The Federal Trade Commission has filed a federal lawsuit in Little Rock along with the state of Arkansas over a pyramid sales scheme that targeted African-Americans struggling during the pandemic.

The FTC said the Texas operators of Blessings in No Time (BINT) promised high returns for investments from a minimum of $1,400 to as high as $62,700 though most participants lost money.

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The scheme allegedly bilked tens of millions from thousands of people. The release said:

The complaint names as defendants the operators of BINT, Texas-based BINT Operations LLC, and its two co-founders, LaShonda Moore and her husband Marlon Moore.

The Moores began promoting BINT as early June 2020, according to the complaint. Like most blessing looms, BINT allegedly has coordinated payments (called “blessings”) between members using playing boards with different levels. The complaint alleges that, in one version of the defendants’ scheme, BINT’s playing board had four levels with 15 spots. Members on the second level were tasked with recruiting new participants to join their playing board on the first level. Once a board had been filled with new recruits and those recruits had paid the individual at the center of the playing board, the individual in the middle of the original board would be removed. The board would then be split into two new boards, and all remaining members would move up one level toward the center of the board, where they would then receive payments from new recruits. The complaint alleges that this process would repeat indefinitely

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