When news broke recently of an $81 million Ponzi scheme built on false promises to buy “Hamilton” tickets in bulk and resell them at a profit, we described it as the perfect distillation of modern New York City. All the elements were there, from high-society cultural hysteria to low-level Hamptons grift.
But now that we know who gave these guys money in the first place, the story has become a veritable Platonic ideal of New York sleaze. As Bloomberg reports, his eminence Paul Tudor Jones was among those caught up in the scheme. And he wasn't alone:
When U.S. authorities busted a Ponzi scheme that centered on marked-up tickets to the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” last month, prosecutors described phone calls about a “big name” investor who’d demanded his money back.
As it turns out, there were several big names -- including billionaires Paul Tudor Jones and Michael Dell, as well as an executive at Och-Ziff Capital Management Group -- among the more than 125 people who had unwittingly poured cash into the sprawling scam, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
There's no indication from the documents filed so far how each investor was approached, and which events were pitched to them as scalping arbitrage opportunities (Adele shows were also floated). So we can only wonder how Jones allegedly got wrapped up on the whole imbroglio.
Was the prospect of a guaranteed 10 percent return too irresistible to pass up amidst the carnage of last year? Or had the Republican hedge funder been so taken by Hamilton's rags-to-riches story, as rapped by Lin-Manuel Miranda and company, that he thought resale gambit had legs?
Whatever happened, exactly, there is a sort of poetic resonance in Jones, who founded the charity Robin Hood Foundation in part to stave off social revolution, losing a buck to a few fly-by-night Ponzi operators. As you'll recall, Robin Hood didn't just accept tax-deductible donations from the rich – he robbed them. So at least Jones know how that feels now.