State Statutes

West Virginia



§47-15-1. Definitions.


(a) "Pyramid promotional scheme" shall mean the organization of any chain letter club, pyramid club, or other group organized or brought together under any plan or device whereby fees or dues or anything of material value to be paid or given by members thereof are to be paid or given to any other member thereof, which plan or device includes any provision for the increase in such membership through a chain process of any members securing other new members and thereby advancing themselves in the group to a position where such members in turn receive fees, dues or things of material value from other members.


(b) "Promote" or "promotion" shall mean the initiation, preparation, operation, advertisement, or the recruitment of any person or persons in the furtherance of any pyramid promotional scheme as defined in subsection (a) of this section.


§47-15-2. Unlawful act.


No person shall promote any pyramid promotional scheme, either personally or through an agent or agents.


§47-15-3. Contracts void and unenforceable.


All contracts and agreements entered into after the effective date of this article wherein the whole or any part of the consideration of such contract or agreement is given in exchange for the right to participate in any pyramid promotional scheme are hereby declared to be against public policy and are hereby declared to be void and unenforceable.


§47-15-4. Restraining prohibited acts.


The prosecuting attorney of any county or the attorney general, or any person, may petition the circuit court to enjoin the continued operation of any pyramid promotional scheme as defined in this article. The procedure in any such suit shall be the same as the procedure in other suits for equitable relief, except that no bond shall be required upon the granting of either a temporary or permanent injunction therein, when such proceedings are initiated by a prosecuting attorney of any county or the attorney general.


§47-15-5. Criminal penalties.


Any person who shall violate the provisions of this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than three hundred nor more than one thousand dollars, or confined in jail for a period not to exceed six months, or both.


§47-15-6. Severability.


If any provision of this article is declared unconstitutional or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the constitutionality of the remainder of the article and the applicability thereof to other persons and circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

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