CIFS Australia

Cult Information and Family Support Inc.

About CIFS

Can I Help


In The News

Books + Video




Info Search




Quote of the Day:
'Victims gradually lose their ability to make independent decisions and exercise informed consent.'
- Dr Margaret Singer



| 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013- | World |
A Living Workshop:
Consumer Protection issues warning over A Living Workshop 'pyramid scheme'
Kate Campbell
WA News
June 3, 2018


A PYRAMID scheme masquerading as a women's empowerment circle - which demands new members fork out thousands of dollars to join - is believed to have sprung up in the South West, prompting a warning from the State's consumer watchdog.

It's understood the scam, called A Living Workshop, is operating in the South West after Consumer Protection obtained information leaflets from a Margaret River resident who was approached as a potential recruit.
they are not allowed to tell their family or friends


People interested in joining "the sisterhood" - described as "Seeds" - first must pay $5000 to $7000 to another woman in the group, with the top status known as "Lotus". While there's no guarantee of a return, they are assured they will reap an eight-fold windfall at some stage. Other levels in the circle include Sapling (inviting other women to join) and Blossom (mentoring other women).

In documents seen by The Sunday Times, potential members are repeatedly told a key rule of the group is a strict code of silence, in which they are not allowed to tell their family or friends about the circle, speak in public about it or even text or email about it. The guidelines state this is to "shelter us from invasive censure and to support us in creating an emotionally safe container for growth".

"Just as we make offerings in reverence of what we hold sacred in our lives, we each participate in this empowerment experience with a similarly reverent offering of financial energy," the documents state about the reason for the $5000 demand.

Recruiters suggest bold ways to raise the $5000 gift, including taking out a second mortgage, getting a second job, selling a car or boat, borrowing against a life insurance policy, asking parents for an advance on an inheritance, asking friends for loans and applying for a credit card.

Consumer Protection Commissioner David Hillyard said A Living Workshop had all the hallmarks of being a pyramid scheme that preyed on vulnerable women, who were looking for spiritual and financial fulfilment.

"When you strip away the spiritual aspect of the group's manifesto, it is merely a pyramid scheme where only a few at the top will benefit financially and most at the bottom are highly likely to lose their money," he said.

Mr Hillyard urged members to break the veil of secrecy surrounding the scheme and come forward so Consumer Protection could investigate and identify its origins and organisers. He also warned participation in a pyramid scheme was illegal.



Disclaimer:This news page is about groups, organizations or movements, which may have been called "cults" and/or "cult-like" in some way, shape or form. But not all groups called either "cults" or "cult-like" are harmful. Instead, they may be benign and generally defined as simply people intensely devoted to a person, place or thing. Therefore, the discussion or mention of a group, organization or person on this page, is not necessarily meant pejoratively. Readers are encouraged to read widely on a topic before forming an opinion. Never accept information from a single source at face value. This website only holds a small amount of information and should not be relied on as a complete source. For example, if you find older information, this should be weighed up against newer information as circumstances can change.
S i t e   S e a r c h :

1 0 0 0 +   p a g e s






ABC Radio:
5 Apr 2018
16 Oct 2010
14 Oct 2010


CIFS Conference:
Brisbane 2012 *
Canberra 2011
Seminar 2011
Brisbane 2010


Visions of Paradise


Cults: After-Effects




Top of Page
| Home | About CIFS | Can I Help | Contact | In The News | Books + Video | Stories | Articles | Events | Info Search | Links |