Ponzi in August 1920
|Born||Carlo Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Tebaldo Ponzi|
March 3, 1882
|Died||January 18, 1949 (aged 66)|
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
|Other names||Carlo and Charles P. Bianchi|
|Occupation||Financier, confidence trickster|
|Known for||Ponzi scheme|
|Criminal charge||Forgery (Canada), mail fraud(federal), larceny (state)|
|Criminal penalty||3 years in Canada 1908–1911; 5 years federal (served 3 and half years before facing state charge) 1920–1922; 9 years state 1927–1934; deportation in 1934|
|Spouse(s)||Rose Gnecco (1918–1937, divorced)|
|Parent(s)||Oreste and Imelde Ponzi|
Charles Ponzi, (born Carlo Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Tebaldo Ponzi; March 3, 1882 – January 18, 1949), was an Italianswindler and con artist in the U.S. and Canada. His aliases include Charles Ponci, Carlo, and Charles P. Bianchi. Born and raised in Italy, he became known in the early 1920s as a swindler in North America for his money-making scheme. He promised clients a 50% profit within 45 days, or 100% profit within 90 days, by buying discounted postal reply coupons in other countries and redeeming them at face value in the United States as a form of arbitrage. In reality, Ponzi was paying earlier investors using the investments of later investors. While this type of fraudlent investment scheme was not originally invented by Ponzi, it became so identified with him that it now is referred to as a Ponzi scheme. His scheme ran for over a year before it collapsed, costing his "investors" $20 million.
Ponzi may have been inspired by the scheme of William F. Miller, a Brooklyn bookkeeper who in 1899 used the same scheme to take in $1 million. In addition, "The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo", Charles Deville Wells, had operated a very similar scheme in France in 1910–11, when – under the alias "Lucien Rivier" – he had set up a phony bank, to the detriment of his 6,000 victims.