Charles Ponzi: The Greatest Scam Artist In History - Investment

Monday, March 13, 2017

Charles Ponzi, born Carlo Ponzi (March 3, 1882 – January 18, 1949), was an Italian swindler and con artist in the U.S. and Canada. His aliases include Charles Ponci, Carlo, and Charles P. Bianchi.Born and raised in Italy, he became known in the early 1920s as a swindler in North America for his money-making scheme. He promised clients a 50% profit within 45 days, or 100% profit within 90 days, by buying discounted postal reply coupons in other countries and redeeming them at face value in the United States as a form of arbitrage. In reality, Ponzi was paying early investors using the investments of later investors. While this swindle predated Ponzi by several years, it became so identified with him that it now bears his name. His scheme ran for over a year before it collapsed, costing his "investors" $20 million($220million in todays money).

Ponzi may have been inspired by the scheme of William F. Miller, a Brooklyn bookkeeper who in 1899 used the same scheme to take in $1 million.In addition, "The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo", Charles Deville Wells, had operated a very similar scheme in France in 1910-11, when—under the alias ″Lucien Rivier″—he had set up a phony bank, to the detriment of his 6,000 victims.

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