Beware the modern twist to a very old scheme
Most of us are at least vaguely aware of the rapidly deteriorating, swiftly changing and very challenging economic environment our companies and, indeed, entire economies now face.
Gone are the decidedly ebullient proclamations of only last year when top dogs of the financial world spoke of this being the "best economic environment EVER".
How quickly things have changed.
Given the new environment where money is very hard to come by, it is not surprising to see advertisements right here on PPRuNe targeting supposedly high nett worth individuals to become involved in get rich quick schemes requiring little or no effort.
Don't be surprised to see more such Ponzi schemes in the days, weeks and years ahead, perhaps even here on PPRuNe. I think the saying for today's New World may be "caveat emptor". Thanks to a friend who emailed the following:
In August of 1919, 37-year old Charles P. Bianchi of Boston received a piece of mail that included a "postal reply coupon." He had never seen one before, though at the time such coupons were widely used to simplify the pre-payment of return postage for mail sent abroad. Recipients would trade the coupons for postage stamps, according to an established currency exchange rate.
Upon a closer examination of this system of transactions, Bianchi discovered that post-World War I currency devaluations had created disparities against the established exchange rate. He realized he could game the system for a legal profit -- arbitrage it, if you will. He began telling people about his discovery. And, without revealing too many details, Bianchi also said that the more money he had the more he could make.
Word spread. Bianchi began promising 50% returns in 45 days or double in 90. Within six months some 10,000 people had trusted $9.5 million to him. He soon bought a mansion (with air-conditioning and a heated swimming pool) in Boston's finest neighborhood. This, I should remind you, was 1919. He was careful to pay back as promised the relative few investors who wanted their money when the 45 or 90 days was up. But he convinced the vast majority to roll their claims back into his enterprise.
The con unraveled over a few brief days in August 1920. Bianchi, also known as Charles Ponzi, was charged with 86 counts of fraud. Best estimates say that a third of the funds were returned. Ponzi finished his prison term in 1934.
Be careful out there.............