(WFRV) – An indictment was returned by a federal grand jury in Wisconsin that charges a man and woman from Illinois with running illegal multimillion-dollar pyramid schemes in at least four different states.

According to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Chicago natives Candice V. Cunningham, 35, and Joseph E. Johnson Jr., 50, allegedly operated a series of pyramid schemes that were advertised to potential participants under various names.

Authorities say those names include Wealth Partners Publishing, Wealth Wise, Zero to Profit, 30 Day Success Formula, Lav Label, Beckett Group, and DTR Group.

The release states that marketing materials for the pyramid schemes allegedly misrepresented that if a participant invested money in one of the schemes, that individual would receive payments from other participants they recruited.

The schemes also are alleged to have falsely promised that if a participant did not receive payments from other participants, the person was guaranteed that their initial investment would be fully refunded.

However, most participants allegedly did not receive any payments from other participants and were denied the return on their initial investment.

Authorities say that Cunningham, Johnson, and others obtained millions of dollars as a result of their alleged scheme.  

Cunningham and Johnson are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and seven counts of mail fraud. If convicted, they each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each count.

The FBI and the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) are investigating the case.

If you believe you are a victim in this case, you are asked to contact the Fraud Section’s Victim Witness Unit at (888) 549-3945 or by email at victimassistance.fraud@usdoj.gov.

Victims can find case updates and additional information here.