Multi-level marketing (“MLM”) companies are similar in structure to pyramid schemes, but with the essential difference that an MLM is considered a legitimate business enterprise and pyramid scheme is a scheme to defraud. Pyramid schemes also have many similarities to Ponzi schemes. Definitions and red flags from government agencies of both MLMs and pyramid schemes will provide a better understanding of the differences. Understanding the difference is paramount to participants and investors. Direct sales to consumers through MLMs is common place in the U.S. and many homes have products sold my MLMs.
This presentation will provide examples of MLMs and pyramid schemes, investigations by regulatory and other government entities, and enforcement actions against MLMs and pyramid schemes and those who run them.