pyramid scheme. A property-distribution scheme in which a participant pays for the chance to receive compensation for introducing new persons to the scheme, as well as for when those new persons themselves introduce participants. • Pyramid schemes are illegal in most states. — Also termed endless-chain scheme; chain-referral scheme; multilevel-distribution program; pyramid distribution plan. Cf. PONZI SCHEME. [Cases: Consumer Protection 12. C.J.S. Credit Reporting Agencies; Consumer Protection §§ 56–58.]