In Mississippi, there are various laws that prohibit pyramid and Ponzi schemes. A pyramid scheme is the sale of goods, services, or other property in exchange for an essentially worthless investment which is contingent upon procuring others who must also invest and procure others, thereby perpetuating a chain of people in the scheme.
On top of a specific law that outlaws pyramid schemes, Mississippi also prohibits unfair or deceptive trade practices. A pyramid scheme may also qualify as an unfair or deceptive trade practice which would allow for additional remedies and penalties. This is a quick summary of Mississippi pyramid and Ponzi scheme laws.
Mississippi Pyramid and Ponzi Scheme Laws
This table outlines pyramid and Ponzi scheme laws in Mississippi.
MISS. CODE ANN. § 75-24-5 et seq.
Selling, offering, or attempting to sell participation or a right to participate in a pyramid scheme involving the sale, distribution, or lease of goods, services, or other property.
Engaging in unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive acts or practices which affect commerce.
Selling, offering, or attempting to sell participation or a right to participate in a pyramid scheme is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in prison and up to $500 in fines.
Committing an unfair or deceptive trade practice is a misdemeanor punishable by up to $1,000 in fines for a first offense and up to 1 year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines for a second offense which is committed within 5 years of the last offense. A third offense within 5 years is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
The Attorney General may also obtain a restraining order or injunction to stop a pyramid scheme or unfair trade practice. If the injunction is violated, the Attorney General may seek up to $10,000 in fines for each violation.
The court may also order or award restitution to injured parties including reasonable attorney's fees and revoke state-issued business or professional licenses or certificates.
|Who Enforces these Laws?
||The Attorney General enforces the prohibition of pyramid schemes in Mississippi.
|Where Can Victims Get Help?
If you think you may be a victim of a pyramid or Ponzi scheme, report it to the Attorney General by filing a complaint:
Telephone number: (601) 359-3680
Physical address: 550 High Street, Suite 1200, Jackson, MS 39201
Mailing address: P.O. Box 220, Jackson, MS 39205
Mississippi Pyramid and Ponzi Scheme Laws: Related Resources
Pyramid and Ponzi schemes designed to be complex. The laws which prohibit them can be also be complex and confusing. If you have been accused of participating in a pyramid or Ponzi scheme and need help, you can contact a Mississippi criminal defense attorney. If you would like legal assistance with a consumer fraud matter, you can contact a Mississippi consumer protection attorney.
You can also visit FindLaw’s sections on Fraud and Consumer Protection for more articles and information on this topic.