Prior to becoming the infamous namesake of the Ponzi Scheme, Charles Ponzi (wiki) committed a fraudulent act that would be a precursor for things to come.
He walked into the offices of a warehouse company and found no one there. Sitting on a desk was a checkbook. So, he wrote himself a check in the amount of $423.58, which was a tidy sum in 1907. Not surprisingly, the company soon learned of his “self-help” financial plan.
Soon, Ponzi pled guilty after readily admitting that he had done it. He was sentenced to three years at St. Vincent-de-Paul Federal Penitentiary.
This bleak prison was located near Montreal, Canada. A long way from his mother in Italy. Rather than inform his mother of conviction and imprisonment, he wrote a letter to tell her that he had found a job as a “special assistant” to a prison warden. This explained why the letter was postmarked from the Penitentiary. His way of keeping up appearances.
His entire life became one scheme after another while taking advantage of people and their greed. Even after committing the scheme that later became the basis for all other “rob Peter to pay Paul” schemes, he had no remorse over his investors losing roughly $20 million dollars in 1920, which is the equivalent of over $225 million today.
In fact he was proud that he had stolen all that money by saying in his last known interview before dying, “Even if they never got anything for it, it was cheap at that price. Without malice aforethought I had given them the best show that was ever staged in their territory since the landing of the Pilgrims! It was easily worth fifteen million bucks to watch me put the thing over“.
The Ponzi Scheme!
And for pic o’ day, some more excuse-making!