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Warning about suspected pyramid scheme

Issued 19 July 2002-03 / 013

Commerce Commission issues warning about suspected pyramid scheme: Infinity Concierge NZ Limited

The Commerce Commission warns members of the public to be very careful before joining what it considers is likely to be a pyramid scheme run by New Zealand registered company, Infinity Concierge NZ Limited.

“The Commission has serious concerns about the legality of this scheme, and we strongly advise people who are considering becoming members of this company not to be pressured into joining and to seek independent legal advice before making any financial commitment,” warns Deborah Battell, Director of the Commission’s Fair Trading branch.

The Commission executed a search warrant at Infinity Concierge’s meeting in Christchurch last night following allegations from the public and the Direct Selling Association that the organisers may be promoting a pyramid scheme. The Commission seized documents as part of its investigation into Infinity Concierge.

Individual membership to Infinity Concierge costs $3,500 plus GST and the Commission believes that, in the short time it has been operating, it may have more than 100 members.

Infinity Concierge has staff and members in both Auckland and Christchurch. The Commission has received information indicating the company is expanding its operations to other regions within New Zealand.

The Infinity Concierge scheme is also under investigation by the Department of Trade and Industry in the United Kingdom, where it is known as Igennex. Some members have been told that it has been approved by the British authorities. This is not the case.

In a similar operation, the Commission executed search warrants on Auckland based Net Guard (New Zealand) Limited last month for what was also believed to be a pyramid scheme. More than 30 people contacted the Commission with concerns about the activities of Net Guard, and the company has since closed down as a result of the Commission’s investigation. The Commission believes it showed the hallmarks of a pyramid scheme.

Two of the people who set up the Net Guard scheme in New Zealand, Malcolm Stockdale and Stuart Baldwin, were associated with Alpha Club, an alleged pyramid scheme the Commission is currently taking civil action against. The Commission’s investigation into Net Guard is continuing.

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