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As used in the Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act [this article]:
A. "compensation" includes a payment based on a sale or distribution made to a person who either is a participant in a pyramid promotional scheme or has the right to become a participant upon payment;
B. "consideration" means the payment of cash or the purchase of goods, services or intangible property but does not include:
(1) the purchase of goods or services furnished at cost to be used in making sales and not for resale; or
(2) time and effort spent in pursuit of sales or recruiting activities; and
C. "pyramid promotional scheme" means any plan or operation by which a participant gives consideration for the opportunity to receive compensation which is derived primarily from any person's introduction of other persons into participation in the plan or operation rather than from the sale of goods, services or intangible property by the participant or other persons introduced into the plan or operation.
57-13-3. Prohibition; defenses excluded.
A. A person shall not establish, operate, advertise or promote a pyramid promotional scheme.
B. A limitation as to the number of persons who may participate or the presence of additional conditions affecting eligibility for the opportunity to receive compensation under the plan or operation does not change the identity of the scheme as a pyramid promotional scheme nor is it a defense under this article that a participant, on giving consideration, obtains any goods, services or intangible property in addition to the right to receive compensation.
57-13-4. Restraint of prohibited acts; restitution; penalties.
A. Whenever the attorney general has reasonable belief that any person is using, has used or is about to use any method, act or practice which is declared by the Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act [this article] to be unlawful and that proceedings would be in the public interest, he may bring an action in the name of the state against that person to restrain, by temporary or permanent injunction, the use of such method, act or practice. The action may be brought in the district court of the county in which the person resides or has his principal place of business or in the district court in the county in which the person is using, has used or is about to use the practice which has been alleged to be unlawful under the Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act. The attorney general acting on behalf of the state shall not be required to post bond when seeking a temporary or permanent injunction.
B. In any action brought under Subsection A of this section, the court may, upon petition of the attorney general, require that the person engaged in the unlawful practice make restitution to all persons of money, property or other things received from them in any transaction related to the unlawful practice; and it is further provided that if the court finds that a person is willfully using or has willfully used a method, act or practice declared unlawful by the Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act, the attorney general, upon petition to the court, may recover on behalf of the state a civil penalty not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per violation.
A. In lieu of beginning or continuing an action pursuant to the Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act [this article], the attorney general may accept a written assurance of discontinuance of any practice in violation of that act from the person who has engaged in the unlawful practice. The attorney general may require an agreement by the person engaged in the unlawful practice that by a date set by the attorney general and stated in the assurance, he will make restitution to all persons of money, property or other things received from them in any transaction related to the unlawful practice. All settlements are a matter of public record.
B. A person need not accept restitution pursuant to an assurance. His acceptance of restitution bars recovery of any damages in any action by him or on his behalf against the same defendant on account of the same unlawful practice.
C. A violation of an assurance entered into pursuant to this section is a violation of the Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act.
57-13-6. Private remedies.
A. A person likely to be damaged by any method, act or practice which is declared by the Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act [this article] to be unlawful may be granted an injunction against it under the principles of equity and on terms that the court considers reasonable. Proof of monetary damage, loss of profits or intent to deceive or take unfair advantage of any person is not required.
B. Costs shall be allowed to the prevailing party unless the court otherwise directs. The court may award attorneys' fees to the prevailing party if:
(1) the party complaining of an unlawful practice has brought an action which he knew to be groundless; or
(2) the party charged with an unlawful practice has willfully engaged in the practice knowing it to be unlawful.
C. The relief provided in this section is in addition to remedies otherwise available against the same conduct under the common law or other statutes of this state.
Any person violating the Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act [this article] shall be deemed guilty of a fourth degree felony and shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment pursuant to the provisions of Subsections A through C of Section 31-18-15 NMSA 1978 or fined not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both.
57-13-8. Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act restitution fund.
A. All civil penalties collected under Section 57-13-4 NMSA 1978 shall be deposited in the state treasury in a fund to be designated as the "Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act restitution fund", which fund is hereby established and which shall be administered by the attorney general. All expenditures from this fund shall be paid upon petition to the attorney general to those persons adequately establishing injury in money, property or other things in a transaction related to a practice declared unlawful under the Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act [this article] and who were unknown to the court at the time judgment was rendered.
B. Excepting any amount then being considered as an expenditure pursuant to a petition under Subsection A of this section, the balance of a civil penalty collected shall be transferred to the state general fund eighteen months after collection.
57-13-9. Civil investigative demand.
A. Whenever the attorney general has reason to believe that any person may be in possession, custody or control of an original or copy of any book, record, report, memorandum, paper, communication, tabulation, map, chart, photograph, mechanical transcription or other tangible document or recording which he believes to be relevant to the subject matter of an investigation of a probable violation of the Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act [this article], he may, prior to the institution of a civil proceeding, execute in writing and cause to be served upon the person a civil investigative demand requiring the person to produce documentary material and permit the inspection and copying of the material. The demand of the attorney general shall not be a matter of public record and shall not be published by him except by order of the court.
B. Each demand shall:
(1) state the general subject matter of the investigation;
(2) describe the classes of documentary material to be produced with reasonable certainty;
(3) prescribe the return date within which the documentary material is to be produced, which in no case shall be less than ten days after the date of service; and
(4) identify the members of the attorney general's staff to whom such documentary material is to be made available for inspection and copying.
C. No demand shall:
(1) contain any requirement which would be unreasonable or improper if contained in a subpoena duces tecum issued by a court of this state;
(2) require the disclosure of any documentary material which would be privileged or which for any other reason would not be required by a subpoena duces tecum issued by a court of this state; or
(3) require the removal of any documentary material from the custody of the person upon whom the demand is served, except in accordance with the provisions of Subsection E of this section.
D. Service of the demand may be made by:
(1) delivering a duly executed copy thereof to the person to be served or, if the person is not a natural person, to the statutory agent for the person or to any officer of the person to be served; or
(2) delivering a duly executed copy thereof to the principal place of business in this state of the person to be served; or
(3) mailing by registered or certified mail a duly executed copy of the demand addressed to the person to be served at his principal place of business in this state or, if the person has no place of business in this state, to his principal office or place of business.
E. Documentary material demanded pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be produced for inspection and copying during normal business hours at the principal office or place of business of the person served or may be inspected and copied at such other times and places as may be agreed upon by the person served and the attorney general.
F. No documentary material produced pursuant to a demand, or copies thereof, shall, unless otherwise ordered by the district court in the county in which the person resides or has his principal place of business or the person is about to perform or is performing the practice which is alleged to be unlawful under the Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act, for good cause shown, be produced for inspection or copying by anyone other than an authorized employee of the attorney general, nor shall the contents be disclosed to anyone other than an authorized employee of the attorney general or in court in an action relating to a violation of that act.
G. At any time before the return date of the demand, a petition to set aside the demand, modify the demand or extend the return date of the demand may be filed in the district court in the county in which the person resides or has his principal place of business or is about to perform or is performing the practice which is alleged to be unlawful under the Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act, and the court upon a showing of good cause may set aside the demand, modify it or extend the return date of the demand.
H. After service of the investigative demand upon him, if any person neglects or refuses to comply with the demand, the attorney general may invoke the aid of the court in the enforcement of the demand. In appropriate cases, the court shall issue its order requiring the person to appear and produce the documentary material required in the demand and may, upon failure of the person to comply with the order, punish the person for contempt.
I. This section shall not be applicable to criminal prosecutions.
The attorney general is empowered to issue and file as required by law all regulations necessary to implement and enforce any provision of the Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act [this article]. A violation of these regulations shall be unlawful.
The Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act [this article] neither enlarges nor diminishes the rights of parties in private litigation.
In order to promote the uniform administration of the Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act [this article] in New Mexico, the attorney general is to be responsible for its enforcement, but he may in appropriate cases delegate this authority to the district attorneys of the state, and, when this is done, the district attorneys shall have every power conferred upon the attorney general by that act.
57-13-14. Advertising media excluded.
The Pyramid Promotional Schemes Act [this article] does not apply to publishers, broadcasters, printers or other persons engaged in the dissemination of information or reproduction of printed or pictorial matters who publish, broadcast or reproduce material without actual knowledge of its being in violation of that act.
Other Pages of Interest
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