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How to Protect Yourself from the Bernard Madoffs of the World: Ponzi Schemes Revealed p1/2 | PowerOptions Web Log
In January 1920, an Italian immigrant discovered an arbitrage potential in international reply coupons – IRC. By purchasing IRCs for stamps in Spain, and then exchanging them for postage in the USA, he could net a profit. Forming a corporation called “Securities Exchange Company”, he decided to raise capital by selling investment coupons with a guaranteed 50% rate of return in only 45 days. Investors lined up. A required $1,000 dollar investment returned $1,500 for a gross of $500. Investors were so pleased from the results that they re-invested their earnings. Over the better part of 1920, approximately 15,000 people invested, and reinvested. Investors used their life savings; homes were mortgaged and assets were liquidated. People continued to reinvest their profits. Money was being made hand over fist. After only 5 months, the Securities Exchange Company had made several million dollars. Yet the future did not bode well for the...