An indictment was unsealed yesterday charging a U.S. citizen residing in Canada for orchestrating a multimillion-dollar pyramid scheme under the name 8 Figure Dream Lifestyle LLC (8FDL). Guilty pleas by his co-conspirators, who participated in the same scheme, were unsealed today.
According to court documents, Alex Dee, formerly known as Alex Dowlatshahi, 49, of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, allegedly was the co-founder of 8FDL. Brian Kaplan, 52, of Fort Collins, Colorado, and Jerrold Maurer, 58, of North Bellmore, New York, co-founded 8FDL with Dee and participated in the scheme.
From January 2017 through June 2019, Dee allegedly ran 8FDL as a pyramid scheme. Dee and his co-conspirators allegedly recruited participants through emails, robocalls, promotional videos, and webinars. They allegedly told consumers that 8FDL was a legitimate business with real products and lied to prospective members about how much money they could make, how much others who had joined 8FDL had made, and the ongoing costs associated with the business. For example, Dee allegedly wrote and sent mass-marketing emails claiming that typical members with no prior skills or experience could easily earn between $5,000 and $10,000 in 10 to 14 days after joining the program, and that most members were averaging two to three sales in their first 30-45 days. In fact, the vast majority of people who joined 8FDL never made any money.
Dee was arrested at the U.S.-Canada border on Tuesday while trying to enter Washington state from British Columbia. He made his initial appearance on Wednesday before a magistrate judge in the Western District of Washington.
Dee is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and four counts of wire fraud. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each of the charged counts. Kaplan and Maurer were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and both pleaded guilty. They have yet to be sentenced, and each faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Inspector in Charge Eric Shen of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Criminal Investigations Group made the announcement.
USPIS is investigating the case.
Trial Attorneys Brandon Burkart and Andrew Jaco and Assistant Chief William Johnston of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case. The department received assistance from the Federal Trade Commission.
If you believe you are a victim in this case, please contact the Fraud Section’s Victim Witness Unit toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or by email at [email protected]. To learn more about victims’ rights, please visit www.justice.gov/criminal/criminal-vns/victim-rights-derechos-de-las-v-ctimas.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Official news published at https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/three-individuals-charged-running-multimillion-dollar-pyramid-scheme