Ponzi schemes

Did FTP maybe commit a crime? Yes. Was the crime it committed a Ponzi Scheme under the strict definition of the term? No. Read more »

If you were worried that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and planned to fund your retirement with poker winnings, today turned out to be a bad day for you. While we here at Dealbreaker generally endorse keeping all of your money in poker, keeping all of your money in Full Tilt Poker was not the correct way to do so. Insofar as it now looks like you’ll only get back at best fifteen cents on the dollar. From the US Attorney’s complaint today:
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Full Tilt Poker Doug Lied To You

In fairness, no one straight up asked him “is Full Tilt a global Ponzi scheme,” as opposed to “a legitimate poker company.” Read more »

The Ponz Master apparently emailed Gasparino to tell him as much last night and to let him know that their previously scheduled date? CANCELED. Read more »

Since February, Bernie Madoff has been on a little something called the Legitimate Years Tour. Yes, he may have pleaded guilty to a $50 billion crime that ruined countless people’s lives, not to mention resulted in the suicide of his own child, but why must that be all that is said of him, when it only represents a single entry on the old CV? He’s did a lot of other stuff too, and because everyone seems to have forgotten all that when his name comes up, much like they conveniently forget about how Mussolini made the trains run or time, or how Hitler built those wonderful autobahns, or how Ted Bundy made women feel special, he was forced to embark on the LYT to jog some memories. The first stop was a February an interview with New York, wherein he griped to Steve Fishman:

“Does anybody want to hear that I had a successful business and did all these wonderful things for the industry?” Bernie continued. “And got all these awards? And so did my family? I did all of this during the legitimate years. No. You don’t read any of that.”

Next stop: a chat with New Yorker reporter Jeffrey Toobin, who was reminded that Madoff “was worth a billion dollars before any of this nonsense started,” during which it was also suggested he should be getting credit for his later work (the legitimacy of which is still an open-ended question in his mind), if only for the fact that its complexities could only be understood by the most sophisticated of investors (him). And finally, as sit down with the Times, where Berns explained that he got such a raw deal because the judge, like all of his feeble-brained haters, doesn’t understand how “the industry” works.

And yet for all the work he’s put into educating you people on the History of Bernie’s World, in which the whole Ponzi thing is but a blip, you just still don’t get it. But you know what? That’s fine. Not a problem. Because Harvard does. Read more »


Who is the greatest Ponzi schemer of our generation? If we’re evaluating on the basis of sheer size, Bernie Madoff is the obvious answer. But as many of you know, size can only get you so far in life- it’s what you do with what you’ve got that matters. And Berns really didn’t do anything all that exciting with his ill-gotten gains. He bought a bunch of homes, yes, but his primary residence faced Lexington and from what we can tell, he didn’t buy anything that interesting with his cash. Same goes for most other scams- funds are spent on cars, maybe some jewelry, maybe some prostitutes, maybe some Teddy Bears. Frankly, from an investor stand point, it’s a little insulting- if you’re going to rip people off, at least do something real with the money. Make a name for yourself. Penetrate a community like never before. Follow in the footsteps of Nevin Shapiro.

Nevin, and you can quote us on this, became the frontrunner for greatest Ponzi schemer of our time when, from a jail cell, he chose to fuck the University of Miami football program raw, not unlike the players who he arranged prostitutes for over an 8 year period. How did he claim such a tittle? What steps should budding Ponzi schemers hoping to make a name for themselves be taking notes on? Read more »

The SEC is well aware that everyone thinks its failure to stop Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme was pretty weak. After all, Harry Markopolos told them about it for years and they did nothing. But it turns out there’s a pretty innocent explanation: when Markopolos would call the SEC, they didn’t have a pen handy so they couldn’t write down what he told them. This happened all the time and was generally viewed within the agency as not a big deal.

Tips used to come via phone calls, e-mails, faxes and even handwritten letters into the SEC’s 11 regional offices and Washington headquarters. Before the Madoff case, the SEC’s Los Angeles office might receive a written complaint about a bad broker, for instance, and stuff the letter into a filing cabinet if it was deemed without merit. So, if later on a complaint about the same broker was sent to the SEC’s Chicago office, staff there would have no easy way of knowing about the earlier tip and connecting the dots.

Now? They’ve got a shiny new database. And their treatment of people who do their job for them has never been better: Read more »