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In case any of you are tempted:  This sort of activity (chain letters and
pyramid schemes) have always been found to violate state and federal
securities laws in the United States and all fifty states.  As a former
prosecutor and the founder of a software company that detects fraud in large
data sets I can tell you that such activity does attract the attention of law
enforcement officials.  This is particularly true in the Northeastern US
(Donald Stern, the United States Attorney in Boston prosecutes such matters
vigorously).  The section of the United States Code that is quoted (18 USC)
is only the crimial code provision and not particularly relevant to this
case.  These are securities violations and the relevant code is found in that
section and in the similar sections in all fifty state statutes.

Fraud on the internet is a current "hot button" in the US Justice Department.

Just a word to the wise.