A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent and illegal business practice where people are scammed into investing in a false business that pays high financial returns to early investors with funds from more recent investors. Participants believe their money is being invested in a business or the stock market when in reality, it is being shuffled from investor to investor in order to look like a successful venture.
Ponzi scheme investors are unaware of the fraudulent practices and promised quick and easy returns by scammers. They become victims and believe recurring profits are from legitimate business activity while remaining unaware of the source of their profits.
Ponzi schemes endure for years as most investors continue recycling their profits for larger returns. Con artists lure more and more investors over time to keep the scheme going. Because recruitment for a Ponzi scheme is hard to keep going, they usually fall apart and are found out when scammers run out of money to pay their line of investors. Most of the time, investors do not see monetary recovery and can go bankrupt.
Ponzi schemes are sometimes referred to as ‘Peter-Paul’ scams as they are relatable to the expression ‘Steal from Peter to pay Paul.’
Are Ponzi schemes illegal?
Ponzi schemes are illegal white collar crimes and can include charges of money laundering, bank fraud, wire fraud, tax fraud, securities fraud, and more. Ponzi scheme charges can carry…