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The Man Behind the Ponzi Scheme48:23
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photoBefore Charles Ponzi left Italy for America in 1903, his father assured him that the streets were really paved with gold — and that Ponzi would be able to get a piece. Though Ponzi discovered the truth to be otherwise, he still wanted to make a fortune.

Ponzi, however, didn't have the patience or discipline to work his way up into middle class. Besides, middle class wasn't where he wanted to go anyway.

What the small-time Italian immigrant did have was pluck and charm, which he used to hatch a get-rich-quick scheme that could not possibly succeed. Known as "robbing Peter to pay Paul," Charles Ponzi launched it openly in Boston in 1920.

Hear a conversation with author Mitchell Zuckoff about hucksters, dreamers, and the man behind the Ponzi scheme.

Guests:

Mitchell Zuckoff, professor of journalism at Boston University and former reporter for the Boston Globe. His new book is "Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend.";
Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst and senior editor at the Atlantic Monthly magazine.

This program aired on April 12, 2005.

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