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Monday
Dec232013

2013 Ponzi Schemes In Review: Nearly $3 Billion of Ponzi Schemes, Over 1,000 Years Of Prison Time

While now a household word thanks in part to infamous schemers such as Bernard Madoff and Allen Stanford, many do not realize how pervasive Ponzi schemes have become. Indeed, while the larger schemes such as Madoff, Stanford, and Petters make headlines for defrauding thousands of victims out of billions of dollars, the majority of Ponzi schemes are much smaller in size and do not achieve such widespread coverage despite causing the same damage to their victims. With this in mind, Ponzitracker presents a comprehensive database containing both new Ponzi schemes uncovered in 2013 and the sentences handed down to Ponzi fraudsters in 2013. The simple truth is that there is no resource compiling these statistics in an easily accessible format, and this resource aims to fill that gap.

While the figures below include a more thorough summary, the numbers behind Ponzi schemes in 2013 are truly staggering. At least 67 Ponzi schemes were exposed in 2013, with the average Ponzi scheme coming in at approximately $44 million. In terms of sentencing, over 1,000 total years of sentences were handed down to at least 117 individuals involved in Ponzi schemes, and the total dollar amount of the underlying Ponzi schemes exceeded $13 billion. Males were the predominant perpetrators, constituting approximately 90% of the individuals being sentenced.

As a disclaimer, this database is meant for educational purposes only, and was compiled through articles published on Ponzitracker as well as through reporting available on the internet through various sources. Kathy Phelps' monthly Ponzi roundups at ThePonziSchemeBlog.com were also a great resource. The database generally only included Ponzi schemes of $1 million or more. Please feel free to direct any comments or inquiries to inquiries@ponzitracker.com.

2013 Ponzi Schemes

2013 was a busy year in the Ponzi Scheme world. In total, at least 67 Ponzi schemes were uncovered, with the total cumulative dollar amount of nearly $3,000,000,000 - that's 3 billion dollars. This equated to the discovery of a Ponzi scheme (1) more than once per week, (2) every 5.4 days, or (3) every 130 hours. This included at least eight Ponzi schemes with estimated losses or at least $100,000,000 or more, with Edward Fujinaga's estimated $800,000,000 Ponzi scheme ranking as the largest Ponzi scheme exposed in 2013.

A full database containing Ponzi schemes uncovered in 2013, arranged by date, is below:


In terms of sentences handed down, at least 117 offenders received prison sentences that totaled more than 1,000 years. These sentences ranged from mere months to decades in prison, with Karen Bowie's 42-year sentence ranking as the highest Ponzi sentence handed down in 2013. The total dollar amount of the Ponzi schemes for which sentences were levied: over $13 billion.

A full database of the sentences handed down in 2013 is below:


Ponzi schemers receiving prison sentences in 2013 hailed from more than half of the fifty states, with California, Texas, Florida, and New York unsurprisingly harboring over 40% of the offenders. A chart displaying the amount of sentenced offenders per state is below:


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