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pyramid scheme

Definitions of pyramid scheme
  1. noun
    a fraudulent scheme in which people are recruited to make payments to the person who recruited them while expecting to receive payments from the persons they recruit; when the number of new recruits fails to sustain the hierarchical payment structure the scheme collapses with most of the participants losing the money they put in
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    type of:
    scheme, strategy
    an elaborate and systematic plan of action
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