A Guilford woman who attended a meeting for a "gifting club" that eventually was broken up by federal authorities recounts her role in the venture in a blog post on the website "CT Out and About."
Juliana Gribbins said she never paid the $5,000 entry fee to be part of the all-women club that promised a $40,000 payout, because she didn't feel right about it. In her blog post, Gribbins goes into great detail about what happned when she went to her first meeting of the club.
"This is all hush-hush Top Secret with a capital T and a capital S. It’s like Girly Fight Club. The one rule of Girly Fight Club: You don’t talk about Girly Fight Club," Gribbins writes in her blog. "Well, I’m going to talk about Girly Fight Club. I’m going to talk about it if only to never be invited to Girly Fight Club again. These women’s groups are popping up all around me like an infestation of bedbugs. Everyone who tries to rope me into one of these groups is a friend and an all-around good person. I have no doubts about that. However, I can’t help but get a funny feeling when someone says she can turn my 5,000 clams into 40,000 clams without my having to do anything but basically wait around for the big payout. Well, that is until I hear I need to recruit more members to the group. There it is, folks. There’s the catch."
Federal agents eventually arrested some of the club's ring leaders, including two other Guilford women, Donna Bello and Jill Platt, on charges of running a pyramid scheme.
"What if the police come in and put a stop to everything," Gribbins says in her blog. "I did some research to back up my suspicions. Yes, gifting tables are illegal. Yes, you could be punished if you participate and are caught," Gribbins recounts in her blog post. "You might not get caught. You might get your money before the whole thing goes kablooey. But there is a reason no one is allowed to park in the driveway of the house where the gifting ceremony (lowercase g, lowercase c) is being held. The police want to find the house. They want to find it because gifting tables are against the law."
Gribbins also discussed her ordeal in a Hartford Courant article that published over the weekend.
Editor's Note: This article originally stated that Gribbins paid the $5,000 entry fee to join the club, which was incorrect. Patch apologizes for the error.