It was 1920 and the scheme netted him a cool 15 million dollars in just eight months. It’s a scandalous story and it would begin a movement that extends into today’s world.
Charles came up with a unique opportunity for investors when he would buy an asset in one market and sell it at a higher price in another market, or so his story went. After he explained his transaction to his gullible investors, he did not, at the same time, inform them he had no way to sell his product, keeping his investors money. Not being too inept, he was sure to have a payout for the initial investors in order to get the money rolling and attract new customers.
He called his new business The Security Exchange Company and he promised a 50-percent return in interest within 90 days. Lines of people began to form outside his office and he began to bring in a million dollars a week. What was really happening was that older investors were paid the return on their money from newer investors, a pyramid scheme at its best.
Who was this man? Charles Ponzi. He ended up in prison and eventually died penniless. His name, however, infamously lives on and has become the term for swindlers and pyramid scheme masters. Often repeated to this day, “It’s a Ponzi scheme.”
The book of Proverbs in the Bible has a lot to say about money. To the Charles Ponzis of the world, it says this:
Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the lives of those who get it.
Dishonest money will not remain:
Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.
And, to the persons who are targeting or exploiting certain people today through schemes of dishonesty, God’s word reveals:
He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich–both come to poverty.
A misinformed gentleman called me the other day about helping someone in England who had been “beat up and robbed losing all their money and their passport.” Have you heard that story before?
I don’t know about you, but these types of stories bother me, especially when it comes to the most vulnerable. Take the time to inform others in your life to not fall prey to such immoral and appalling schemes. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are lost each year by such schemes and persons in the church can be susceptible to schemes which are “too good to be true.” Let’s help to protect one another.