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PYRAMID SCHEME NEWS:
September 6, 2001
1. FEDERAL COURT DISMISSES "A WOMAN'S PROJECT" ORGANIZERS' SUIT AGAINST MAINE PROSECUTORS
2. AG FILES SUIT AGAINST TWO "NASCAR" ORGANIZERS
SEPTEMBER 6, 2001
CONTACT: James Mckenna And Linda Conti, Assistant Attorneys General
FEDERAL COURT DISMISSES "A WOMAN'S PROJECT" ORGANIZERS' SUIT AGAINST MAINE PROSECUTORS
Attorney General Steven Rowe and the State's eight district attorneys announced today that a federal judge has ruled that the prosecutors' public warnings against participating in "A Women's Project" do not violate the pyramid organizers' rights under the First Amendment or the Civil Rights Act. The judge wrote, "[T]he plaintiffs have not alleged that the prosecutors were doing anything more than advising them and the public that in their view A Woman's Project violates [the law barring pyramid schemes]."
Michael Povich, District Attorney for Hancock and Washington Counties, said, "We felt that we should warn people and prevent harm before it happened."
James McKenna, the Assistant Attorney General who handled the state's defense, said, "The Supreme Court established long ago that prosecutors could use the press to warn the public and potential law violators about an apparently illegal scheme."
With the federal suit dismissed, the Attorney General plans to pursue a civil unfair trade practices case against A Woman's Project participants in state court.
AG FILES SUIT AGAINST TWO "NASCAR" ORGANIZERS
The Attorney General also announced that his office has filed suits in Kennebec County Superior Court against two organizers of the NASCAR Men's Club that operated in Maine earlier this year.
Assistant Attorney General Linda Conti, who is handling the cases for the State, said, "We are in the first lap of NASCAR prosecutions. There are more to come."
The suits against John L. Neddeau of Baileyville and Theodore McLeod, Jr. of Hermon allege that the two men engaged in deceptive conduct and participated in an illegal pyramid scheme. The court has not yet scheduled either matter.
Attorney General Rowe stated, "Our unfortunate experience with the pyramids reminds us of an important lesson: if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. In the case of pyramid schemes, they are also illegal. We need to use common sense."