The National Directory of Certified Public Accountants

Ask A CPA - Ponzi Scheme Losses

What Is A Ponzi Scheme ?

The scheme is named after Charles Ponzi who became notorious for using the technique in 1920. In March 2009, Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies and admitted to turning his wealth management business into a massive Ponzi scheme that defrauded thousands of investors of billions of dollars. A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to its investors from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors, instead of from profit earned by the individual or organization that is running the operation. The scheme usually entices new investors by offering higher returns than other investments, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. Perpetuation of the high returns requires an ever-increasing flow of money from new investors to keep the scheme going

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