IRS by making small bank deposits.
Platt’s attorney argues that she was as much of a victim as the other gifting pyramid members. She has asked for leniency in sentencing as she did not have as much knowledge as Bello.
Bello’s attorney argues that his client is “devastated” and had a “good faith belief” that she was not breaking the law.
The gifting table leaders will return to court on August 13 for sentencing. They each face up to 14 years for their crimes.
[Image via Flickr]