Updated: Tuesday, 18 Dec 2012, 8:37 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 18 Dec 2012, 8:34 PM EST
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut woman accused of participating in a "gifting tables" pyramid scheme has pleaded guilty to a tax charge.
The U.S. Attorney's office said 67-year-old Bettejane Hopkins of Essex pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Hartford to one count of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.
She could face up to five years in prison, a fine up to $250,000 and an order to repay alleged victims. Judge Alvin Thompson set a March 22 sentencing.
Hopkins has been free on bail since her arrest in May. Two other women also were charged.
Prosecutors said Hopkins and others operated the scheme from 2008 to 2011. New participants paid $5,000 to the person in the "dessert" position at the top, and moved up by recruiting others. Those reaching the top of the pyramid got $40,000.