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Missouri Attorney General Sues "Original Dinner Party" Pyramid Scheme Perpetrators

Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon has filed suit against two St. Louis County women. According to Nixon, Barbara Bright (a/k/a Barbara Ann Horlick) and Cindy G. Mechura have given presentations to recruit people into the "Original Dinner Party," a gifting-type pyramid scheme.

Complaints about this scheme have been reported in various locations throughout Missouri.

The Dinner Party scheme is very similar to the "Airplane Game," which has made the rounds several times since the early 1980s. Participants "donate" an amount of money, $5,000 in this case, to "enter" at the "salad level." Then they must recruit others, who enter at the "salad level" and push their "sponsor" up a level. When the person reaches the "dessert level," he pockets the cash that's been "contributed" to the game. The scheme is also commonly known as the "Women's Empowerment Network (WEN)," "Dinner Party," "Dinner Club," or "Breakfast Club." Early entrants will usually make money, but many will have lost their "investment" when the authorities inevitably shut it down and the pyramid collapses.

To confer an air of legitimacy, scheme perpetrators will often claim that the "club" has been "approved" by the Federal Trade Commission, or the state's Attorney General. These claims are always false, as neither the FTC nor any state government will "endorse" a particular money-making scheme.

Nixon has requested the St. Louis County Court to issue an order finding the plaintiffs guilty, and is also asking that any assets they have received through the scheme be used to pay restitution, penalties, and costs.

Statement from Missouri Attorney General
More on The Dinner Party

Last updated 7/25/07

This page last updated on 7/25/07