Ex-Edison HS teacher accused of targeting co-workers in pyramid scheme settles lawsuit with state
Jennifer Gutierrez-Antuna agrees to no longer promote pyramid schemes, engage in false business practices
SAN ANTONIO – A former Edison High School teacher sued by the Texas Attorney General’s Office last year after several complaints accused her of organizing a pyramid scheme that targeted her co-workers has settled the case, according to Bexar County District Clerk’s Office records.
As part of the Dec. 9 settlement agreement, Jennifer Gutierrez-Antuna will not have to admit wrongdoing but is now permanently banned from promoting pyramid schemes and engaging in false or misleading business practices.
A judgment against Gutierrez-Antuna for $55,400 has been suspended for 10 years, meaning she will not have to pay the fine unless she violates the agreement during that period of time.
Gutierrez-Antuna, a special education teacher at the time, was sued by the attorney general’s office in May 2018, weeks after a Defenders investigation revealed that she had been named in multiple complaints as the organizer of a blessing loom, a gifting game that is described as a version of a pyramid scheme.
People pay, or gift, a set amount of money to enter the loom’s outside row.
When the loom fills up, the person in the center gets the money and the loom splits, moving everyone up a level and closer to the middle.
Three alleged victims, who spoke with the KSAT 12 Defenders last year on the condition that they remain anonymous, said that they paid $1,400 to enter Gutierrez-Antuna’s game in late 2016.
The victims, one of whom worked with Gutierrez-Antuna at the time, said they were told their “gift” would turn into between $5,400 and $11,200.
“It was going good. Teachers were getting paid. Then, all of a sudden, it stopped,” said one victim.
She estimated that around 20 Edison staff members — including teachers, counselors and custodians — took part in the game.
“She took all my savings, the little that I had to retire, and now I’m broke,” said the woman, who claimed last year that she was now living on a $400 monthly state pension check.
A man who identified himself as Gutierrez-Antuna’s husband said via telephone last year that his wife first joined the game at a restaurant event and was nothing more than a participant in it.
State records, however, painted Gutierrez-Antuna as the scheme’s ringleader.
Softball coach Aimee Silva, a second Edison High School employee characterized in state records as one of the blessing loom’s organizers, resigned in December 2017, a San Antonio Independent School District spokeswoman confirmed.
It appears Silva was never sued by the state over the complaints against her.
Gutierrez-Antuna resigned in May 2018, the SAISD spokeswoman confirmed.
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