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"Gifting" Circle ends in arrest for Coaldale man

May 6, 2019

A Coaldale man is facing charges in an alleged pyramid type of scheme that extended into BC and Saskatchewan and generated a two million dollar loss.

Police say the Gifting Circle scam promised a return of $40,000 in exchange of a so-called gift for $5,000. The donor must then recruit more people to give money, but investigators say the end-result is lost money when new recruits cannot be found. Witnesses say there are currently more than 500 members and 80 gifting circles.  LPS says that the perpetrators often target people who they know.

 “They might not know. They are obviously told that this is for helping other people.  They may not know that this is a crime.  They are told that this is something that’s beneficial for all of them, and each family that is affected could experience some financial hardship.  So, I know that some people scrounge together life savings so they can put in for this opportunity,”says Yoan Bernatchez with the LPS EconomicCrimes Unit

 Steele Cameron Tolman will appear in court tomorrow on charges of fraud over 5thousand dollars and possession of the proceeds of crime.