Wednesday, June 24, 2009

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!

Charles Ponzi (March 3, 1882 – January 18, 1949) was one of the greatest swindlers in American history. Nearly 90 years after Charles Ponzi was deported to Italy from New York, the schemes named after him live on.

News scandal: Carlos Hill, head of failed alternative investment scheme Cash Plus Ltd in Jamaica was slapped with fraud related charges, Olint's David Smith arrested and charged with fraud in the Turks and Caicos Islands. California Attorney General Jerry Brown - says three men have been accused of running a Ponzi scheme that earned more than $200 million. The promoter of a Chicago sports talk Web site is among the latest to be accused of running a Ponzi scheme. See what the SEC alleges David J. Hernandez did.

What's a Ponzi scheme? A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors rather than from any actual profit earned. A con artist will pay early investors’ returns from the investments of later investors -- until the money run out. What was the original Ponzi scheme?

Ponzi's downfall: The Post started a series of articles that asked hard questions about the operation of Ponzi's money machine. The Post contacted Clarence Barron, the financial analyst who published the Barron's financial paper, to examine Ponzi's scheme. Barron observed that though Ponzi was offering fantastic returns on investments, Ponzi himself was not investing with his own company. But the role a conscientious publicist played in uncovering the scam wasn't widely known until recently. He wrote his memoirs. What was his role?

Ponzi schemes includes:
NYC man Bryant Rodriguez arrested for running a Ponzi Scheme at his own Church , costing parishioners about $1 million combined. Gerald Payne, head of Greater Ministries International, was among church leaders found guilty of defrauding thousands of their flock of nearly $500 million. Find out what they promised.

Retirees: Michael Eugene Kelly is among those accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of bilking retirees and others through a fraudulent timeshare program in Mexico. Find out how much they are accused of stealing.

Anyone: Those pale in comparison to the $65 billion fraud allegedly perpetrated by Bernie Madoff, who is set to be sentenced June 29. See what his victims say.

Every day, consumers receive offers that just sound too good to be true. In the past, these offers came through the mail or by telephone. Now con artists and swindlers have found a new avenue to pitch their frauds. Internet scams know no national borders or boundaries; they respect no investigative jurisdictions. Their one objective is to separate you from your money!
Fraud is a crime in which you decide whether or not you want to participate. Con artists are very persuasive, using all types of excuses, explanations, and offers to lead you away from your money. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!

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