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Women In "Gifting Table" Club Stand Trial; Defense Says Feds Overzealous

Gifting Table

The federal fraud trial of two women charged with operating a "gifting table" pyramid scheme began Thursday with the defense attempting to show the government was overzealous in the prosecution of individuals who could not have been expected to know federal tax laws.

Investigators say Donna Bello, 56, and Jill Platt, 65, both of Guilford, ran an operation that targeted women along the shoreline from 2008 to 2011. Their attorneys have said the women believed the club, a "sisterhood" as it was called in club literature, was legal and that they had consulted attorneys and accountants.

The women are charged with committing wire fraud and filing false tax...