TEXAS - A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Texas returned an indictment yesterday charging a Texas couple for operating an illegal pyramid scheme that defrauded thousands of participants of more than $10 million.
According to court documents, LaShonda Moore, 35, and Marlon Moore, 37, co-founded and ran an illegal pyramid scheme called Blessings in No Time (BINT). BINT was allegedly a chain-referral pyramid scheme that targeted the African American community during the COVID-19 pandemic with false and misleading promises that participants could expect 800% guaranteed returns and guaranteed refunds if participants were unsatisfied with the program.
The Moores allegedly organized BINT’s payment scheme with “playing boards” that had eight Fire positions, four Wind positions, two Earth positions, and one Water position. As alleged, players in the Fire position advanced on the board by paying at least $1400 to the person in the Water position and recruiting two new Fire-level participants, at which point the cycle would repeat. In other words, eight new participants had to be recruited into the scheme for a single earlier participant to receive a return on their initial investment. The Moores allegedly placed themselves and their family members in the Water position on multiple playing boards to receive the payments from participants in the Fire position and collected a substantial sum from participants’ monthly user fees, which were required for participation in BINT.
The Moores are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. If convicted, they each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count and 10 years in prison for each money laundering count.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs for the Eastern District of Texas, Inspector in Charge Eric Shen of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Criminal Investigations Group, Acting Special Agent in Charge Christina Foley of the U.S. Secret Service Dallas Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Christopher J. Altemus Jr. of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Dallas Field Office made the announcement.
USPIS, U.S. Secret Service, and IRS-CI are investigating the case.
Trial Attorney Theodore M. Kneller and Assistant Chief William Johnston of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Kummerfeld for the Eastern District of Texas are prosecuting the case. The department received assistance from the Federal Trade Commission and the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
If you believe you are a victim in this case, please contact the Fraud Section’s Victim Witness Unit toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or by email at email@example.com. To learn more about victims’ rights, please visit www.justice.gov/criminal/criminal-vns/victim-rights-derechos-de-las-v-ctimas.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.