Note: I wrote this post at the request of several friends who have left these “Women’s Wisdom Circles aka Women’s Gifting Circles aka Fire Circles, etc…” that have spread like a virus throughout the spiritual & personal development communities internationally. A great exposé of the “circle” culture can be found here.
Perhaps you, like a number of creative and spiritual women, have excitedly joined a women’s gifting “circle” to help you manifest your dreams and move into greater abundance within a loving circle of like-minded sisters.
Much later, you realize that you were engaging in an empowering support network built on top of an unsustainable, predatory pyramid scheme.
This realization may be shocking for you and trigger feelings of betrayal, anger, guilt and shame. It can shake many women to their core.
The further realization that engaging in a pyramid scheme is a felony fraud offense (and is currently being investigated on the West Coast by the FBI) can terrify a lot of women who have been convinced that their gifts were legal and/or assured that the circle was not a pyramid scheme. You are not alone in this!
Once this realization happens, some of you will feel stuck and not know how to extricate yourself with as much grace as possible. The more times a woman has moved through to “dessert”, the more challenging it can be, since she has woven an interdependent network of friends and strangers, some of whom she may have invited in and some of whom she may have sponsored.
How can you step out without destroying all of your relationships?
If a woman has gifted her money, but has not yet received, she may not want to walk away from the circle unless she can get her money back. She may also feel pressured by her circle sisters to stay involved.
NOTE: The gifting statement means NOTHING in the court of law. Women who want to get their money back need not be afraid of the threat “you signed a gifting statement, I have it right here.”
Here are my suggestions for how to step out with integrity, legalize your monetary exchanges and harmonize connection with your sisters in and out of circle, as much as possible. I consulted with an attorney who agreed that this would be the best way to stay safe with regard to the legal ramifications. (Though I cannot guarantee that you would be exempt from prosecution, so please obtain legal advice for yourself.)
1. Love yourself! Everyone gets wake up calls in life and most of us have had experiences of betrayal, feeling deceived, and feeling guilt or shame. You will survive this and it will be much easier if you have compassion for yourself in the process.
2. Seek support. Though the secrecy required by being in circle is hard to break, you need to reach out to others outside of circle who will help you through this rite of passage. Just having someone to listen as you grieve, rage, and share your fears will ease the process. Some of your friends will be able to do this, some may be triggered by your participation in circle. Find the ones that can listen.
3. Feel free to share what you have discovered with other women in the circle, but do not harbor expectation that they too will leave the circle. They may not be open to hearing anything from you once you leave.
4. If you have not yet received, let the circle know you are leaving and want your gift returned. There is no need to walk away without making this request. You do NOT need to honor circle guidelines. Don’t let them shame you into doing so. If the women are truly in integrity, they will return your gift or make arrangements with you to pay the money back. Get a promissory note, preferably notarized, for this situation. You can download promissory notes for free on the internet and any bank will have a notary on hand.
5. If you have been gifted, return as many of the “gifts” as possible. Get written statements/receipts from the women you are reimbursing to have a legal paper trail.
6. If you have spent the money, make written payback agreements with the women who have gifted you, complete with notarized promissory notes. This will also help you to avoid prosecution, should the FBI discover your involvement. If women don’t want to be paid back, then write them a promissory note anyway and if they still want you to keep the money after a year, then tear up the note and report the money as income on your taxes, so as to stay clear with the IRS.
7. If you have sponsored/backed women, you are still legally liable for participating in felony fraud. Get your money back, or sign a payback agreement with the woman who received the money from you. If you received half of the “dessert” takings from the woman you sponsored, then you need to return that money to the women who “gifted” it.
This is not a simple or easy path, but it is the best way to ensure that you can sleep at night with a clear conscience, look your sisters in the eye, AND have no fear of the feds knocking on your door.
There are many alternatives to the current illegal and unsustainable structure of womens gifting “circles.” See the below links for more information.
This is so helpful Sondra, thank you for this. I will be sharing it where it is needed most.
You are welcome, Sarah!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Thank you. This post is sure to help women who are navigating the subtleties and legalities of leaving circle. If it had been around when I was leaving circle, I believe I wouldn’t have felt so alone. The support of other grounded, spiritual, intelligent, prosperous women is invaluable.
May this document provide much-needed guidance to the unknown numbers of women who are ready to leave.
And thank YOU for your much-needed feedback, Maggie!
Thank you for such a wonderful guide! This is going to be so valuable for so many women. There are a few women who have been having a really hard time getting their money back when they try to leave the circle. The reaction to this request is pretty bad. Do you have any suggestions for how they get their money back gracefully?
Thank YOU for the incredibly helpful article and slide show to allow us to educate our friends about the “circles”.
Unfortunately, getting one’s money back seems to be the least graceful part of exiting a “circle.”
What has worked for some women, is simply mentioning speaking to a lawyer.
Another suggestion, especially if the woman who took the money is ignoring emails and phone calls is to hire a process server. Here is a comment from Thomas Wyse:
Hire a process server company to serve her papers. You don’t need any legal anyone yet, she’s simply ignoring you to the best of her ability. There are courier agencies that work specifically in tort casework, serving as a purpose only as a witness to delivery of whatever paperwork you certify they are delivering. Process service usually is used to serve a subpoena in private cases or in public cases where the recipient is clever at avoiding the police – divorces, small claims court, etc. These guys are like private investigators. They walk up in plain clothes, say ‘Hi Mr, Whoever, You are mr whoever right? You are being served.’ They know who they are speaking to as they’ve already assured that they are correct before coming up. It doesn’t matter what the recipient says, they are given the envelope, told what it pertains to briefly, and walk away without the envelope/papers.
Another option is to use certified mail. The problem with that is that if she refuses to sign there is no delivery, just an attempt, and the envelope is returned to you. That is just not quite as effective as sending a couple people out to deliver the letter in a professional business-like manner.
As for what to send her… Send her emotionless factual data only. Set forth what was done and what the appropriate retribution would be:
Dessert Lady – I gave you $5000 under the belief that I would be legally involved in an organization that would provide me an opportunity for receiving an 8fold gift.
The legality of the organization is in question and until it can be verified I am choosing to remove myself.
I demand my $5000 returned in cash or money order within 3 days of receipt of this statement.
If the funds are not returned in cash or money order within 3 days I will contact the authorities and begin a formal investigation into the legality of this organization.
I trust that you will return my money promptly, without any further delay.
Your money will be returned promptly.
I think making a statement that you would like your money back is incredibly graceful as it may enable them to feel these feelings of stuckness, guilt, shame, anger or frustration that they may not be able to feel due to the sectarian positivism that might run in the circle.
This is a horrific letter to receive. First of all, there is no central organization with this work and anyone who has been in it knows that. That is what is tricky about it, there is also already a federal investigation in progress, so it’s really weird to say that the sender is going to open another one. Secondly, there is a threat, which can be interpreted as extortion/blackmail. While requesting the gift back is legal, people who owe money, and are willing to pay but cannot pay all at once or by a certain date, also have rights and are protected. Those rights need to be respected. Imagine if you were not expecting this, had no idea about the controversy with the work, did not have that money and you got that kind of letter? Terrifying and unrealistic. And third, any woman who has participated in the work, talked about it, recruited, etc, is in violation of the law, so the sender is saying she will incriminate herself. All in all this letter is mean to intimidate and avoids facts, which is a terrible initial approach.
From all the desserts I know, including myself, there was no mal-intent with the work, only doing what we signed up for, to find out later it was a total sh*t show.
Why not go to another level of truth with a letter that says something like:
Dear Dessert Lady: I have discovered this work is considered a pyramid scheme by the law and is illegal. In order to rectify and clear my name and your name, the $5000 I gave you must be returned. This may come as a shock, so let’s set up a time to discuss so we can work out the details. I am open to a payment plan. Please visit these links to learn the truth and protect yourself: http://www.saveyourself.com (etc)
Thomas’ suggested letter was only to be used IF the dessert was ignoring emails and phone calls–NOT as an initial approach. His use of the word “organization” may be confusing, I agree.
Your suggested letter is essentially the gist of what I suggested in my blog post. “If the women are truly in integrity, they will return your gift or make arrangements with you to pay the money back. Get a promissory note, preferably notarized, for this situation. You can download promissory notes for free on the internet and any bank will have a notary on hand.”
Demanding money back from an illegal pyramid scheme is not extortion or blackmail. It is the only way to legally withdraw oneself from the scheme.
What a wellmade document !
Thank you !
Love and Gratitude.
Money, and Friends. It is a wise woman who keeps these things separate. Great post. The easiest way is to not join in the first place, sisters!
Hi Sondra, Thank you for your article. I live in a small California town where almost every woman I know has been invited or is participating in the circles.I call them “Women’s Victim Circles.” I will definitely be sending this article to many friends. Regarding the West Coast FBI investigation, what is your source? This makes me really nervous for some ladies that I love dearly.
I’m really sorry to hear this about your town.
My source is a friend who spoke to someone in the FBI. I’m nervous for my friends, too!
Thank you for taking the time to put this together, and to consult a lawyer in your recommended proceedings.
I’ve found a lot of information about gifting “circles,” which was entirely helpful and interesting, but I’ve never seen anything related to interacting with women in the circle itself, let alone with compassion and loving intention. I’m sure it will assist a lot of women in figuring out how to remove themselves from their circle with integrity.
My heart goes out to the many people involved in this scheme which makes the victims the perpetrators, and poisons the very sisterhood many of these women were hoping to create.
Thank you, again, Sondra.
Hi Sondra, I really appreciate your article. It is very down to earth and helpful. It’s causing quite a bit of anxiety to Desserts, maybe shaking people to their core. I hope that is the case. I am disturbed by how many women are clinging to the lies of the circle documents rather than using their own ability to research and discover the realities of law.
I would dare to say that many of those women may be receiving the links of this and all the other wonderful recent blogs from Amber and Nalawalla, etc, from their sisters who have left — and then choosing not to read them. So as to avoid the ‘negativity’. I feel a sadness that reality is being defended against by being called ‘negative’.
I have more to say about the process of leaving and requesting money back from my Dessert. I know that she is broke, as she used up all the money she received in her first dessert cycle to back in other ladies. I also know that I have no desire to be receiving my money back in the way the documents prescribe, which is to receive the money from the next woman stepping into the circle I decided to step out of. Obviously I can’t take that money in good conscience knowing all that I know now. I feel a caring and a compassion for the gal who took my gift, and would be willing to work with her in a fair energetic exchange for that money, or would be happy to take payments.
It’s not even the money, although I really do need that money. It’s more that I feel responsible for taking a stand for Truth, and that in the real world, there are consequences for participating in illegal money making schemes. I am now in the position of asking for the money, and she is in the position of learning the consequences for engaging in a crime.
To just let her off the hook without having an arrangement is actually allowing her to get away with theft. Does that make sense? She is making it very difficult to talk to her and so I appreciate your note about using a Process Server. I’d rather not be forced to take external means of communicating my point of view to her though, and hope she will return my call and allow us to strike up a deal.
Thanks for your comment, Cat.
Yes, greed is an insidious thing…I am seeing women in our community who have gotten involved in the circles, act in ways that are so out of their character and integrity. It’s very sad.
Just so you know ANY participation in a pyramid scheme is illegal. This holds true even if you lose your money. Fortunately, most people who do so will not be prosecuted.
If I can support you in any way, please feel free to contact me.
Hi Sondra! I just thought I’d check in to let you know that I was able to have all money returned that I had ‘invested’ in this thing. I haven’t heard much about them recently and they seem to have dropped out of the news. I wish I could say it was because they have stopped, but I fear they have simply gone underground, and will pop up again when people have forgotten.
Congrats & thank you for letting me know! If you are willing, would you please share (here or in an email) exactly what you did to get your money back? It would be very helpful to a lot of women who contact me for support.
Did Cat ever state exactly what she did to get her money back?
No. And sorry for the late reply. Comment moderation fell behind in our move!
Thank you for this post. I spent months feeling ‘not quite right’ about a circle I was invited to by someone who I really trust. I see her as a wise woman and trusted anything she would invite me to. I was sponsored into the circle so I was backed immediately and told this was the Universe blessing me. You know all that language. All the language of gathering with women and supporting each other was enticing, and I have seen women who have been ‘dessert’ do incredible things with the money like no longer charge for their services and helping others in need. The women in the circle are incredible and I didn’t doubt their integrity- But–as time went on, I started to feel less and less excited and more and more icky like this was a pyramid scheme, and knowing that I can gather with my sisters without money involved, or without ‘needing to invite’ and also support people in the community financially with fundraisers and drives in the organic way I’m already doing rather than a ‘system’. I started getting contacted by more women to join and the invitations started feeling very insincere and predatory. In the end I left circle and my sponsorship with the original woman because I could not support something that people would inevitably lose in, not to mention it just didn’t feel good to my soul to be a part of it. I feel sad that the medicine of sisterhood is being ‘used’ in this way but also aware that it is an opportunity to learn and get clear about our integrity and for that I am grateful. Thanks for your article, I will be passing it on.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I know that for many, the circles start out very sweet–and the bitter truth at the core is only realized later…
This has been really helpful and has helped to solidify my feelings about the ‘gifting’ circles. They seem to be so interested in the brotherhood of men (men’s circles) and when it comes down to it 7 out of 8 people who join will lose their money. Very cleverly called a council or circle, it is a pyramid and as long as new people keep coming in the guys inside get their money, but eventually many many people will be left with a disintegrating group. SO much to learn here:)
Thanks for your comment. I did reply to your email, but it bounced back, so I will try again!
Hi, thank you. This has been so wonderful to have during this time as I try to exit. I’ve given my warning and notice on leaving and demanded my gift back without a response. What are my next steps?
Read the previous comments for more suggestions and if you still need support, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hugs to you!
I am in the same situation as you, and would like to bond with other women trying to get our money returned. I recently opened myself to researching the truth of the illigality and pyramid scam and have been researching, and realize why I felt so icky and blocked about it for the past several months. There are much lies and secrecy lurking under what many are praying for Sisterhood in their lives. After telling my circle I cannot continue, and want my gift back, neither the current woman in dessert nor the woman whom I gave my “gift” to are calling me back–how is this a sisterhood?!
I have been doing research and there are many court cases where the woman who “received” is ordered to give the “gifts” back of those who are asking for it back. I have not brought up litigation yet with these “sisters”, but I am on that path.
Please get in touch if you would like to bond together, and share support.
I have read all of your text and relate to a lot of it. Thank you for taking the time to elaborate on your experience. I had the opposite experience ( I think?)
A very high percentage of women involved do actually make money … There are many factors I believe that contribute to someone being a successful Lotus etc
Personally, I have been through 2 times and all that was promised was delivered and all that I dreamed of came true. I can however see how it can be a bit ‘Schoolyard’ and crazy as we are dealing with strangers for the most part.
Something I also felt from your advise and musings and overall doctrine was that you somehow felt left out? Has this been a consistent theme throughout your life? The “Circle” is not a a BUOY!….
Its a chance…
I’m not sure if I would encourage anyone else to join a ‘Circle’… Not because it does not work, But because their chances to persevere will diminish greatly if you or someone like you would pollute the ether with cloaked venomous low self esteem that makes people feel uneasy, reluctant and passive aggressive
The whole circle thing is a bit Lord of The Flies but oh well … Happy to gift you back in if you want, Thanks, Fiona
Thank you for your comment.
My personal experience: I was invited to join two “circles” but declined. I have never and will never be a participant in this pyramid scheme that is predatory and unsustainable in its structure.
I wrote this blog post on the request of several of my friends who had left “circle” and who shared their experiences with me. All of them had positive experiences and had made plenty of money through “circle”, but had realized that the structure and the culture were harming their sisters both in and out of “circle”.
I believe the “circles” harm women in a number of ways. Mostly by luring them into a scheme that requires secrecy and relies on recruiting other women to manifest the “gifts”.
Part of the lure (and the lie) is convincing women that they will make money from “circle” by learning manifestation skills and staying out of fear with the support of their “sisters”.
The truth is that the ONLY factor that results in a woman making money from circle is whether she is in the first 12% of women who participate in that particular subset of “circle”. Since new variations of “circle” are being started up all the time by women who see what a great moneymaker they are, the first 12% who join that particular “circle” will always make money if they stay in until they reach the top level.
The articles I linked to at the end of my blog post explain the math and the psychology of the “circles”.
Your words speak louder than mine as to the mindset of women in “circles” who choose continue to act and speak in willful ignorance of the harm they are doing to themselves, their communities and the 88% of women who will lose their money.
“Lord of the Flies” and “Schoolyard”, indeed. I have witnessed in my own community the worst sort of behavior by women who have fallen prey to their greed and used the “circle” document language to shame and blame their friends who have sought to bring honesty and openness to the “circles”.
The women who have lost their money are out-of-state, out of sight and easily put out of your mind. I speak to them weekly when they call me for support. They are ever-present in my awareness as I seek to educate our communities about the downstream effects of these “circles”.
Women wake up to the truth of the “circles” every day. I hope that if that day ever comes for you, Fiona, that you will have compassionate and loving support from your true sisters. I will be here for you.
“Happy to gift you back in”, are you in a fantasy world.. you honestly think Fiona would want to be gifted back in?
And your whole approach of venomous low self esteem etc, biy have you swallowed the writings well.
Its unsustainable! Yes you made it through twice quite well and had a great time, got cash and growth.. but… it only works in the short term, and people you introduced in who then introduced others somewhere down the line, all of them will lose.. 80% will lose and always do. You are glossing over that fact. You think thats ok maybe. Its their karma.
You have lost your way simply because you won. You are short- sighted and unethical.
Your logic is terrible. You say you wouldnt encourage anyone else to join, and then you say happy to gift you back in if you want?
Are you a real person? Im confused.
“Love and LIght” Jasmine
Thank you for this very compassionate and well-drafted tool to help those in circle and who have stepped away. I myself this week just left a circle. For over a year now I have listened to weekly calls where women support one another as they seem to share honestly their breakthroughs and gratitude’s, but really what “this is” is a blindfold masking the reality of circle and pyramid schemes, and that is it is illegal according to FBI, the IRS, and local authorities or as I heard one “Sr. Circle Sister” advise in a Dessert in Training call they have for building Desserts “civil disobedience” or “gray area. “I am not surprised at one of the women who replied to your blog in a nasty way, it really is how the women are really, very ugly on the inside and rotten to the core.
I was invited and backed by a woman who advised it was legal, time saving, and simple. She said it would enhance my life and there was a lot of money involved. When I first came to circle she was very nice and pleasant, as I resisted and questioned the documents as well as the “on goings’ of the circle members she attacked me as a person. I joined a second circle shortly after seeing circles split and seemingly women being gifted. Manipulative tactics were used advising it was a “mature” circle, but my intuition hit me so strong I pulled out immediately after listening to the level of “maturity” I encountered. Very spoiled not unwell off complaining about whether their new line of product was going to sell well like the other product she had on QVC. These are not poor women. They are women who say they are Yogi’s, Spiritual Advisors, Life Coaches, well to do Artists, psychics and so on.
When I questioned an article I found about circle I was told that if someone is searching on the Internet about circle then this type of person should not be in circle. lol Everything they said looking back was actually ridiculous. It took a long time for me to extract myself from the first circle for I had a friend that I invited, but only after a few weeks I saw a difference in our friendship.
I left circle for good. I advised I was going to seek “help” if my money was not returned in one week. That second circle I put my money in I demanded my money back right away. I stood my ground. I know what is right and wrong. I was just lured in by the possibility that this was going to be the thing to help me financially, also I was lured in by someone I thought I respected and who was successfully seemingly on the outside of things. I now know I want to be nothing like these women who are successful in circle. These women can live with the fact that others are giving them money but may not ever have that money returned.
Lastly, the women I saw whom were/are successful in circle follow in groups. They actually plot circles to their advantage. One of them will set up a round they will all pass through quickly only to leave the “new” people who have never been in a circle in a circle of their own left to fend and feel bad because circle does not move as it does for the latter I spoke of.
Thanks again for this article. All my money was returned as well as my friends. I never received any money from any other women thank goodness. From all that I learned from this process and how it tears women up inside as well as how vicious other are toward one another, I could not live with the fact knowing I took a dime from another “sucker.”
My only wish is that more people speak out about this online and request more help. But as I can relate, they make you feel like you have low self-esteem, that something is wrong with you, you are the problem.. never circle.. takes the wind from you. I really need time to heal from this.
Thank you again for this article and the amazing advice and comments you have left.
I hope the authorities shut this down very soon.
Thank you, Gutfeeling!
I am so glad you listened to your intuition and got out, as well as getting your money back.
Your honesty and forthrightness are a breath of fresh air!
Recently, more women are asking me about reporting this scheme to the authorities. I think it is only a matter of time before many of the senior sisters will be brought to accountability because women are starting to stand up to their bullying tactics.
Thank you Ms. Sondra,
I just wanted to add one more thing in regards to the level of psychological abuse these women put other women in when things do not seem to add up. During the ‘invitation” process there were a lot of things that I suspected as “red flags” rather than issues I needed to resolve according to Sr. Circle women. As per an invitation training I was told that this process is a “gift” that the women we invite should feel “blessed” that we are even inviting them.
If women say no it means a few things according to “circle culture:” the timing is not right; the women are not right for circle; “you” are not inviting from the highest realm of heart, your heart is not there. When I mentioned that inviting felt like recruiting, they explained that was because I was doing it wrong. The women who said this, and there were more than one, explained that they had positive experiences with inviting, that everything was amazing to them, that circle was amazing, that it was very easy for them. For a moment I really thought something was wrong with me. What was wrong was I was going against my morals and beliefs, I knew deep down everything that they said was not true. When I pulled away from the second circle less than a week after I joined the “Dessert” the one who invited me initially, called me “selfish and self centered” for doing so. Having that secrecy clause and being emotionally abused like that was very painful.
This to me was psychological manipulation and passive aggressiveness at the finest – this is what abusers do to lure in their victims.. sociopath philosophy, call it bullying, call it some of the cruelest forms of mind manipulation. I was also told that the women whom were saying no to me just did not have that same respect as I had when I said “yes” to the women whom invited me to circle. In other words, people do not respect me as much as I respected the women, and that I had to work on myself to clear these blocks. Also, this was a “rite of passage.” I questioned this daily.. I asked myself “why is this so easy for them and so difficult for me?” The answer is only simple, it was wrong is why. The difference between them and I is that I have more integrity. I have compassion and empathy.
The women in circle are also mothers, have families, business women, and people who have come from a bottom one way or the other. I really feel at a loss as to what will happen to the people who lose their money or are in trouble by the authorities.. On the other side, they are also women who are successful financially who can afford the gamble to lose 5k. Or the lawyers that will help bail them out of this mess.
When I pulled out the women who invited me said she was doing me also a favor by not holding me to the 5k she backed me. I’d like to make one note about that. I never saw the 5k she spoke of. I never signed anything advising that this was a gift. For all I know that 5k never existed. She and the other Dessert for all I know had an agreement to split the money if I were to ever finish the circle and split that “fake money,” which in my heart of hearts is what happened. Anyone can start a circle with no money.
I pray that something good comes from this. Thank you again.
Thank you for sharing more about the emotional terrain of the circles. Your experience has (unfortunately) been echoed by the many women I have supported in stepping out of circle.
I appreciate your clarity, integrity and calling a spade a spade!
Wow. I feel line I could have wrote what you did. You must live in Hawaii where this is rampant like a virus. I’ve seen women who I once thought were beautiful look very ugly. New age goddess divine with their new suv and estate in Costa Rica. Traveling the world etc. My own friends and neighbors setting up circles to split every 24 hours pushing themselves through many times others see it and are led in at the last moment when they are saturated. I know some went through and are pretending they didn’t to try and save face. I know one woman who backed in over 20 women and this was when they are just starting here, as well as going through many times in other circles. The new trend here is to just start your own just start in dessert. Scamming is the new spiritual practice here in the land of abundance. These women pretend to be spiritual leaders, are artists. I know one woman who admitted what it was and said she would go as fast as she could as many times as she could. I may have lost in their little popularity contest but I don’t care. I at least have a shred of integrity. Many times I tried to leave circle before I finally did. At the end I felt physically ill and couldn’t sleep. Women I once thought were smart actually tell me I was wrong when I told them it wasn’t sustainable. Just wow.
Thanks for your reply. I am in Santa Monica CA. And actually someone from your community asked me to join their circle at the same time I was in a a circle. Circle has no borders, the women we speak of are not who we thought they were. I had a gut feeling and this basically solidified it.
Although no one admitted, how you described what others admitted is what I imagined. Sick. If you know anyone that has lost money, I strongly urge to report to authorities and also in Hawaii the prosecutor of Kauai put out a warning.
I too felt ill in the end. I removed someone recently from my social media who is bragging about purchasing a home, knowing that this person is receiving income without paying taxes and essentially bragging about it is horrid to me.
more significantly.. buying a home with someone who will probably lose their money.
I find it interesting that in Circle docs they repeatedly state that the legal and U.S. tax system does not understand the law of attraction, etc. and what Circle is doing, and to not involve anyone affiliated with the legal system in the group.
HOWEVER, they say also that involvement in the Circle requires confidentiality, and if this confidentiality is breached by a member, this is in breach of private trust, which is a legal offense.
How can you say this is a secret group that the legal and IRS world cannot understand, but then covertly threaten possibility of a lawsuit on YOU if you are a member of circle and breach confidentiality? How can you say the legal world and its’ humans need to be kept out of these groups, and then USE law/legal terminology to try to enforce the rules of this secret group on it’s members???
So true. Yet another example of the insanity inherent in the structure.
Thanks for your comment!
Those must be new rules. When I was involved there was nothing like that.
It’s just kind of like, who’s gonna sue who here? Do you get sued bc of the illegal pyramid scheme you are participating in, do they get sued for their participation, or do they sue me because I talked about it? How can you sue a person who talks when participating in pyramids is illegal in and of itself? The legal research I could come up with, is that participating in pyramid schemes is illegal (i also verified definition), so even if you call it a gift, women’s circles qualify as pyramid schemes bc “the structure relies on admittance of members in order to sustain itself”. So, they’re participation is illegal, yet they covertly suggest you could be sued and are breaking the law for breaching confidentiality…of people participating in illegal activity? ridiculous logic.
wow gets crazier!
This is a great article. My only complaint is that it is very accusatory to the desserts. As someone who did make it through one round early on, I can tell you, my intentions were pure, I fully believed that what I was doing was an answered prayer, and was helping other women. After all, I had helped the previous 3 desserts, and knew that my success would help the following ones. I also felt clear that there was no expectation of my gift being returned, and that there was no guarantee of anything completing or resulting in 40k. Somehow I completed my circle very easily. With my gifts I paid back loans, backed a woman and entered another circle to support the work. I was actually very done with the whole thing, but wanted to support. But it all blew up and over time could see that it was an unsustainable system and left for every good reason that you wrote. I never knew it was not legal. If I had known, I would have never done it. I found out over time like everyone else.
However, now, a year later, 2 women asked for their gift back in a hateful and threatening manner, as if I just had it sitting around. I do not have this money, I do not know what to do. It’s so scary. I feel like this article implies that the desserts are greedy, but so many of us were just doing what we thought we were supposed to and now are in a terrible situation. What are my options? No amount of scary letters, like the horrific example you gave with the 3 DAY deadline, seem to make money appear in my lap and the stress isn’t helping. I am willing to pay to be legally clear, but I do not have it now, it may take a lot of time to get that money and lord knows what I will have to do to get it. I feel like everyone was ignorant and it is not fair to put all the blame on the dessert. And I resent being made to feel like a thief. For the women I gifted, even though this whole thing is a disaster, I would never ask them for the money back. I was happy , and still am happy, that I supported them.
Hugs! A HUGE shock to you, for sure. If I can support you through this, please feel free to contact me through my contact page.
The women who gifted you and want their money back feel betrayed and angry for being conned by the scheme. It’s not personal! There are many women in Dessert, just like you, who had good intentions and didn’t know what they were involved in.
Unfortunately, there are just as many Desserts out there who knew EXACTLY what they were doing and used Circles to scam other women for money. I have seen their emails and spoke to some of them. There are several living in my small town.
I think if you re-read my post you will find that I am speaking to everyone involved from the same place of compassion. You are certainly not the only one who didn’t know that it was illegal, but MOST women in the dessert position have been given circle documents (whether they read them or not!) that allude to the illegality of the circle structure.
Unfortunately, in the eyes of the law, ignorance of the law does not equal innocence.
If you truly want to release yourself from the scheme, send the women who gifted you a promissory note with a clear (and doable) payment plan attached and a check for whatever you can afford as a sign of good faith.
Whether you ask for your money back from the women you gifted is up to you, but you are still involved legally in the scheme if there is any money that changed hands. To the best of my knowledge, the only women being prosecuted are those who made money from the scheme, NOT the women who lost money.
I found this over a year ago and thought it had helpful information. I checked in this evening, minutes before I get on a call…one that moves me into dessert. Three years in. Countless hours spent on this. Hard earned money (punch in my gut feeling?) Gifted. I want my life back. Feeling so stuck. Helpless. Defeated and a tremendous amount of guilt.
Currently extracting myself, when I got to the part of Promissory Notes I did look it up on the internet to get a template and realize the other problem: circle members are not all in one state, so that probably does not hold if the gifted and person gifting do not live in the same state. Is there another way?
You can use a Promissory Note with anyone, anywhere. It is simply an agreement between two people. State laws may differ as to whether or not they are legally binding, but I would still go ahead and use one as documentation, if you and the other woman can come to agreement.
Generally, if someone is not willing to sing a Promissory Note, they have no intention of paying you back.
My friend just asked me to join a circle. Hers is in New Zealand. The secrecy part had me immediately searching the internet. I have sent her some links to articles so she can see this is happening in several countries and does not make sense. I am prepared that her response may not be positive but at least she can be in awareness if she wishes. Thank you.
The sad part is there are groups of women that pool money and monthly give the pool to one member of the group and the pool continues to each person in the group. There are also women who each donate an amount of money and collectively offer it to a charity. I am so sad that this model exists for have compassion for anyone who has been involved.
please send me an email as you sent amy! same situation, however the “lotus” backed half and a lotus in another circle backed the other.
I am leaving due to legalities and one thing you don’t mention is the drama! I had a circle sister (2) become upset about a political dream post I made on a social media site! wow, what do they care…. said couldn’t believe a circle sister would post that, aren’t we of love and light. I was telling about a dream I had…
These circles are still happening around Australia, in particular around the Byron Bay community and in New Zealand in West Auckland and the Nelson region. Its really sad and disturbing to see so many women still getting involved. Its so unethical and sad to see and as someone who has never joined a circle I find it very hard to trust any women I know who is involved.
Sorry for the delay in replying, Kat!
It’s hard. I stepped away from all my friends who got involved, due to the trust issue.
I have just exited a wisdom circle. This has been a nightmare. I need some help and advice on my rights. I had someone “back” me the full $5000 and of course that money went to the person in dessert. I have not received anything. But a loss of a year and a half of my time and energy.
I started having my awakening around this all just being off a long time ago but felt I had to stay in to pay back the “backer”… How do I handle the backer I have no money to give her?
And I had no idea this was a felony for both of us if Im understanding this right. As I have just now started to do research on this online. And I can’t believe I drank the koolaid and bought all this crap.
I really value and fully agree with this link/write up on all this so Thank You!!! And your timely continued advice is much appreciated. As my backer is awaiting some response from me. Help!!! :((
Sent you an email, Amy!