List of the greatest Ponzi schemes in modern history

There are only two ways to be successful and have a ridiculous amount of money. The first way is to get the job done, put in the hours, work super hard. The second way or the other is to quickly pull out a scam, expose loopholes, beat people up and make millions in a short period of time.

Well, which way is ethical and which way is unethical, that would be another topic for another day. Here we are to discuss some of the most unethical ways people have rioted in history. The largest Ponzi schemes in the world.

A Ponzi scheme is a form of fraud carried out by a bogus organization whose sole purpose is to scam people by tricking them into good schemes to get the money and go away. We’re going to go with a list of the best Ponzi schemes, and numbers mean a lot here –

Madoff investment scandal
Stanford Financial Group
Caritas (Ponzi scheme)

Madoff investment scandal

Bernie Madoff
Bernie Madoff

There was a person named Bernie Madoff who was a popular American financier who supposedly executed what was supposed to be the largest Ponzi scheme in historythat has defrauded tens of billions of dollars in thousands of investors over the course of 17 years and perhaps more.

In the early 1990s he was also chairman of the Nasdaq. He died in prison on April 14, 2021 while serving a 150-year sentence for money laundering, securities fraud and several other crimes. Yes, you read that right, 150 years imprisonment and he died in prison.

Bernie promised incredible and steady returns through an investment strategy known as. is known Split strike conversionwhich, funnily enough, is a real trading strategy.

He simply deposited funds (from customers) into a bank account that he used to pay existing investors who wanted cashback. He funded recoveries by attracting new investors with good capital, but failed to hold that trade balance when the market was turned upside down in 2008.

He admitted to his sons who worked at his company, but he later claimed that in December 2008 they were unaware of the plan. They reported him to the authorities the very next day. The fund’s latest statements showed it had client assets of a whopping $ 64.8 billion

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Sergei Mavrodi
Sergei Mavrodi

Sergei Panteleevich Mavrodi with such a name was a Russian financial fraudster, super criminal, and previously a State Duma deputy. He was the founder of МММ, a system or basically a company that cheated on millions of people around the world. He was the MP of a state and that made him a trustworthy person and the trust was abused.

MMM was founded in 1989 by Sergei Mavrodi, his brother Vyacheslav Mavrodi and Olga Melnikova. The company’s name simply consists of the initials of the founders’ last names.

In the beginning, Sergei ran a network of companies that imported computers. In 1992, the tax police charged MMM with tax evasion, which led to the collapse of a subsidiary that was a bank and the company choked on financial support.

Faced with difficulties in financing its foreign trade, the company jumped into finance. It offered American stocks to Russian investors, but the new business was unsuccessful.

The MMM Ponzi program was launched in February 1994 and promises some above average annual returns of up to 3000%. The company launched an aggressive TV advertising campaign and spent big bucks to reach most of the investors.

The advertising campaign appealed to the general public by using “common” characters that viewers could identify with. The most popular of them was a “folk hero” from the beginning of 1994, Lyonya Golubkov.

Another notable marketing measure was the raffle for free subway rides to all citizens on a given day. This is how the system became popular and landed on investors’ plates. This became the recipe for a successful scam and beat up the public.

Stanford Financial Group

Allen Stanford
Allen Stanford

The Stanford Financial Group was an international organization that provided financial services. They were privately owned and the company was headed by Allen Stanford. The company is headquartered in Uptown Houston, Texas and had 50 offices around the world. It was seized by US authorities in 2009. It is said to have managed assets of a whopping $ 8.5 billion for clients of more than 30,000 and in approximately 136 countries on six continents.

On February 17, 2009, U.S. federal officials entered the Houston offices and lawyers placed signs on the office doors saying the company was temporarily closed but the company was operational but under the direction of a bankruptcy administrator.

The federal authorities brought fraud charges against this administration and ten days later the US Securities and Exchange Commission amended its complaint to accuse Stanford of turning the company into a “huge Ponzi scheme“.

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Caritas (Ponzi scheme)

    Ioan Stoica
Ioan Stoica

Caritas means ‘Charity’ in Latin, which is quite ironic for such a Ponzi scheme, which originated in Romania and was active from 1992 to 1994, that is for about two years. The company was founded by Ioan Stoica.

It attracted millions of investors and depositors from across the country who put millions of dollars into this system in hopes of staggering returns before it hit the 14th (currently $ 786 million).

It covered itself with a “mutual aid” blanket. It presented itself as a company that wanted to help the Romanians in the transition phase (capitalism) and lured investors with the promise of a good eight times as much capital as they had originally invested in six months.

Caritas made this project a success with the help of relations with the Romanian Party of National Unity (PUNR) and the Mayor of Napoca. Gheorghe Funar, who helped build this program and even gain trust by renting them a room in the Cluj hall, performing in public with Stoica and appearing on television, they managed to gain the public’s trust.

Funar even went ahead, paying space in the local paper to publish a list of the chosen ones who would multiply their money eightfold; the list was 44 pages a day, less than a month before the Ponzi company collapsed. It went bankrupt.

Its bankruptcy made the Romanian government active and it sought and closed such systems. The government even received warnings about the plan from several media outlets, including the Romanian Intelligence Service, which drafted a report in early 1993 (which had leaked), and the National Bank’s chief economist Daniel Dăianu, who directly labeled it a fraud …

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The above article covered some of the greatest Ponzi schemes in the world. There is certainly much more to it than this, some on a small scale and some on an even larger scale. These are people who used loopholes to their advantage and even discovered them when they needed them. All of this takes courage and the will to know the game well in order to steer the wheel in a Ponzi direction.

All of this shows that a human character exhausts the worst of creativity and abbreviations to earn quick by cheating on the trust of millions. This is how ugly trading can happen when carried out by scammers.

This also shows the importance of knowing about what is going on around us and how to get rid of ignorance about most people’s habitat. Get to know these thought leaders, learn how laws can be bent and how you can protect yourself. In a world of democratized information, ignorance should fall by the wayside.


How do you recognize a Ponzi scheme?

If the scheme offers “guaranteed” high returns, consistently high returns, and has unlicensed sellers, it could be a Ponzi scheme.

What Are Some of the Greatest Ponzi Schemes?

Madoff Investment Scandal, Stanford Financial Group, and MMM are some of the largest Ponzi programs.

What is a Ponzi Scheme?

A Ponzi scheme is a form of cheating carried out by a dummy organization whose sole purpose is to cheat people.

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