In a significant development, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Texas has handed down an indictment against a Texas couple accused of orchestrating an illegal pyramid scheme that purportedly defrauded thousands of participants, amassing over $10 million.
According to court documents, LaShonda Moore, 35, and Marlon Moore, 37, stand accused of co-founding and managing the alleged pyramid scheme known as Blessings in No Time (BINT). The scheme, as per the indictment, is claimed to have targeted the African American community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were allegedly enticed with deceptive promises of an 800% guaranteed return and assured refunds if dissatisfied with the program.
The Moores are alleged to have structured BINT's payment system using "playing boards" featuring eight Fire positions, four Wind positions, two Earth positions, and one Water position. Participants in the Fire position, it is claimed, would progress by contributing at least $1400 to the Water position and recruiting two new Fire-level participants, triggering a repetitive cycle. Essentially, for an earlier participant to receive a return on their initial investment, eight new participants needed to be recruited.
The indictment suggests that the Moores strategically positioned themselves and their family members in the Water position across multiple playing boards, allowing them to receive payments from participants in the Fire position. Furthermore, the couple is accused of collecting a substantial sum from participants through monthly user fees, mandatory for participation in BINT.
Facing charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering, the Moores could each potentially face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count and 10 years in prison for each money laundering count if convicted.