TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - An investigation by the Florida Attorney General's office that had already led to eight convictions produced a $1.6 million judgment Wednesday.
The Economic Crimes Division of the Attorney General's office began investigating Professional Resource Systems, International in 1999 after a complaint and says it soon found an elaborate, fraudulent pyramid scheme based in southern Florida.
"It is essential that businesses understand we will not tolerate business practices that defraud the citizens of our state," Attorney General Bill McCollum said.
A court-appointed receiver determined that approximately 45,000 consumers nationwide paid $290 for memberships, leading to the $1.6 million restitution judgment.
Those funds will be controlled by the receiver, who will attempt to notify as many of the consumers as possible and disburse restitution to those who file claims.
McCollum said that through his office's investigation, federal officials became aware of the pyramid scheme.
The federal investigative and prosecutorial efforts resulted in eight criminal convictions who were involved in the scheme. In Jan. 2000, the company's Boca Raton headquarters was raided by law enforcement officials who received a tip there were guns and ammunition inside.