Tuesday, July 6, 2010

PONZI SCHEMES: AN OVERVIEW - Part 2

THE ELEMENTS

There are five key elements to a Ponzi scheme: 1) benefits, 2) the understanding, 3) initial trustworthiness, 4) investors receive initial return and 5) communication of success. At the beginning, a promise will be made to the investors that their participation will receive a greater rate of return. The scammer will often indicate the rate of return, which will be a significant enough amount to make it worth an investment. It can’t be too high though or the investor will get suspicious.

The set up for the scam will need to possess a plausible explanation to investors as to how their investing will achieve the promised greater rate. A typical Ponzi schemer will utilize an explanation that claims they have a special skill or additional inside information that will be to the investors’ benefit. Another possible explanation offered by a Ponzi perpetrator is that they possess a business opportunity that is not available to the public. That way, the investor feels they are getting preferential treatment.

The fraudster must be believable to the investor in order to establish a connection with them that encourages participation in their scam. The investment must also payoff to the investors at the promised rate of return, if not better.

Finally, the scammer will inform the investors of their potential payoffs. They will try and convince them of the budding opportunity for exponential growth. In order to convince the investors, at the very least, they will need to hear that more money will be coming in than is being paid back to them.

HOW IT WORKS

Once the arm has been twisted and an investment made, the Ponzi schemer sets to work on creating the fa├žade. When the specified return time period is reached, they will receive their funds plus the expressed interest rate or return. Next, the scammer will point out to the investors various historical successes of the scheme so they will convince them to place further money into the system. It is common that the initial investors will return to the scam since they have already received such great benefits.

With all their ducks in a row, the fraudster continues to promote his scheme a number of times. They will; however, break the pattern during the second step of the cycle. Rather than repaying the investment money and their promised rate of return, the Ponzi schemer will run off with the money and begin a brand new life.

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