Cheated, swindled, bamboozled, these are some choice words to describe people who fell for a ponzi scheme. The term Ponzi scheme was coined after Charles Ponzi who is credited to be the father of the pyramid scheme and modern get rich schemes. While there have been large attempts at financial fraud before Ponzi, it is his creativity in finding opportunities and his means of deception. They were so good that thousands have replicated his operation to varying degrees of success. Steve Sorensen Embezzlement.
Charles Ponzi arrived in America in 1903 all the way from Italy. He quickly learned English by doing odd jobs in his early years in the country. His claim to fame began when he received a letter from Spain and noticed a return coupon attached to the mail. The prices of return coupons varied from country to country so he thought of the idea of buying coupons in large quantities in countries that sold them cheap and sell them in countries where they are sold at a higher price. According to Steve Sorensen, this was basically arbitrage, or buying from a cheaper market and selling to a higher paying one. Steve Sorensen Embezzlement.
The legitimacy of this scheme allowed him to gather investors whom he promised to double their investments in just three months. However, the actual scheme wouldn’t sustain all the new investors. So what he did was use the money brought in by new investors to pay-off the older investors. This has become the very definition of a Ponzi scheme. Steve Sorensen Embezzlement.
When Ponzi was making millions of dollars a day, he thought about buying legitimate companies in hopes of paying investors and keeping his luxurious lifestyle. Unfortunately, the entire scheme collapsed before his plan came to fruition. His downfall also led to the collapse of several banks as well. Steve Sorensen Embezzlement. Steve Sorensen Embezzlement.
If someone tells you that a business proposition is a Ponzi scheme or scam, you automatically assume that no good can come off it. There are many ways to describe scams, but calling it a Ponzi scam is quite popular. This is because the originator of this idea, Charles Ponzi, became a notorious figure when it comes to embezzlement. Here is Charles Ponzi’s claim to fame. Steve Sorensen.
Charles Ponzi was almost flat broke when he came to America from Italy. After trying several honest jobs, Ponzi landed in prison after forging a bad check, and again for smuggling Italian immigrants to the US.
After moving to Boston and getting married at 1918, Ponzi started buying international reply coupons (IRC) used for replying to overseas mail, and exchanging them for more expensive stamps in other countries. He would hire people overseas to buy IRCs and send it to him in the US where he would exchange them with local stamps which he would then sell. Steve Sorensen
Wanting to earn more, Ponzi looked for potential investors who were looking for a quick buck. He promised 50% in returns in just 45 days, or 100% in 90 days. Ponzi paid past investors with the money he got from newer investors rather than using the profit as payment. At the height of his career, it was told that he made $250,000 a day. Steve Sorensen.
It was only in 1920 that people began suspecting Ponzi of illegal activities. The Boston Post began an inquiry to investigate his returns. The results led to his arrest and was charged with 86 counts of mail fraud, with a debt of over $7 million. For his crimes, he was sent to prison for 14 years. Steve Sorensen
When embezzlement is mentioned, it commonly refers to employee theft. But it is just one form of embezzlement as any act of misappropriation of funds that have been entrusted to someone’s care can be considered as the crime as well.
For example, take someone who works in or manages a rental car business that does not own the vehicles. If he allows anyone else, like a relative or friend, to just show up and use one of the cars, even if there is no intention of keeping it, they could be charged with embezzlement.
For an embezzlement to be charged, the following factors must be met:
The two parties involved must be under a fiduciary relationship, which means one of them has the power to act on behalf of the other. The relationship or partnership is based trust, honesty, and loyalty.
The defendant or accused should have acquired the property because of the said relationship. It is either it was his responsibility to take care of the property, or it was entrusted to him.
The defendant or accused must be proven to have taken ownership or fraudulently used the property in question.
The actions of the defendant or accused were intentional or intended to deprive the owner of its use.
Hi, Steve Sorensen here, a Certified Public Accountant and a business consultant who helps advises organizations on varying issues, including employee embezzlement. To know more about me, visit this Facebook page.