6 Women Agree to Pleas in Pyramid Scheme
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ Five women charged with running a pyramid scheme that targeted women have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges, authorities said Friday.
A sixth woman, Pam Garibaldi, pleaded no contest to a felony charge of operating an endless-chain scheme, said Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully.
The network called Women Helping Women was allegedly a $12 million pyramid scheme in which women were invited to parties in beauty salons and suburban homes and promised the opportunity to help their community and make big money for themselves.
The parties, held between April 2001 to September 2002, featured a ``birthday girl″ who would receive up to $40,000 in cash from the new participants, each of whom donated up to $5,000 to get in and eventually celebrate her own ``birthday.″
Sheriff’s detectives said for many women, the birthday never arrived.
Shannon Coolidge, Melissa Guidera, Alexa Luckman and Blyth Lehman pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor charges of taking part in an endless-chain scheme. Last week, Donna Goles also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.
Under the plea agreement, the six women will serve between 260 and 540 hours of community service in nonprofit programs that help women in need. They will also pay into a restitution fund for victims of the scheme, Scully said.
The women will also be required to testify at the trial of others charged in the case, Scully said. Twelve women have been arrested since the investigation began.