The Michigan State Police Newaygo Post and Newaygo City Police are reminding residents about an old scam sweeping the area again from Lansing to Jackson to Muskegon to Hesperia to Reed City.
According to police, these groups invite women to give $5,000 cash, with the potential to gain $40,000. One of the names used is Women Integrity Group. Those involved will say it is perfectly legal based on current gifting laws, however, according to D/Sgt. Scott Rios, it is a pyramid scam and against the law. (See MCL445.1528 under Michigan’s Compiled Laws at www.legislature.mi.gov.)
Seven Newaygo County women were recently arrested and arraigned in Newaygo 78th District Court for promoting the pyramid scam: Lori Bruggema, 40, of Newaygo; Madeline Fessenden, 46, of Fremont; Linda Richards, 52, of Hesperia; Lisa Vazquez, 48, of Newaygo; Deanna Michiele, 69, of Newaygo; Darlene Millis, 60, of Fremont; and Marcy Bacheller, 49, of Fremont. They could each face up to a seven-year sentence and $10,000 fine.
The women reportedly did not know each other personally, although they may have known of each other. Police are still searching for others involved in the scam. If you have any information on this scam, please call D/Sgt. Scott Rios at 231-652-1661.