Trial To Start For Two Defendants In “Gifting Table” Case

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Two Guilford women accused of participating in a “gifting tables” pyramid scheme are heading to trial.

The federal trial starts Thursday in Hartford for Donna Bello and Jill Platt. They have pleaded not guilty to charges including wire fraud and filing false tax returns.

Platt’s attorney, Jonathan J. Einhorn, has said everything she did was legal and based upon the advice of lawyers. Norman Pattis, Bello’s attorney, denied it was a pyramid scheme.

Prosecutors said the women operated the scheme from 2008 to 2011. New participants paid $5,000 to the person in the “dessert” position at the top, and moved up by recruiting others. Those reaching the top of the pyramid got $40,000.

A third woman charged in the case pleaded guilty in December to a tax charge.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. )

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