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Pyramid Schemes

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 5, 1995 | PHUONG NGUYEN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Two city residents are under investigation for allegedly running a pyramid scheme that has duped at least 30 people out of thousands of dollars, and police said Friday that they hope to obtain arrest warrants next week. Police said the investigation into the scheme began about two weeks ago after they received telephone calls from alleged victims who wanted their money back and from potential participants wanting to know if the transactions were legal.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 27, 1995 | ANDREW D. BLECHMAN
Sheriff's deputies arrested a Thousand Oaks man Tuesday night on suspicion of running a pyramid scheme. Rosario Felix Ruelas, 31, of 807 Sheffield Place is accused of offering people a return of $16,000 for an initial investment of $2,000, police said. The scheme targeted Latinos, and police say they have documented four cases of people who fell victim to Ruelas' alleged pyramid scheme. Authorities, however, suspect there were many other victims.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 6, 1996 | MARGARET RAMIREZ
A woman was sentenced Friday to 90 days in jail or 75 days on a Caltrans work crew after pleading no contest to operating a pyramid scheme throughout the San Fernando Valley, according to the Los Angeles city attorney's office. Silvina Masias Ruiz, 28, becomes the fourth defendant to be sentenced in connection with an investment scam called "Friends Helping Friends." Ruiz was also placed on three years' summary probation and ordered to pay $3,900 in restitution to two victims.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 16, 1995 | JUDY TORRES
Los Angeles police arrested two more Valley residents this week on suspicion of running a pyramid scheme throughout the San Fernando Valley. Filiberta Ledesma, 36, also known as Filiberta Gutierrez, of Mission Hills, and Silvina Masias Ruiz, 28, of North Hills, were arrested at their homes Thursday by Los Angeles vice officers, who investigated the scheme after receiving complaints from Valley residents who attended meetings of the organization Friends Helping Friends, Deputy City Atty.
BUSINESS
January 29, 1992 | CHRIS WOODYARD, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A federal judge Tuesday ordered the largest bus shelter company in Southern California to stop selling investments in what the Securities and Exchange Commission alleges was a $48-million pyramid scheme that duped more than 4,500 investors. U.S. District Judge William Keller granted the request by the SEC, which late Monday filed a lawsuit against Metro Display Advertising Inc. of Tustin alleging fraud and misappropriation by company President Jean Claude LeRoyer and his wife Karen.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 8, 2003 | From Times Wire Reports
One of the leaders of a $12-million pyramid scheme that targeted women was ordered to pay $25,000 in penalties, spend three years on probation and perform more than 500 hours of community service after pleading no contest to organizing the scheme. Cheryl Bean was a leader in the Women Helping Women scheme, which hosted invitation-only "birthday parties" that promised to pay a "birthday girl" $40,000 after her investment of $5,000.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 21, 2001 | KARIMA A. HAYNES, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Los Angeles police on Friday encouraged possible victims of an elaborate pyramid scheme to come forward and speak to investigators if they believe they have been defrauded. Police said they believe there are additional victims of the multilevel scheme that allegedly bilked thousands of mostly working-class Latinos out of at least $2,000 each. Investigators will be available to hear potential victims' claims from noon to 3 p.m. on Monday in the auditorium at Parker Center, said Sgt.
BUSINESS
October 18, 1995 | JAMES S. GRANELLI
A Newport Beach man accused of helping convicted swindler Steven D. Wymer in a $209-million pyramid scheme has settled a lawsuit by promising not to violate securities laws in the future, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday. The SEC had accused securities broker Daniel L. Osborn, 42, of overcharging clients by $319,613 and giving about $200,000 of that money to Wymer. The agency also accused Osborn of overbilling Wymer's company by $47,196 for U.S. securities.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 9, 2002 | From Times Staff Reports
A Palmdale woman pleaded no contest Friday to conspiracy and other felony charges for her role in a pyramid scheme that bilked hundreds of working-class Latinos out of more than $2.5 million, prosecutors said. Alejandra Nunez, 40, was sentenced to 40 months in state prison for her participation in La Luz de Oro, a Panorama City telecommunications company. Members paid $75 to join the company and were required to attend meetings and purchase long-distance telephone cards.
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