5:42pm Tuesday 5th November 2013
A FORMER Llanwern Steelworks employee was a senior 'associate' in an illegal pyramid scheme with 10,000 members in Newport alone, a court has heard.
Cardiff Crown Court heard Gerwyn Duggan, 48, of Amelia Way, is charged with engaging in unfair commercial practice, two counts of acquiring criminal property and one count of transferring criminal property.
The court heard Duggan made £75,000 over two years from the Synkronice scheme and its interlinked scheme, Spinglo.
The jury was told Duggan was involved as a senior associate in a scheme involving the sale of ‘executive’ packages, varying in price between £199 for a basic package to £1,500 for a deluxe 'executive model’. The prosecution says the packages were made up of ‘nominal value’ items including coffee, self help cds, and acai berry juice, and the scheme relied on members introducing more members.
They also heard the essence of the business model was kept 'deliberately vague'.
The jury were shown covert footage shot by a member of Newport Council’s trading standards team, which showed Duggan giving a slideshow presentation to potential ‘members’ at Newport Hilton last year. During the presentation Duggan told the audience he had worked at the Newport steelworks for 15 years.
He was arrested in March last year at the hotel shortly before giving another presentation.
Alexander Greenwood, prosecuting, told the court the prosecution does not believe Duggan thought up the pyramid scheme, and do not claim he did not believe in it as a commercial venture, but that he was a senior associate involved in the promotion of the scheme in Newport, the UK and Ireland.
Mr Greenwood said: "The prosecution say sums received by the defendant and transferred between accounts represents criminal property, namely the proceeds of operating an illegal pyramid promotional selling scheme and the defendant knew or suspected that those funds constituted a criminal benefit."
During his initial police interview Duggan said the online social media platform Spinglo had 10,000 users in Newport alone.
The prosecution say the scheme is similar to illegal chain letter schemes.
Duggan's defence say the scheme is not a pyramid scheme but a legal multi-level marketing scheme.
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