There is no foolproof way to avoid becoming a victim of a Ponzi scheme, says Jordan Maglich, perhaps the most avid chronicler of this flavor of financial crime in the nation.
And certainly there are a multitude of post-Madoff scamsters who are using the time-tested Ponzi trick of keeping investors happy with phony “dividends” from new money from investors who think they have found a magic man to beat the market.
Since 2011, over 500 Ponzi perpetrators have surfaced (all the big ones are men), according to Maglich, whose twitter account (@Ponzitracker) and website (ponzitracker.com) are followed by thousands each day.
While many Ponzi investors are financial fraud victims for the first time, Maglich tells Financial Advisor magazine that a large number of the scamsters have a history of misdeeds.
He points to Arthur Nadel as a poster child of the phenomenon. Maglich cut his teeth in the Ponzi world as the court-appointed receiver for Tampa-based Nadel, whose ersatz hedge fund bilked investors out of close to $350 million dollars.
An investor thinking about investing with Nadel could have seen a disaster waiting to happen by doing an elementary public records search of the financier before giving him money.
The search would have shown Nadel had been disbarred as an attorney for fraud and had listed himself as indigent in a divorce filing.
Maglich, an attorney, said his Ponzi scheme database probably isn’t complete, but he thinks he’s finding out about most through Web news searches because the media tends to publicize big Ponzi criminal and civil enforcement actions,
In addition to helping him locate Ponzi operators, Maglich said, the Internet has aided the schemers in finding a wealth of new targets via social media.
He pointed to Zeek Rewards, which offered daily returns of 1.5 percent on social media and found investors willing to part with $600 million for a return most of the prudent would deem too good to be true.