Bernard Madoff is in prison for a $65 billion Ponzi scheme, the same kind of crime that remains the most prevalent type of investor fraud, reports USA Today. “80% of our cases are Ponzi schemes,” says Texas Securities Commissioner Denise Crawford. Says Michigan attorney Andrew Kochanowski: “It’s like the season for Ponzi schemes. It’s amazing.”
They’re the ideal scam for tough times: easy to start, hard to stop, and designed to appeal to all kinds of victims – especially those who want to invest for the long term. State and federal authorities look hard for Ponzi scams, but they’re hard to detect until someone complains. Recently, complaints have been mounting as economically pressed investors ask for their money back. But by then, the money is usually long gone.