pyramid scheme


Definition of pyramid scheme

: a usually illegal operation in which participants pay to join and profit mainly from payments made by subsequent participants

Examples of pyramid scheme in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Prosecutors and defense lawyers gave closing arguments in a Brooklyn federal court this week following a trial that has given a disturbing inside look inside Raniere's group, which has been called a cult and a pyramid scheme. CBS News, ""Sex, power and control": Jury to deliberate fate of alleged NXIVM sex cult leader Keith Raniere," 18 June 2019 Why is Miss Dunst’s Krystal Stubbs — a water park employee who cons her way through the upper ranks of a cult-like pyramid scheme in 1992 Orlando — behaving badly? Joey Nolfi,, "Kirsten Dunst gets buck-wild in exclusive On Becoming a God in Central Florida teaser," 21 June 2019 Federal prosecutors in Manhattan unsealed charges against the leaders of cryptocurrency company OneCoin Ltd., accusing them of operating a world-wide pyramid scheme and defrauding investors of billions of dollars. Patrick Thomas, WSJ, "Prosecutors Accuse OneCoin Leader, Founder of Operating ‘Pyramid Scheme’," 8 Mar. 2019 Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued LuLaRoe clothing last week, accusing the company of pyramid scheme in which thousands of Washington residents have lost money selling clothes. Kate Thayer, The Seattle Times, "Move over, jewelry and leggings. Selling CBD oil is the new side hustle for moms," 29 Jan. 2019 That's right — gift chains actually break the U.S. Postal Inspection Service's gambling and pyramid scheme laws. Zoe Miller, Good Housekeeping, "The "Secret Sister Gift Exchange" on Facebook Is a Scam," 13 Nov. 2018 Even without a buy-in price, that’s quite literally a pyramid scheme. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "This new would-be currency isn’t crypto — but is it for real?," 8 Nov. 2018 In one attack on Ms. Constand’s character, the defense contended that she had once been involved in a pyramid scheme designed to solicit money from others. Graham Bowley And Jon Hurdle, New York Times, "In Bill Cosby’s Case, Who’s the Con Artist? Both Sides Close by Pointing Fingers," 24 Apr. 2018 Tens of millions of people are ensnared in these pyramid schemes that use cult-like techniques to brainwash their targets and bilk them out of their money. The Economist, "A multi-level scourgePyramid schemes cause huge social harm in China," 3 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pyramid scheme.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pyramid scheme

1949, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

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The first known use of pyramid scheme was in 1949

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More Definitions for pyramid scheme

pyramid scheme


English Language Learners Definition of pyramid scheme

: a dishonest and usually illegal business in which many people are persuaded to invest their money and the money of later investors is used to pay the people who invested first

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pyramid scheme

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