Madigan, other AGs, sue Kentucky company for pyramid scheme

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and other attorneys general took action against a Kentucky-based company operating an alleged global pyramid scheme.

Investigators seized and secured Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing’s assets in Danville, Ky., Monday morning, according to a statement from the Illinois Attorney General’s office. The case will be heard in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

Authorities claim consumers paid a $249 fee to join Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing, and then were allowed to sell consumer goods and services — including satellite television services, home security systems and beauty products, the attorney general’s office said.

Promotional and recruitment materials claimed participants could “get rich,” but after paying the fee to join, members were given substantial payments for recruiting new members and only “pennies in commission” for sales, the attorney general’s office said.

Authorities believe more than 100,000 people have signed up for the program throughout the world, and the company could have made “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Madigan filed a lawsuit against Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing Jan. 24 with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general from Kentucky and North Carolina, according to the Illinois AG’s office. A temporary order was issued requiring the company to cease operations and a court-appointed receiver took control of the company’s assets and will conduct a review of its finances and business model.

“The perpetrators of this pyramid scheme promised big returns but instead delivered significant losses for thousands of families in Illinois and all across the country,” Madigan said in the statement. “In collaborating with our state and federal partners, we’re seeking to bring the full force of the law against this entity to ensure that it is put out of business for good.”