Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 18.2. Crimes and Offenses Generally
Chapter 6. Crimes Involving Fraud

§ 18.2-239. Pyramid promotional schemes; misdemeanor; definitions; contracts void.

Every person who contrives, prepares, sets up, operates, advertises or promotes any pyramid promotional scheme shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. For the purposes of this section:

(1) "Compensation" means the transfer of money or anything of value.

"Compensation" does not mean payment based on sales of goods or services to persons who are not participants in the scheme and who are not purchasing in order to participate in the scheme;

(2) "Consideration" means the payment of cash or the purchase of goods, services, or intangible property;

(3) "Promotes" means inducing one or more other persons to become a participant; and

(4) "Pyramid promotional scheme" means any plan or operation by which a person gives consideration for the opportunity to receive compensation a majority of which is derived from the introduction of other persons into the plan or operation rather than from the sale or consumption of goods, services, or intangible property by a participant or other persons introduced into the plan or operation.

All contracts and agreements, now existing or hereafter formed, whereof the whole or any part of the consideration is given for the right to participate in pyramid promotional scheme programs, are against public policy, void and unenforceable.

Any violation of the provisions of this section shall constitute a prohibited practice under the provisions of § 59.1-200 and shall be subject to any and all of the enforcement provisions of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act (§ 59.1-196 et seq.).

Code 1950, §§ 59.1-67.1, 59.1-67.2; 1970, c. 450; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 2008, cc. 791, 842.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.