The Slightly Serious Fraud Office today unveiled plans to create a pyramid scheme incubator division as part of a new, entrepreneurial approach to activities traditionally seen as crimes.
“For too long pyramid schemes have been operated on the wrong side of the law by criminals, putting consumers at unnecessary risk,” said Richard Gregory, head of the newly-launched SSFO Schemes Incubator.
“We are leveraging the SSFO’s reputation and expertise to update this approach to give investors the reassurance they crave of having half-a-chance of striking it rich by putting their money in an inherently unstable investment vehicle.”
Pyramid schemes typically give sizable returns for a small number of early investors at the very top, before collapsing in ruins on everyone else. Proponents say the new department will allow more people a chance to join those who benefit.
“The key is openness. As long as everybody has ticked a box to acknowledge that around 95% of investors in pyramid schemes are set to lose every penny,” says Gary, one of the new breed of entrepreneurs to get an official SSFO certificate.
“Pyramid schemes will go on regardless,” says Clair Fisher, an MP backing the scheme. “It is far better to legalise them and monetise people’s unrealistic aspirations, so giving pyramid businesses a fair chance and bring in Treasury revenue, rather than simply enrich criminals.”
Fisher says the proceeds of the incubator scheme will be invested in schools, hospitals, social services and counselling services, benefiting both winners and losers of the system. ■