pyramid scheme

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pyramid scheme

n.
A fraudulent moneymaking scheme in which early participants are paid out of money received from later recruits, with the final recruits putting money in and getting nothing back.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.pyramid scheme - a fraudulent scheme in which people are recruited to make payments to the person who recruited them while expecting to receive payments from the persons they recruit; when the number of new recruits fails to sustain the hierarchical payment structure the scheme collapses with most of the participants losing the money they put in
scheme, strategy - an elaborate and systematic plan of action
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Like the gullible investor in a pyramid selling scheme, she got involved in imagining rich rewards to discover she'd only get her return by fooling others - as well as herself.
She dismisses claims by some in America that the New York stock market-quoted group is no more than a pyramid selling scheme that exploits vulnerable people while making its senior executives very rich.
In truth, Gordon Brown was just about the only person in the country over the age of 50 who believed that the banks' 'pyramid selling scheme' could go on forever.
ANOTHER day another scam...this time a rich guy conned everyone in a pyramid selling scheme.
Girlfriend Nicki (Nicola Reynolds) and baby Sanjeev move in to take care of him, while his mother Sheila (Beatrice Kelley) becomes involved in a dangerous pyramid selling scheme. A shock marriage proposal puts Moz on a collision course with his Christian builders in eight episodes of the award-winning sitcom.
Whether naive or just living in iron-clad denial, protag is desperate enough to sign away $20,000 for a shot at managerial greatness via a pyramid selling scheme for an "embargoed" product called Wellness.
The battle for votes in Birmingham's inner city wards erupted into a bitter election-eve row last night, with Labour demanding the Liberal Democrats sack a candidate because of his alleged involvement in a pyramid selling scheme.
ANGRY Ulster business people are hunting a man who got them involved in a 'republican' pyramid selling scheme - and then vanished owing a massive pounds 1m.
ANEW pyramid selling scheme in the Midlands is persuading hundreds of people to pay pounds 1,600 each - with the promise of making them millionaires in less than a year.