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Fraudster Hall of Shame Photo Gallery

Carlo Ponzi (March 3, 1882 – January 18, 1949). Photo: Biography.com

Carlo Ponzi. Circa 1920. Photo: Biography.com

 CARLO (CHARLES) PONZI (March 3, 1882 – January 18, 1949). The diminutive (he was 5’2″)  Italian immigrant  deserved to be named for his wildly successful, but short-lived, Boston-based fraud. In 1920, Ponzi swindled millions from regular folks in the Boston area, telling them he could return 50% profit within 45 days, and 100% in 90 days.  And he did… for awhile, paying earlier investors with the new investor cash people were throwing at him.  In less than a year, Ponzi pleaded guilty to one count mail fraud and was sentenced to five years.  Ponzi served three-and-a-half.  He spent time at several other prisons before dying in poverty in Brazil.


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