Officials are warning people that a chain letter circulating through northern Utah that promises a return of almost $45,000 is nothing more than an illegal pyramid scheme.

Victor Gabrenas, chief investigator with the Weber County attorney's office, said the letter with the title of "Lucky 13, 24 Hour Madness Dash" has been circulating for about three weeks in Weber County. The Davis County attorney's office also has received calls.People have been asked to buy the letter that has a list of 13 names on it for $10. They are then instructed to mail the letter and a $5 money order attached by the previous person in the chain to the person listed at the top of the list, Gabrenas said.

The buyer then is asked to copy the 13 names, taking the first one off and adding their own. They then are asked to make two copies and attach two $5 money orders and stamped envelopes and then sell them for $10 each within 24 hours.

Gabrenas said that scheme violates both the state anti-gambling and anti-pyramid scheme statues. Violation of the pyramid scheme statute is a third-degree felony.

If people mail the forms they could also be found in violation of federal mail fraud laws.

"We would like to get hold of whoever is doing this." He said the IRS probably would too.