Conman invented sting 80 years ago.
It is named after Charles Ponzi, who made a fortune conning investors in the 1920s.
Those involved in the his pyramid scheme lost millions after being promised a fortune which never turned up.
Ponzi found he could make a huge profit cashing in on a quirk of the international postage system.
He would buy foreign postal coupons for the equivalent of one US cent and buy six one cent stamps with each one.
Anyone could buy $100 worth of stamps in Spain and cash them in for $600 worth of stamps in America or sell them to a third party.
Ponzi's agents would supposedly buy international coupons in countries with weak economies.
He told investors he could double their money in 90 days.
But the Boston Post had a front page story questioning the legitimacy of Ponzi's scheme, in which nearly 40,000 people entrusted $15million.
An investigation found that Ponzi only ever bought about $30 worth of mail coupons.
He was sentenced to five years in prison.
SPOILS: Cash was spent on cars
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Apr 14, 2003|
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