50 Billion dollar losses in one Ponzi Scheme

47 replies
This is an absolutely astounding story:

Alleged Madoff $50 billion fraud hits other investors | Reuters

A man who previously served as chairman to Nasdaq Stock Market orchestrate a massive 50 billion dollar ponzi scheme.

In other words he ran a fake investment company with no investments paying off investors using later investors money.

What is shocking is who his investors included. Obviously because of his trust and credibility.
#billion #dollar #losses #ponzi #scheme
  • Profile picture of the author eholmlund
    I was the victim of someone running a fake investment company... maybe someday i'll tell about it.

    And you're right, the trust and credibility factor was huge.
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    • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
      I was the victim of someone running a fake investment company... maybe someday i'll tell about it.

      And you're right, the trust and credibility factor was huge.
      Unfortunately many never get all their money back and some get none back at all like those caught up in the ASD Ads Cash Generator and 12 daily pro ponzi scheme debacles.

      The sad thing is that people in IM get sucked into ponzi schemes so easily and often it is people they trust or that are widely endorsed promoting them.
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  • Profile picture of the author traces2757
    I read about that. Unbelievable.
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  • Profile picture of the author mbrown
    Josh,

    You know the amount of money in that deal is shocking as hell too, 50 billion. Unreal.
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  • Profile picture of the author polimedia
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    • Profile picture of the author Eric Lorence
      Originally Posted by polimedia View Post

      Wow.

      I don't understand this, maybe someone explains it to me.

      The guy is 70. What the heck do you still want or need when you're 70 ?
      The guy was the NASDAQ chairman through some tough times for NASDAQ. what the heck could be in it for you to risk that reputation, as a 70 yo man ?
      What ? Explain this to me, you're all bright minds, marketeers the lot.

      How do you sell a 70 year old, veteran banker, respected financier, on running a ponzi scheme ?
      It's more about pride and legacy at that point, his clients probably thought he was a sage or a genius at that point.

      That was an astounding fall from grace.
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    • Profile picture of the author Bob Monie
      Originally Posted by polimedia View Post

      Wow.

      I don't understand this, maybe someone explains it to me.

      The guy is 70. What the heck do you still want or need when you're 70 ?
      The guy was the NASDAQ chairman through some tough times for NASDAQ. what the heck could be in it for you to risk that reputation, as a 70 yo man ?
      What ? Explain this to me, you're all bright minds, marketeers the lot.

      How do you sell a 70 year old, veteran banker, respected financier, on running a ponzi scheme ?
      Obsession with money and massive greed.
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  • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
    To put this in perspective... the amount of money he scammed the investors and institutions out of are more than the entire auto industry is asking for in their bailout.

    The story reports that he only has a fraction of 1 billion left out of the 50 billion dollars scammed.

    And we as US taxpayers are bailing out wall street which is rife with unscrupulous people like this man who was the Chairman of one of the worlds leading stock markets the NASDAQ stock exchange?

    Why do I have the feeling this is only the tip of the iceberg?
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    • Profile picture of the author TelZilla
      Originally Posted by Josh Anderson View Post

      Why do I have the feeling this is only the tip of the iceberg?
      This IS only the tip of the iceberg. All of the research that I've been putting in on the subject tells me that we are in deep deep doo doo.

      The entire financial sector and our economy, heck the entire global economy, is headed towards some major fundamental changes.

      I just wish I knew what those changes were going to be...but all indications point to something that isn't good.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    The largest Ponzi Scheme in history is still active today. It's called Social Securtiy...
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    • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
      The largest Ponzi Scheme in history is still active today. It's called Social Securtiy...
      And just like all other ponzi shemes that one is nearly bankrupt too.

      The only reason that people of my generation pay into it is because the law forces us to.
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    • Profile picture of the author Melkor
      Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

      The largest Ponzi Scheme in history is still active today. It's called Social Securtiy...
      Err, no, that's just propaganda from the anti-social side of the Republican party - specifically, it's from Grover Nordquist who want you to pay no attention to how the Great Wealth Transfer Upwards and deliberate underfunding of Social Security from Ronald Reagan onwards has set up the current slight budgetary imbalance.

      It's easily fixed by ending the special tax cuts for Bush' rich friends if one is so inclined, but Grover Nordquist is philosophically opposed to social programs of any kind, and his whole raison'd'etre for spreading the misleading perception that there's anything wrong with social security that he didn't deliberately engineer is part of his whole effort to repeal every social program created since about 1928.

      Whether you're inclined to think of social programs as Always Morally Repugnant like Grover and work to end them or not is a personal decision but it's always good to know where a particular idea comes from and why it's being spread when you're discussing social and government policy. You may or may not be inclined to think that government is good but on the whole I think of taxes as my share on the rent and upkeep on the infrastructure I'm using to live in what is when all is said and done a pretty nice place. Without government-funded research and infrastructure, there would be no computers and Internet, and I rather enjoy using them.

      Your mileage may vary though.
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      • Profile picture of the author The 13th Warrior
        Why can't they adapt an "ecomomic" terroist philosopy to these guys?

        Where ever the money is at, there is no jurisdiction or laws to protect it, just go get it and bring it back, so it don't come out of taxpayers pocket.

        Going back to the reasons for the tea party in the first place.

        Money just vaporized into the ether?

        No serious enforcement, nip this crap at the bud because most of these guys are "friends", "buds", "business partners", "golf buddys" and they throw each other insider income opportunities to make a payload.

        Is that why politicians , who "serve" the people are multimillionares or why billionaires who have everything want to get into politics? Some serious , thick gravy we are missing.

        Yep, just want to be a "servant" of the people...., sure...

        No money in the system? Get some more from a country who has a majority at slightly above the poverty line, the working poor.

        While they get raises and guaranteed pensions for life, pardons and criminal exceptions to out right crimes because of their potent "service" to the public.

        Lecturing to us about pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps, lecturing to us with their $800 silk ties, they really "feel" for the people they "serve".

        Let's see, lets make a regulation that a person can get a house with NO income verification, NO job verification.....the people that came up with this, is this what they teach in Yale and Harvard....,makes no sense, except a "set-up" on the front-end to get a payload and a payday in the back-end when people lose property they could never afford in the first place, housing and property prices drop, bargin shopping time.

        If you add up ALL the guys in American jail and prisons who robbed without a weapon or bodily injury, and add up just ONE of these embezzlers, it would be ridiculously no contest.

        Except the embezzler makes a deal , keeps some of the money , and does a country club sentence, if ever.

        Their "cells" and ammenities are probably better than most peoples apartments.

        Let them keep saying "let them eat cake", THEY are going to "eat it" with us real soon, Ph.D's in B.S., useless, over-educated, pontificators of symptoms ......

        The 13 th Warrior
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      • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
        Originally Posted by Melkor View Post

        Err, no, that's just propaganda from the anti-social side of the Republican party - specifically, it's from Grover Nordquist who want you to pay no attention to how the Great Wealth Transfer Upwards and deliberate underfunding of Social Security from Ronald Reagan onwards has set up the current slight budgetary imbalance.
        No, actually it's the truth, if you take off your Marxist goggles and look at it honestly.

        SS wasn't created to intentionally defraud people, but it meets the classic definition of a Ponzi scheme, where earlier "investors" are paid off only with money from newer ones.

        The only real difference is that the illegal Ponzi schemes are voluntary.
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        • Profile picture of the author Melkor
          Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood View Post

          No, actually it's the truth, if you take off your Marxist goggles and look at it honestly.

          SS wasn't created to intentionally defraud people, but it meets the classic definition of a Ponzi scheme, where earlier "investors" are paid off only with money from newer ones.

          The only real difference is that the illegal Ponzi schemes are voluntary.
          Marxist? Where do you get that of all weird ideas? I'm just pointing you at what Nobel Economics prize winner Paul Krugman says, and if you've got the professional qualifications to argue with him I'd like to see'em.

          All that's required to fix social security is to accept that trickle-down economics do not in fact work as advertised, something David Stockman, Reagan's director of the White House Office of Management and Budget could have told you based on his experiences with it

          Trickle-down economics do not work, because the money given to the upper 0.1% of asset owners do not in fact trickle down, they're put into financial instruments like this one where the money do not enter the real economy at all. Tax breaks given at the bottom of the income distribution pyramid drives overall consumption upwards because the low-wage earners are in a position to increase their consumption of goods and services, while tax breaks given at the top do not affect consumption since the upper income brackets are already consuming as many goods and services as they're physically capable of.

          Since we're a consumption-driven economy all over the world, logic then dictates that increasing the funds and resources available for discretionary spending at the bottom of the income pyramid is a more efficient way to increase drive the economy. Since that money in fact gets put into greater circulation, whereas at the top it gets salted away in financial instruments like this one.

          And again, check your assumptions at the door and look at the history of social security. It was in fact fully funded until Reagan's deficit spending spree caused the economic implosion you're still seeing the effect of. If you think that analysis is wrong, take it up with Krugman.
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  • Profile picture of the author bannerdemers
    I'm still p.o.d at the fact that after we bailed out the snls the one blew
    all that money on that junket the very next day.
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    • Profile picture of the author IronDuke
      The big question is...how much jail time will this guy do? To put this in perspective, some idiot who stole an ATM machine with about $10,000 is getting 7 years in prison.

      A guy that stole $50 Billion should be drawn and quartered. But, hey that's just me...I'm old school
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      • Profile picture of the author Phil Craig
        Originally Posted by IronDuke View Post

        The big question is...how much jail time will this guy do? To put this in perspective, some idiot who stole an ATM machine with about $10,000 is getting 7 years in prison.

        A guy that stole $50 Billion should be drawn and quartered. But, hey that's just me...I'm old school
        Actually, in the USA, jail time IS the new social security.

        Room and board, special needs care and total hospital care: recently, my wife was in our local hospital for a one day procedure. A prisoner from a prison 100 miles away was recovering from a heart by-pass (100 grand plus surgery). He had 4 guards watching over him (overtime), plus the nurses. Mutch better care than my wife got.

        Look up the new Cook County, Illinois, jail. It looks like a high end Hilton with flat screens and all.

        The best plan is to commit a massive crime at 70 and take advantage of the best care the USA offers.

        Amazing.

        Phil
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        • Profile picture of the author davemiz
          lol whats the point of this thread?
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          • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
            lol whats the point of this thread?
            Good question...

            The big question is...how much jail time will this guy do? To put this in perspective, some idiot who stole an ATM machine with about $10,000 is getting 7 years in prison.

            A guy that stole $50 Billion should be drawn and quartered. But, hey that's just me...I'm old school
            Well he faces only one count in criminal court which can land him up to 20 years and a 5 million dollar fine.

            He also faces a civil suit.

            How many people in this world would trade 20 years and 5 million for a few billion?

            Here is a news video about the story:

            http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001...00861#28200861
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            • Profile picture of the author davesharp
              A very interesting story, it also looks to me like big business and government have been operating like this for a long time. Now it's catchup time.

              Is it a case of people with that much influence and power think they are immune, or what!

              Dave
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              • Profile picture of the author The 13th Warrior
                Originally Posted by davesharp View Post


                A very interesting story, it also looks to me like big business and government have been operating like this for a long time. Now it's catchup time
                Thats it right there. One and the same.

                They'll give up one patsy, fall guy for the public and media, give a good show,..... we fall for it EVERY time.

                The 13 th Warrior
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            • Profile picture of the author AverageGuy
              20 years and 5 million for trading a few billion? many people will do it. I remeber that according to a survey, if a thing's profit margin is more than 300%, many people will do it even in the danger of losing life. that's why it is so difficult to stop drug dealers.

              the punishment should be much more.


              david



              Originally Posted by Josh Anderson View Post

              How many people in this world would trade 20 years and 5 million for a few billion?
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            • Profile picture of the author Richard Tunnah
              According to a Beeb report on it here in the UK they reckon they'll be lucky to recover a small part of this money as it's probably been syphoned into all sorts of offshore vehicles even the feds will find hard to trace.


              Rich


              Originally Posted by Josh Anderson View Post

              Good question...

              Well he faces only one count in criminal court which can land him up to 20 years and a 5 million dollar fine.

              He also faces a civil suit.

              How many people in this world would trade 20 years and 5 million for a few billion?

              Here is a news video about the story:

              msnbc.com Video Player
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      • Profile picture of the author The 13th Warrior
        Originally Posted by IronDuke View Post


        A guy that stole $50 Billion should be drawn and quartered. But, hey that's just me...I'm old school
        That $50 billion theft will destroy more lives and souls than one petty theft.

        That's not just old school, that's Justice.

        The pain should be at best, equal to what was given.

        The 13 th Warrior
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  • Profile picture of the author DrC
    You guys remember 12 daily pro? That was a micro version of what this guy did, but screwed a bunch of people. Buddy of mine lost 15k in that!
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    • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
      Originally Posted by DrC View Post

      You guys remember 12 daily pro? That was a micro version of what this guy did, but screwed a bunch of people. Buddy of mine lost 15k in that!
      12 daily pro was $50 million dollar ponzi scheme when shut down by the feds... in perspective that was 1/1000 or .1% the size of this $50 billion one.

      A lot of warriors were involved in that Ponzi scheme.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jim Pearson
    It happens more than we think. What's the difference between Madoff and Enron or Worldcom? Same thing just different name. I unfortunately worked for a company who's owner years ago did it and blew up the company and is in jail. Putting close to 3,000 out of work.
    It all comes down to greed.
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    • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
      What's the difference between Madoff and Enron or Worldcom?
      Actual products and services.
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      • Profile picture of the author polimedia
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        • Profile picture of the author davemiz
          LOL ok so whats really the point of this thread?

          i don't see anything other than people bitching.
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          • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
            LOL ok so whats really the point of this thread?

            i don't see anything other than people bitching.
            It's an interesting story about how high end suckers are made. The truth is that they are made the same way low end suckers are made.

            Just leave out the due diligence... and presto your a sucker!
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            • Profile picture of the author TimPhelan
              It is only the tip of the iceberg.

              The derivitives and Credit Default Swap market has been compared to a ponzi scheme by many people. A $681 TRILLION ponzi scheme.

              Credit Default Swaps: Evolving Financial Meltdown and Derivative Disaster Du Jour

              In December 2007, the Bank for International Settlements reported derivative trades tallying in at $681 trillion - ten times the gross domestic product of all the countries in the world combined....

              The $681 trillion derivatives trade is the last supersized bubble in a 300-year Ponzi scheme, one that has now taken over the entire monetary system.
              EconPapers: The optimal design of Ponzi schemes in finite economies

              As no rational agent would be willing to take part in the last round in a finite economy, it is difficult to design Ponzi schemes that are certain to explode. This paper argues that if agents correctly believe in the possibility of a partial bailout when a gigantic Ponzi scheme collapses, and they recognize that a bailout is tantamount to a redistribution of wealth from non-participants to participants, it may be rational for agents to participate, even if they know that it is the last round. We model a political economy where an unscrupulous profit-maximizing promoter can design gigantic Ponzi schemes to cynically exploit this "too big to fail" doctrine.
              The above quote from 2003.

              Warren Buffet was warning us about the derivitives market in 2003 also:

              But Mr Buffett argues that such highly complex financial instruments are time bombs and "financial weapons of mass destruction" that could harm not only their buyers and sellers, but the whole economic system.
              BBC NEWS | Business | Buffett warns on investment 'time bomb'
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  • Profile picture of the author ebizman87
    I'm a victim of some sort of "ponzi scheme" too.
    The good thing is that I NEVER had to spend any money because it's FREE
    The bad thing is that,I wasted my time by convincing 6 people to join me.
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    • Profile picture of the author Eric Land
      Some people in my town have lost alot of money from this

      I know of 3 people actually who have lost from 50 - 100 million because of this not personally but they live in my town.

      There whole lives work gone because of this guy
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  • Profile picture of the author Charles Harper
    There are no 'investors' in the Social Security ponzi scheme. You HAVE to 'contribute'.

    CT
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  • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
    Ok I conceed....

    Now this thread truly has become pointless... if it had any point to begin with :p
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    • Profile picture of the author Elliott Bean
      my sister may well lose her job because of this guy, and it could happen as early as tomorrow. We're not even in the states, we're in the uk.
      Not great at all just before christmas!
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  • Profile picture of the author freudianslip27
    Leading up to Christmas is when Ponzi's thrive. Everyone is looking for that easy dollar. I hope that your sister ends up okay Elliot.

    Unfortunately an online ponzi was one of my first online experiences. Not a pleasant one!

    Matt
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  • Profile picture of the author derekwong28
    No, I don't think this thread is pointless. Clearly this person was able to get away with it for so long because of trust and credibility.

    The same thing could easily happen in IM if one big name guru decides to pull off a huge scam with a fraudulent launch. The lesson here is to carry out due diligence on your purchases however credible the seller is.

    Derek
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    • Profile picture of the author psresearch
      Yeh. Pretty amazing. I did a post about it back on Dec 11th called:

      "ASDCashGenerator - Sit Down and Shut Up!

      Wow, with all the attention ASDCashGenerator got recently, here's a scheme that makes it look like Amateur Night...

      Check out this release today (December 11, 2008) from the Security and Exchange Commission:"

      Putting it in perspective by comparing it to the auto bailout request is interesting, too.
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  • Profile picture of the author IronDuke
    There IS a point to this thread and that is...learn from human nature. It's behavioral economics in action.
    If a man can bilk $50 Billion from people, I'm sure there are a few lessons for us as well.
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    • Profile picture of the author ExRat
      Hi Melkor,

      Without government-funded research and infrastructure, there would be no computers and Internet, and I rather enjoy using them
      Have you ever experienced the alternative in order to arrive at the conclusion you have?

      Did you mean 'government controlled' rather than 'government funded'? In my country (the UK) the government is funded by working people - they have no funds of their own, except 'donations' (used loosely) which are used to pay spin doctors to keep them in office.

      I doubt very much that they use those donations to fund research and infrastructure, we pay for that.
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  • Profile picture of the author Melkor
    In general, government is how we tackle issues that are too large for anyone but "all of us together" to deal with. Funding the army, the police, the fire department, universities and so on. Each society has different ideas for what's included under "and so on" - rather more than most in my home nation of Norway, rather less than yours in the US. They're all workable on their own terms and they're all accidents of history - more or less. In my view, government's proper role is to facilitate the greatest possible individual liberty, mostly by providing a stable currency and legal framework for business, build and maintain infrastructure and otherwise staying out of people's lives where possible. But roads still have to be maintained, business functions better when all potential employees have a shared school background and minimum education level, it's cheaper to run a health care system with single-payer than the mess they've made of things in the US, and so on.

    Though I suppose a theoretical discussion of models of government and legitimacy is kinda off topic and belongs further down.

    However - research without immediate or intermediate monetization prospects is interesting for its own sake, but it's not the function of business to invest in fundamental research without the prospect of a ROI. If Robert Kahn and Vince Cerf had developed TCP/IP under contract to IBM instead of DARPA - presuming of course, that IBM would even have funded a competitor to their SNA - you'd have been paying IBM by the minute for connection time over their network. If Tim Berners-Lee had been under contract to British Telecom instead of CERN when he developed the first web browser, do you think it would have been released into the wild for free?

    Lucky for us that they did, though.

    (Monetizing or commercialization of fundamental research is a whole different kettle of fish, that's exactly the job of private enterprise and explains why I'm paying a private company for my Internet connection, several different ones for hosting and so on. Or why it's Pfizer's job to develop promising research from Oxford into viable drugs. Or why Vegas Vince's version of "Kinsey: the Movie" would be a lot more interesting than the Kinsey report itself...)

    Warren Buffet has some views I find interesting - so do some other folks, but there's more than one way to look at it and Vahan Janjigian has some issues with Buffet.

    I dunno though - government legitimacy arises from the consent of the governed and what is legitimate by popular consent is very, very variable. And sometimes not grounded in reality - the Soviet Union had popular consent for a while but communism doesn't actually work however much the lefties want it to because human nature just doesn't work that way.

    And these investors all thought that their popular consensus that this was a good investment could substitute for due diligence, just like the autosurf ponzi people did - "As long as we all agree to pretend that this is legit, it can work" seems to be the prevailing notion.
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    • Profile picture of the author ExRat
      Hi Melkor,

      We have radically different viewpoints on this issue. And you're right, this is not the place. To conclude, I'll quote someone else, who's opinions have somewhat shaped, and consequently, are in line with mine -

      The Triumph of Business

      The Absurdity of Taxing Effort

      The External Authority Scam

      Democracy is a False God

      From -

      Essay Index

      I'm no expert on these things, and wouldn't want to be. But I like to read and digest stuff that makes me think and ask questions.
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    • Profile picture of the author trafficpayouts
      Interesting thread no question Josh.

      I was almost the victim of a guy who had huge history in the U.S running ponzi scheme style scams.

      Everything about this guy seemed legit.

      Beverly hills mailing address,roles watch about 56 very well spoken etc.

      He tried to get me to invoice him a $900,000 car from a dealership that I was running at the time .Luckily I did some research and backed away but another dealer I knew didn't.

      Here is how the scam played out.

      1.A rented office on monthly payment in the best part of town

      2.big noting to business players that he was new in town and a heavy finance player ie able to get loans for equipment commercial property etc at about 2% below the most competitive rates.

      3.A boat cruise where over 100 heavy hitters were invited (included 9 of my clients) we copped critisism for not providing the car invoice.

      4.An offer to finance equipment ,property etc at incredible low rate figures.

      5.clients strung along for a while and then all in a 48 hour period they are contacted and told money will be wired into their accounts and tiny 1% deposit required to process paperwork.

      The scammer was pretending to do loans for between $5 mill and $40 mill
      so even 1 % of 5 was a lazy 50 G.

      So the scammer gets all the 1 % in on thur and fri with the promise of wired settlement by mon a 8am.

      Over the weekend his office is stripped and phone are pulled the company had a very hard to trace generic name and was registered in Delaware.

      think 4 words like finance acceptance services etc and with names like this a delaware search will bring up about 20-30 thousands cross referances.

      Funny thing is I did online searches and the guy wasn't even using a false name and there was ponzi style stuff on his rap sheet as well as court docs etc in 5 us states.

      He was a very good operator though and nothing had ever stuck,no jail time.

      One client of mine who luckily is very wealthy lost $110,000.

      I figure it would make a reasonable script and I watched it play out.

      Paul:rolleyes:
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  • Profile picture of the author talfighel
    I actually heard about this in the news a few days ago and it pretty much shocked me to see this.

    Tal
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  • Profile picture of the author derekwong28
    There is another extremely important issue, it concerns the safety of your investments with your stock broker or bank.

    If you buy a property, you have to do this through a lawyer who will go through and verify tons of legal documents to make sure that everything is alright. The deeds to the property often contains a huge pile of legal documents.

    However, if you buy stocks, bonds or mutual funds through your broker or bank. Quite often they act as nominees and you do not receive any documents at all verifying that you actually own those investments. Nevermind that the value of your investmnets often exceed the value of your property investments. The only document that you would have signed is one that allows them to act as your nominee. This document is usually signed on your own without a lawyer going through it.

    Derek
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    Do not get between a wombat and a chocolate biscuit; you will regret it dearly!

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  • Profile picture of the author trinitron00
    The question everyone is how did someone who is supposed to be an expert lose $50 billion, where did it go?
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