Mike Fitzgerald has a “rags to riches” story to tell.
In September 1997, he lost his job and was being chased by debt collectors. In 1998, he received a letter telling how he could make $70,000 at a time with a new business plan. He claims he turned $218 into $78,180 in the first 60 days. He is now worth $1,100,000, has a Mercedes and is building a $700,000 dream home.
He is now sending out letters spruiking this marvellous business plan. A five-cent piece is attached to the letters – just to grab your attention.
Forget about being chased by debt collectors. If you are a Western Australian and participate in this scheme, you will be chased by Consumer Protection, required to sign undertakings (or face prosecution) not to participate in the scheme and made to refund any money you have made.
You could face fines of "up to $220,000 for an individual or $1,100,000 if you operate a company".
The Mike Fitzgerald letter is a pyramid selling scheme and illegal in Western Australia.
This letter has circulated under various names including David Rhodes, Paul Richmond, Pat Griffin, Edward L Green, David Stein and Paul Collins.
These chain letters are pyramid schemes because you make money by recruiting other people rather than by selling a product.
The scheme does not work but claims it will if you send $10 to the first person on a list of five people. You then delete that name and move all the other names up the list, adding your name last. You then get the names and addresses of 200 people from a telephone directory and send them a copy of the letter with a five-cent piece attached.
What the letter doesn’t reveal is that few people are willing to participate. Most of the time, you’ll never make money and will lose any money you paid to participate. Is it any wonder that this letter keeps changing names?
Consumer Protection has issued more than 2000 formal warnings to Western Australians who have participated in the David Rhodes chain letter. Don’t become a victim and you are warned about promoting the scheme.