Showing posts from January, 2024


      Nearly all Americans have heard of the infamous Charles Ponzi but they may not know much more than he perpetrated a fraud. Ponzi was born in Italy in 1882, educated in Rome and came to the US as a young man with $2 in his pocket. After taking and being terminated from many menial jobs (often for theft), starting numerous failed business ventures, and serving a period of imprisonment in Montreal for theft, he returned to Boston and concocted his namesake fraud. As with most frauds, his was founded on the premise that greed will induce people to be taken in by a story that, in hindsight, was obviously too good to be true.       He claimed that he could profit from arbitraging the difference in "international reply coupons" - a type of voucher used at that time to purchase postage. He organized a company called Securities Exchange Company and sold interests in it to investors promising 50% returns in just 45 days or 100% in 90 days. He took in an astonishing $15 million (o