tagged w/ Ponzi
“Ponzi” is a fascinating two-minute animated short created by Strike Anywhere that tells the story of Charles Ponzi (1832-1949, an Italian swindler considered one of the greatest swindlers in American history. Ponzi’s scheme was a scam to rip off his investors, and it was the same scheme that made Bernie Madoff famous. Mr. Madoff was a charlatan of epic proportions, a greedy manipulator who choreographed a $50 billion Ponzi scheme. More recently, Kenneth Starr was accused of using his Ponzi scheme to defraud targets who are a “Who’s Who” list of actors, directors, writers and other artists.
As Ponzi neared death in the hospital, he granted one last newspaper interview and claimed, “Even if they never got anything for it, it was cheap at that price. Without malice aforethought I had given them the best show that was ever staged in their territory since the landing of the Pilgrims! It was easily worth fifteen million bucks to watch me put the thing over.”
This piece includes colorful illustrations and the animated short.
http://disembedded.wordpress.com/2010/06/16/ponzi-the-best-show-ever-staged-since-the-landing-of-the-pilgrims/“Ponzi” is a fascinating two-minute animated short created by Strike... more
While the world squirms from the mindbending moral hazards of giving banks the money to short (sell/bet against) government bonds- then giving the governments the money to pay off the banks with all of this compounded interest. The real liar loans have been the banks using worthless securities (toxic assets) based on manufactured liar loans for real loans from the government via the NOT federal NOT A reserve. It's the end of sovereignty, I don't mean that as a hyperbole these things end and get replaced and so does this. Single world currency and single production governance. They have already existed and the time has been spent acclimating the public to central banks working in concert, the UN security council armies wearing the same helmet from a global army, the imf which has forced nations around the world to privatize(into the hands of this corporate cartel) all production and natural rights, such as water ownership and crop production. Will WE rule the world? we already do, you and the rest of the peons will simply adjust to a new normal. Look at people in the streets begging us to turn the debt burden machines of "credit" back on. Don't worry you will get your blue pill back(matrix reference not the limp dick pill) and you and your children will wake up and work off all this debt we manufactured during the "crisis." There will be new gadgets and mindnumbing shows to watch and overpriced trinkets produced in pisspoor countries to clutter your house with before long. But first we have to let you know who the boss is and after we collect up all the property and assets and depress wages then we'll start the negotiations. In the future all jobs will be paid at the lowest level GLOBALLY. That means if I can get some poor rice stomping chinamen to look at x-rays 100 per hour for $5 an hour then that's what you have to compete with. Same for surgeries, home care, car manufacturing the lowest bidder GLOBALLY wins. All you fat pasty motherfuckers won't be livin' high on the hog at the expense of us generous and selfless rich folk. You'll have to work, I mean WORK!! not that shit you've been passing off as work calling in sick, flirting with co-workers, surfing porn and bullshitting around the watercooler work, REAL WORK. KUNTA, JOSE migrant farmer slavery type work. You basterds have been taking the kindness of us rich folk for weakness and it's time for a payback. We'll own all the property from the mass foreclosures, the corporations from the lines of credit to bankruptcy's and of course these puppet governments, whose job it is to sell you on the idea that serving us is in your best interest (oh god I can't stop laughing). Ha Ha vote conservative a bunch of career politicians don't represent the special interest, they represent you...the fool...er uh the common man. Well gotta go my yacht is here to take me to my private helicopter that will drop me off at my private jet. God bless whatever your country USED to be called.While the world squirms from the mindbending moral hazards of giving banks the money... more
How we can be experiencing the largest economic meltdown in decades with no real mass mobilization or ongoing response from the progressive world?
In politics, it’s always all about the narrative, about how issues are framed.
How we can be experiencing the largest economic meltdown in decades with millions out of work, and millions more losing their homes, and yet, with no real mass mobilization or ongoing response from the progressive world?
To understand this paradox, we need to reflect on how most of us define the problem.
To this day, there has not been an aggressive investigation of who and what brought down the system, ala the Pecora Commission appointed by FDR. Instead, we have a wimpy ineffectual body that can’t get its act together. The New York Times, which hailed its appointment, now buries its defacto obit way back in the business section, noting it has “been hobbled by delays and internal disagreements and a lack of focus.”
At the same time, the bookshelves are filling up with volumes of complicated treatises on the complexities of derivatives, risky profit models and credit default swaps. The practitioners of the “dismal science” of economics are having a field day with longwinded dissertations that fail to engage the popular imagination.
We had a word for this when I worked in network television—MEGO, standing for “My Eyes Glaze Over!”
More popular writers are spinning catchy “yarns” like “The Big Short,” which put it all down with psychologically-driven, character-based storytelling to how deluded everyone on Wall Street was. That leaves us feeling superior to the dunderheads who lost us trillions and, then, laughed all the way to their mansions in the Hamptons.
Missing is a hardnosed look at the financial crisis as a crime story—an approach that allows for morality as well as indignation, and resonates with public anger. It touches the nerve that most people feel.
This is why former Bank Examiner William Black focuses on looting and CEO fraud. He helped send over a thousand bankers to prison during the S&L crisis in the l980s.
And, this is also why Senator Ted Kaufman of Delaware, the state where most of our corporations are registered, says categorically the whole crisis rests on a foundation of crime.
Even Alan Greenspan admitted in his all too polite exchange with that government financial inquiry that resembles a Princeton seminar, “if you don’t have enforcement, and a lot of that stuff was just plain fraud, you’re not coming to grips with the issue.” Of course, this “maestro” didn’t go into detail on “a lot of that stuff.”
Mostly, what we are watching is an obtuse debate about banks that are “too big to fail,” not too big to jail. Very little of the discourse speaks in terms of the victims—the millions of families now without breadwinners or homes.
Most of the coverage looks up at CEOs, not down at the people who they –and their businesses—robbed by design, as Bob Dylan once put it, “not with a gun but a fountain pen.”
Sometimes, we don’t see what’s in front of our faces. No one who has followed the details of the catastrophe can deny that a financial failure was facilitated by the media failure to follow its trajectory and detail its criminality, causing inattention and denial within a distracted public, including its activist wing.
When most of us think of crime, we think of gangsters, not banksters, wrong-doers who can be shamed, named and if possible prosecuted. Conditioned by years of movie-going and TV watching, we look for bad guys, individuals, not institutions with well elaborated schemes designed to transfer your wealth to their vaults.
In that respect, Bernie Madoff was the perfect villain, a poster child for financiers gone wild. Who doesn’t want to kick a “Ponzi King” when he’s down? Alas, Madoff’s $65 billion dollar fraud was child’s play when compared to what the bigger firms pulled off.
There is another frame, which has yet to be adopted by the left or the mainstream media. It was articulated simply by Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, a publication more at home with Groucho Marx that Karl. He wrote of the meltdown “[This] may well turn out to be greatest non-violent crime against humanity in history … never before have so few done so much to so many.”
This is the way I came to see the problem, as I followed the money and examined how it was made. We are talking about what’s known as a criminal enterprise, a cabal, not simply a few high profile marauders.
It is the kind of crime that needs to be prosecuted under the Rico laws that not only recognize, but go after real world, not imaginary, criminal conspiracies.
As I explain in my film “Plunder: The Crime of Our Time” (Disinfo Films) and more detailed companion book, “The Crime Of Our Time” (Disinfomation) there were three interconnected rings in this circus.How we can be experiencing the largest economic meltdown in decades with no real mass... more
We're only just discovering how widespread the rip-off schemes riddling our economy are.
March 18, 2010 |
LIKE THIS ARTICLE ?
Join our mailing list:
Sign up to stay up to date on the latest headlines via email.
Every great American boom and bust makes and breaks its share of crooks. The past decade -- call it the Ponzi Era -- has been no different, except for the gargantuan scale of white-collar crime. A vast wave of financial fraud swelled in the first years of the new century. Then, in 2008, with the subprime mortgage collapse, it crashed on the shore as a full-scale global economic meltdown. As that wave receded, it left hundreds of Ponzi and pyramid schemes, as well as other get-rich-quick rackets that helped fuel our recent economic frenzy, flopping on the beach.
The high-water marks from that crime wave, those places where the corruption reached its zenith, are still visible today, like the 17th floor of 885 Third Avenue in midtown Manhattan, the nerve center of investment firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities -- and, as it turned out, a $65 billion Ponzi scheme, the largest in history. Or Stanfordville, a sprawling compound on the Caribbean island of Antigua named for its wealthy owner, a garrulous Texan named Allen Stanford who built it with funds from his own $8 billion Ponzi scheme. Or the bizarrely fortified law office -- security cards, surveillance cameras, hidden microphones, a private elevator -- of Florida attorney Scott Rothstein, who duped friends and investors out of $1.2 billion.
The more typical marks of the Ponzi Era, though, aren’t as easy to see. Williamston, Michigan, for instance, lacks towering skyscrapers, Italian sports cars, million-dollar mansions, and massive security systems. A quiet town 15 miles from Lansing, the state capital, Williamston is little more than a cross-hatching of a dozen or so streets. A “DOLLAR TIME$” store sits near Williamston’s main intersection -- locals affectionally call it the "four corners" -- and its main drag is lined with worn brick buildings passed on from one business to the next like fading, hand-me-down jeans. It’s here, far from New York or Antigua, that thanks to two brothers seized by a financial fever dream, the Ponzi Era made its truest, deepest American mark.
Jay and Eric Merkle, active church members and successful local businessmen, were well known among Williamston’s residents. In 2004, the brothers discovered that an oil-and-gas venture, which they had invested in and which promised them quick, lucrative returns, was a scam. They’d been duped. Their next move should have been simple: turn in the crooks and get on with their lives, their pockets a few dollars lighter. Jay and Eric, however, grasped the spirit of their age and made another decision entirely -- they teamed up with the guys who had ripped them off, in the process switching from prey to predator.
That first venture actually floundered, but in 2005, court records show, they started their own Ponzi scheme, Platinum Business Industries (PBI). Based in Williamston, PBI claimed it was socking its investors’ money into lucrative oil and gas exploration opportunities in Oklahoma and Texas, and it promised the investors absurdly high returns -- 6% a month, or 72% a year. Despite such promises, the brothers assured town locals handing over their hard-earned dollars that little risk was involved. Even if the energy exploration didn’t pay off, the land acquired by PBI was valuable and could be sold to offset any losses.
Like Madoff in Palm Beach, the Merkles in Williamston exploited local ties -- church and family -- to reel in new investors; and like Madoff's investment fund, PBI, too, was a complete sham, and a classic Ponzi scheme -- that is, an investment scam in which existing investors’ returns are paid for with money from new investors. In the case of PBI, there was no energy exploration in Oklahoma and Texas.
Some of the money they received from later investors the Merkles used to pay off earlier ones and give their scheme the look of success. But in their case, there was a rub. The Merkles were distinctly creatures of the Ponzi Era: they evidently couldn’t help themselves. Even as they ran their own Ponzi racket, documents show, they were getting fleeced. What they weren't paying out in fake returns the Merkles bet on high-yield, get-rich-quick schemes in the U.S. and abroad that had nothing to do with oil and gas -- and other Ponzi schemers and con artists were robbing them blind.
More at the link:We're only just discovering how widespread the rip-off schemes riddling our... more
Expanding U.S. economy through immigration beats shrinking
-( or is it a scam?)-
In an economy as bad as this one, it may take nothing short of disaster to bring about even a little immigration reform.
Responding to Haiti's devastating earthquake, the Obama administration is providing Temporary Protected Status to undocumented Haitians living in the U.S. As many as 200,000 people will be invited to stay legally for 18 months, receiving work permits to find jobs.
Even that modest humanitarian gesture has rekindled an emotionally charged debate about whether immigrants hurt the economic prospects of Americans.
With unemployment at 10 percent, this would be a risky moment for Congress to press ahead with sweeping new immigration policies.
Right or wrong, any move in that direction would invite a predictable backlash about immigrants taking jobs, crowding schools, filling emergency rooms and so on.
In many ways, linking immigration reform to the urgent goal of improving the nation's economic performance probably would be a stretch. But in one way, a high rate of immigration gives the U.S. economy a big boost, providing a "resource" that many other developed countries desperately need.
More-- ( I recommend the discussion afterward as much the lead article )
http://babywallpapers.net/images/wallpapers/Smiling%20Babies-1117.jpegExpanding U.S. economy through immigration beats shrinking
-( or is it a scam?)-... more
“It’s not just some technique that they are trying to protect,” said Lester Bostleman, an attorney for the Ponzis, “but it is their family name and reputation.”“It’s not just some technique that they are trying to protect,” said... more
Scott Rothstein’s office furniture inside the office of Rothstein Rosenfeldt & Adler, will be sold to the highest bidder at an auction on Jan. 23 in Tamarac, Fla. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Raymond B. Ray approved a request last week by the firm’s bankruptcy trustee to allow Fisher Auction to sell everything inside the office, including oriental rugs and some personal effects. Former attorneys at the firm and other employees have already removed their personal items. Furniture, oriental rugs, office supplies, and all those photos of Rothstein with various political and local luminaries can be yours for the bidding on January 23rd, starting at 10 a.m., at Tamarac's AMC Liquidators. Most of the money made from the auction will be given to the ponzi scheme victims, though it will likely only make a small dent.
http://www.investmentfraudtimes.com/ponzi/3063.htmlScott Rothstein’s office furniture inside the office of Rothstein Rosenfeldt... more
Greg Gordon: There is nothing that can prohibit or stop the Wall St. firms from making secret betsGreg Gordon: There is nothing that can prohibit or stop the Wall St. firms from making... more
It was a crime of epic proportions: a multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme that wiped out fortunes, drained retirement nest eggs, ruined charities and foundations, and even pushed some investors to commit suicide.It was a crime of epic proportions: a multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme that wiped out... more
Bernard Madoff's longtime accountant was arrested on fraud charges Wednesday, accused of aiding the man who has admitted cheating thousands of investors out of billions of dollars in the past two decades.Bernard Madoff's longtime accountant was arrested on fraud charges Wednesday,... more
Let’s take a look at the Madoff scheme, then dig into the history and inner machinations of Ponzi schemes, so we can figure out how to better protect ourselves in the future.Let’s take a look at the Madoff scheme, then dig into the history and inner... more
Authorities on Monday arrested the chief executive of a private New York financing firm on suspicion of running a purported Ponzi scheme that attracted $400 million in investments, U.S. law enforcement officials said.Authorities on Monday arrested the chief executive of a private New York financing... more
Ponzi schemes are one of the oldest investment frauds, yet as the Bernard Madoff scandal demonstrates, their appeal never wanes. How do they work?Ponzi schemes are one of the oldest investment frauds, yet as the Bernard Madoff... more