Great frauds in history

Great frauds in history: Jeff Carpoff’s green Ponzi scheme
Jeff Carpoff
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Great frauds in history: Jeff Carpoff’s green Ponzi scheme

Jeff Carpoff's plan to make money from renting out solar-powered generators quickly turned into a Ponzi scheme.
4 Mar 2021
Great frauds in history: Helmut Kiener, Germany’s mini-Madoff
Helmut Kiener © Hannelore Foerster/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Great frauds in history: Helmut Kiener, Germany’s mini-Madoff

The performance of Helmut Kiener’s fund of funds, which invested money from institutions and private investors into hedge funds, seemed too good to be…
25 Feb 2021
Great frauds in history: Manfred Schmider, the Sheikh of Karlsruhe
Manfred Schmider
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Great frauds in history: Manfred Schmider, the Sheikh of Karlsruhe

Manfred Schmider massaged the sales figures at FlowTex, his utility technology company, and used investors’ money to buy villas around the world, a fl…
10 Feb 2021
Great frauds in history: how Elizabeth Bigley, AKA “Madame DeVere”, spirited away cash
Elizabeth Bigley
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Great frauds in history: how Elizabeth Bigley, AKA “Madame DeVere”, spirited away cash

Serial fraudster Elizabeth Bigley AKA, the “psychic” Madame Lydia DeVere, conned people into believing she was the long lost daughter of fabulously we…
28 Jan 2021
Christopher Columbus Wilson: the spiv who cashed in on new-fangled radios
Investment strategy

Christopher Columbus Wilson: the spiv who cashed in on new-fangled radios

Christopher Columbus Wilson gave radios away to drum up business in his United Wireless Telegraph Company. The company went bankrupt and Wilson was co…
21 Jan 2021
Great Frauds in History: Robert Schuyler’s illicit share issue
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Great Frauds in History: Robert Schuyler’s illicit share issue

Robert Schuyler was known as “America’s first railroad king” issued millions of dollars' worth of fraudulent shares in his company, and kept the money…
17 Dec 2020
Great Frauds in History: Michael Meehan’s market manipulation
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Great Frauds in History: Michael Meehan’s market manipulation

Stockbroker Michael Meehan manipulated the markets, driving stock prices up and making a mint.
8 Dec 2020
Cover of MoneyWeek magazine issue no 1022, Friday 23 October 2020

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Great frauds in history: Meyer Blinder's Blind ’em & Rob ’em
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Great frauds in history: Meyer Blinder's Blind ’em & Rob ’em

Meyer Blinder’s brokerage firm cold-called unsuspecting punters and pumped shares in fraudulent shell companies while stiffing them with huge commiss…
1 Dec 2020
Great frauds in history: John MacGregor’s dodgy loans
Investment strategy

Great frauds in history: John MacGregor’s dodgy loans

When the Royal British Bank fell on hard times, founder John MacGregor started falsifying the accounts and paying dividends out of capital. The bank f…
22 Nov 2020
Great frauds in history… William Strahan’s stolen bonds
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Great frauds in history… William Strahan’s stolen bonds

Eton-educated William Snow, AKA William Strahan, inherited a huge fortune and joined the family bank. On the face of it he was a pillar of respectable…
18 Nov 2020
Great frauds in history: Carlton Cushnie’s befuddling Ponzi scheme
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Great frauds in history: Carlton Cushnie’s befuddling Ponzi scheme

Carlton Cushnie set up a finance company which was valued at an estimated £230m, but made only one trade finance loan in its existence, which actually…
28 Oct 2020
Great frauds in history: the Independent West Middlesex Fire and Life Assurance Company's early Ponzi scheme
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Great frauds in history: the Independent West Middlesex Fire and Life Assurance Company's early Ponzi scheme

The Independent West Middlesex Fire and Life Assurance Company (IWM) offered annuities and life insurance policies at rates that proved too good to be…
21 Oct 2020
Great frauds in history... John Factor’s penny-stock scams
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Great frauds in history... John Factor’s penny-stock scams

John Factor sold worthless penny stocks through a boiler room operation, ramping the price via his financial newsletters. But he was never held to ac…
14 Oct 2020
Great frauds in history: Farrow’s Bank
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Great frauds in history: Farrow’s Bank

Thomas Farrow set up his eponymous bank in 1901, offering high interest rates to small savers. After falsifying the accounts and collapsing the bank, …
7 Oct 2020
Great frauds in history: Alan Bond’s debt-fuelled empire
Investment strategy

Great frauds in history: Alan Bond’s debt-fuelled empire

Alan Bond built an empire that encompassed brewing, mining, television on unsustainable amounts of debt, which led to his downfall and imprisonment.
1 Oct 2020
Great frauds in history: the Pigeon King’s Ponzi scheme
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Great frauds in history: the Pigeon King’s Ponzi scheme

Pigeon-fancier Arlan Galbraith claimed to have created a new breed of elite racing pigeon, but his Ponzi scheme defrauded investors of over £200m.
23 Sep 2020
Great frauds in history: Martin Grass’s debt binge
Investment strategy

Great frauds in history: Martin Grass’s debt binge

AS CEO of pharmacy chain Rite Aid. Martin Grass borrowed heavily to fund a string of acquisitions, then cooked the books to manage the debt, inflating…
16 Sep 2020
Great frauds in history: how Joyti De-Laurey became “the Picasso of con artists”
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Great frauds in history: how Joyti De-Laurey became “the Picasso of con artists”

Joyti De-Laurey forged the signatures of her bosses at Goldman Sachs and started writing cheques to herself. Over many years, she netted £4.3m.
10 Sep 2020
Great frauds in history: crypto-queen Ruja Ignatova and her “bitcoin killer”
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Great frauds in history: crypto-queen Ruja Ignatova and her “bitcoin killer”

Ruja Ignatova convinced punters to put up to $12bn into her worthless "OneCoin" cryptocurrency – then disappeared with the loot.
27 Aug 2020
Great frauds in history: the Fauntleroy embezzlement
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Great frauds in history: the Fauntleroy embezzlement

Henry Fauntleroy's embezzlement Berners Street Bank cost his clients their fortunes and Fauntleroy his life.
18 Aug 2020
Great frauds in history: Alexander Fordyce and shorting the East India Company
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Great frauds in history: Alexander Fordyce and shorting the East India Company

Alexander Fordyce's disastrous shorting of the East India Company led to him bankrupting the private bank in which he was a partner.
12 Aug 2020
Great frauds in history: Billy McFarland – the man behind the Fyre Festival
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Great frauds in history: Billy McFarland – the man behind the Fyre Festival

Around 5,000 people paid Billy McFarland up to $100,000 each to attend the lavish Fyre Festival on a Caribbean island. They arrived to find accommodat…
5 Aug 2020