PRESS RELEASE
The Blessings Gift Activity Ordered to Cease and Desist
 
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, December 28, 1999 
 
Contact: Patty Labarthe, Enforcement Attorney
  Oklahoma Department of Securities
  405-280-7700
 
 
Oklahoma City/////  Attorney General Drew Edmondson and Irving L. Faught, Administrator of the Oklahoma Department of Securities announced today that a Summary Order to Cease and Desist has been issued by the Administrator of the Department of Securities against "The Blessings Gift Activity", a money exchange program that operates as a pyramid scheme. In addition, a Notice of Hearing on a Recommendation to Issue a Final Order to Cease and Desist and Imposing a Civil Penalty has been issued by the Administrator of the Department of Securities.

Both Attorney General Edmondson and Mr. Faught warn Oklahomans to avoid participation in any type of pyramid scheme offered in Oklahoma. Participants should be aware that these schemes violate both criminal and securities laws. Attorney General Edmondson commented today that "People who are asked to participate in this activity will receive a blessing only if they decline the offer. The program has every appearance of a pyramid scheme which violates Oklahoma law, and I strongly urge Oklahomans to avoid it."

The Blessings Gift Activity solicits participants to pool cash "gifts" of $2,000 to join and to advance through various levels of the program through the recruitment of other members who likewise make $2,000 "gifts." Participants are led to believe they will ultimately receive a $16,000 "tax free" payoff as more and more people are recruited into the program. Participants are provided with a telephone script to use in the solicitation of new people. During the script, participants initiate a three-way telephone call with specified "leaders" who will share positive "gifting" experiences to entice new prospects. With these types of programs, more and more people must be recruited in order to keep feeding those people at the upper levels. Inevitably these pyramids collapse when efforts to recruit new members fail, leaving a large number of unfortunate participants.

It is alleged that The Blessings Gift Activity misrepresented that the program is legal and that the "gift" was not taxable by the IRS. The IRS takes the view that such payments may, depending on the facts, be taxable.
-30-
 
 
This press release, and related information, is available on the Securities Commission's web site at securities.ok.gov, by phone at (405) 280-7700, or in writing at:  Oklahoma Securities Commission, 204 North Robinson, Suite 400, Oklahoma City, OK 73102.