Friday, December 19, 2008

So Who The Heck Was Ponzi?

The term "Ponzi scheme" is being thrown around with great abandon these days with the unmasking of Bernard Madoff, who is only the latest practitioner of that gambit. But who the heck was Ponzi?
He was Charles Ponzi, an Italian immigrant who in pursuit of the American Dream arbitraged international reply coupons for postage stamps, using the money of later investors to pay earlier investors and build his own personal wealth.

Madoff's scheme, of course, was considerable more sophisticated but like Ponzi relied on investor naïveté.

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