On the heels of several indictments and guilty pleadings worldwide, World Games Inc. (WGI) is once again the target of law enforcement.
WGI offers different lottery and gaming products to its members on the Internet. Like a pyramid scheme, members join with the intention of registering as many new members as possible, in order to derive credit from those new members. In keeping with a pyramid scheme, the vast percentage of rewards go to the members highest up in the scheme.
Pyramid schemes are illegal enterprises in most jurisdictions around the world. The wide reach of the Internet has enabled schemes like WGI to perpetuate to the reaches of the globe, and the scale of harm is enormous.
Pyramid schemes target the weak and the vulnerable with psychological manipulation. A growing proportion of victims are in Third World countries where poverty, desperation, or naive hope are in abundance while experience with fraud is minimal.
Deceptive practices employed by pyramid schemes take money from millions of unwitting people and enrich a small group of promoters and perpetrators. In turn, the enterprise is defended as "legitimate business," helping to build the economy, employ people, and provide economic opportunity.
The latest legal action against WGI was in Finland days ago. The district court of Lahti indicted several WGI members, because WGI's operations violate the Finnish Lotteries Act. The indicted persons have arranged presentations of WGI's games in various locations and have tried to recruit new members.
Canadian WGI started operations in Finland in 2002.
World Games Inc. CEO, Greg Kennedy announced that trading on SMG (Stock Market Game) would be suspended as of midnight on January 16, 2005. SMG is a global market simulation that is endorsed by the National Council on Economic Education. WGI stock is currently trading at 0.04.
Kennedy informed attendees of a recent WGI meeting that he will be assuming a less visible role in operations of the company. Kennedy and his advisors decided to take this step due to the negative publicity generated by recent indictments and guilty pleadings.
WGI will undergo a business review, with an evaluation period of approximately six to twelve months. During that time, management and WGI advisers will appraise all options available to the business.
Thanks to Cluso for contributions to this story