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28 Nov 2021

Pyramid scheme investigation: Two Donegal properties searched

Officers from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission carry out unannounced searches

Pyramid scheme

It is illegal to establish, operate, promote or knowingly take part in a pyramid promotional scheme

Searches of two properties in Donegal were carried out by officers from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) this week as part of an investigation into an alleged pyramid promotional scheme.

The unannounced searches took place on Tuesday, November 2, and were supported by local members of An Garda Síochána as well as the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau.

The CCPC are investigating an alleged pyramid promotional scheme by a multi-level marketing company in the health and wellness sector.

Pyramid promotional schemes are marketing and investment frauds in which an individual is offered an opportunity to market a particular product. However, the profit is gained not by the sale of a product but by the recruitment of others into the scheme. 

Under Section 65 of the Consumer Protection Act 2007, it is illegal to establish, operate, promote or knowingly take part in a pyramid promotional scheme. If convicted, an operator, promoter or participant in a pyramid scheme could be liable to a fine of up to €150,000 or up to five years’ imprisonment or both. 

The CCPC has the power, under its legislation, to carry out unannounced searches of business premises and private homes on foot of a search warrant issued by the District Court. The aim of a search is to uncover evidence relating to an investigation being carried out by the CCPC. 

“On Tuesday, 2 November 2021, two properties were searched under warrant by officers from the CCPC and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), who were separately verifying compliance with the requirements of food law,” a CCPC statement confirmed.

“The CCPC and FSAI were supported by local members of An Garda Síochána as well as the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau. 

“As this is an ongoing investigation no further information is available at this time.”

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