Named after the legendary conman, Charles Ponzi, the Ponzi scheme is a staple in financial scams. The scammer promises high return rates to investors and uses other investors to return that money. People nowadays know it as the “pyramid scheme,” with older investors getting paid by newer ones. Shrewd bankers and malicious minds have continued pulling the Ponzi scheme even after the year 2000. In this article, we’ve decided to present the 6 largest and most outrageous Ponzi schemes.
Nevin Shapiro – $930 Million
Shapiro orchestrated one of the most elaborate Ponzi schemes in this century, and it got him 20 years in federal prison. First, he created a fictional company named Capitol Investments USA. Then, he claimed he wanted people to invest in his cheap new “grocery purchase system.” Instead of giving people their promised 26% return on investment, Shapiro instead kept almost a billion to himself.
Peter Lombardi – $1 Billion
His scam is perhaps the most malicious because the victims were HIV patients. Lombardi founded the Mutual Benefits Company and asked people to invest. Apparently, the idea was to fund the lawsuits of HIV patients against pharmaceutical companies. A 2003 SEC raid discovered his real goals, and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.