Legal Question in Criminal Law in Minnesota

chain letters

I just got one of those letters instructing me to send $1.00 to 6 people asking them to place me on their mailing list. It instructs me to copy & send out 200 such letters with my name added to the #6 position. It says that it could result in large sums of money being sent to me by people wanting to be placed on my mailing list. It refers me to Title 18:1302 & 1324 (which, when I search, does not exist). 1302 is not specifically clear if this is really illegal or not, since it refers more to lottery, gifts. prizes, etc. Is this type of letter illegal? Thank you

Asked on 3/20/04, 6:00 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

robert nudelman criminal defense associates

Re: chain letters

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck. Sounds an awful lot like an illegal ponzi scheme to me.

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Answered on 3/20/04, 7:36 pm

Thomas C. Gallagher Gallagher Criminal Defense Services

Re: chain letters

I have not been asked by a client to research this question in the past, so I cannot provide a definitive answer. My educated guess is that a police investigator and prosecuting attorney would have little difficulty charging a crime in these circumstances. I would suggest a call to your local police department "white collar crimes and fraud" division; local prosecuting attorney's office; or the Minnesota Attorney General's Consumer Law division. They may have the answer at their fingertips.

As a practical matter, these are a fool's mission, to be avoided. Not only that -- why burn people you know with this kind of garbage?

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Answered on 3/22/04, 11:33 am

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