INSIDE A PONZI SCHEME
PONZI FAMOUS SCHEMERS
LOU PEARLMAN (1954-present)
OCCUPATION: Aviation company owner, co-founder of Trans Continental Records
PENALTY: 25 years imprisonment. One-time manager to the Backstreet Boys, N’Sync and LFO, Pearlman used a company that only existed on paper to swindle investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars. Pearlman went on the run when the scam surfaced and was eventually caught in Indonesia.
LOSS TO INVESTORS:
$3 000m to 1 000 individuals, $150m to banks.
OCCUPATION: ‘Prosperity theologian’ PENALTY: 27 years imprisonment, 12.5 years imprisonment for his wife. Minister Payne bilked his mega church of millions of dollars by promising that Scripture would instruct him on how to get good returns. By the end of the scam there was $20m in Payne’s bank account. As for the rest, he stays he “lost it”.
LOSS TO INVESTORS: $500m to 18 000 church members.
MICHAEL EUGENE KELLY (1949-2013)
OCCUPATION: President and sole shareholder of Yucatan Investment Corp. and Resort Holdings International Inc.
PENALTY: Five years imprisonment, $342m forfeiture. Using 25-year investment terms; Kelly was able to pay back investors for a time. By offering ‘universal leases’ that promised investors returns on property, Kelly used investor money to buy houses and hotels for himself.
LOSS TO INVESTORS: 7 000 victims resulting in $340m loss.
BERNARD MADOFF (1938-present)
OCCUPATION: Stockbroker, chairman of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, Former chairman of Nasdaq PENALTY: 150 years imprisonment
LOSS TO INVESTORS: $17.179bn forfeiture