MONTREAL -- Two women were charged Thursday in connection with an alleged fraudulent pyramid scheme in Quebec.

The Surete du Quebec (SQ) said Friday that Lioudmila Minina, 56, from Saint-Hyacinthe and Isabelle Turcotte, 43, from Carignan appeared in the St-Hyacinthe court. The two women are facing various fraud charges.

A pyramid scheme fraud involves getting people to invest and recruit people who will in turn recruit others to invest.

The hope in the scheme is for money to filter up to the people at the top of the pyramid.

"Pyramid fraud can take many forms, such as investment pyramid schemes and donation circles," the SQ release reads. "The new investor, in turn, becomes a recruiting agent."

The SQ added that this type of alleged pyramid investment is illegal and that the Consumer Protection Office recommends consulting a legal advisor before making these types of investments.

If convicted, prison sentences can range from up to two years to a maximum of 14 years if the fraud involves dollar figures exceeding $5,000.