According to the Smithsonian, “Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul is a scheme made famous by Charles Ponzi.”
Many of these computer-savvy crooks have taken their cue from an Italian immigrant named Charles Ponzi, a dapper, five-foot-two-inch rogue who in 1920 raked in an estimated $15 million in eight months by persuading tens of thousands of Bostonians that he had unlocked the secret to easy wealth. Ponzi’s meteoric success at swindling was so remarkable that his name became attached to the method he employed, which was nothing more than the age-old game of borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. The rules are simple: money taken from today’s investors is used to pay off debts to yesterday’s investors. Typically, these investors are lured by promises of exorbitant profits—50, even 100 percent. Often, they are coached to recruit more investors to enrich themselves further. The problem is that there is no actual investment going on; the only activity is the shuffling of money from new investors to old ones. Everything is fine until the scheme runs out of new investors and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.”
The Charlotte Observer provides a breakdown of 5 Ponzi Schemes. Click here
For more about NC Ponzi Schemes, read the following story from the Charlotte Observer
Investigations surge as times spur questions from investors about where money is going.
Following the headline-grabbing Madoff case and stock market meltdown, authorities say they’re investigating a growing number of investment-fraud cases and finding common threads. The scammers usually live large, spending millions on sports cars, sprawling homes and lavish lifestyles. They target members of the same community, church or ethnic group.
The schemes thrive on investors’ greed, promising rates of return of 18-20 percent or higher. More recently, they’ve capitalized on fear, too, luring investors who wanted out of the volatile stock market. Many investors are retired or nearing retirement.
There have been at least four high-dollar investment-fraud cases in the Charlotte area in the past year – and authorities warn there might be more to come.
To read more about the unraveling of the Ponzi Schemes , click here.