Cagey Consumer

Pyramid selling scheme spells trouble for senior prosecutors

Originally published in The Advertiser on July 18, 1998
TWO senior police prosecutors have been charged with running an illegal pyramid selling scheme.

They are Sergeant Kym Charles Richardson, of Happy Valley, and Sergeant Stephen Leslie Bradfield, of Tennyson.

Richardson, a Youth Court prosecutor, is charged with six counts of promoting the Concorde pyramid game.

Bradfield, a prosecutor based at Port Adelaide, has been charged with three similar counts.

Richardson also manages at least three high-profile South Australian sportsmen, but there is no allegation they are involved in the scheme.

Last year, he appeared on the top-rating Channel 7 game show Wheel of Fortune in a special "Celebrities versus Real Cops" challenge.

Richardson and Bradfield are alleged to have run the scheme between December 1, 1996, and April 30 this year, at Tennyson, Fulham and Beaumont.

They were charged jointly by the State Commissioner for Consumer Affairs, Mr Hamish Gilmore, under the Fair Trading Act.

The Concorde scheme, based around an aircraft's crew and passengers, involves four tiers of players, comprising a pilot, two co-pilots, four crew and eight passengers. Players invest money to become a passenger, then recruit others whose money pushes them up the pyramid. When players eventually reach the level of "pilot", they receive about five or six times their original investment and leave the game. They can rejoin as a passenger. [duplicate paragraph removed]

The Deputy Police Commissioner, Mr Neil McKenzie, emphasised yesterday the charges "are not related to police duties".

"However, any police disciplinary matters will be addressed after the charges have been dealt with by the court," he said.

The charges follow an investigation by the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs and the police internal investigation branch.

If they are convicted of a criminal offence, Richardson and Bradfield could be dismissed from the force.

Pyramid selling is an offence under both State and federal legislation.

The two officers are listed to appear in the Port Adelaide Magistrates Court on August 20.

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