Lottery charges against two Maple Ridge women dropped

New information leads Crown to stay proceedings

Two Maple Ridge women charged in 2017 with illegally conducting a lottery or game of chance had their charges stayed in Port Coquitlam provincial court.

Chrystal Lee Lyons, born in 1973, had been facing four such charges, while Esther Ayshia Vandenbrink, born in 1962, had been charged with one count.

According to B.C. prosecution service spokesperson Dan McLaughlin, the decision to stay the charges in May was made after further information was received by the Crown prosecutor.

Read more: Maple Ridge women face charges linked to ‘cloud gifting’ pyramid theme

“After reviewing this information, and the rest of the file materials, the prosecutor concluded the charge-approval standard could no longer be met. In these circumstances, a stay of proceedings is the appropriate course of action,” McLaughlin said Thursday.

The standard requires that there be a substantial likelihood of conviction.

The charges were connected to a “cloud gifting” scheme, according to a Coquitlam RCMP press release in July 2018.

Police said then that typically, new members must pay a gift fee of between $1,000 and $5,000, to join the group, after being invited by friends and acquaintances.

New members are then required to recruit more people until they reach the top of the pyramid and share in a $40,000 birthday gift payoff, police said.

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