National Affairs: Take My Money!

As the dapper little man with the straw hat, the walking stick and the boutonniere emerged from Boston's State House, a cheer went up for "the greatest Italian of them all." Charles ("Get-Rich-Quick") Ponzi shrugged off the compliment. "No," he admitted, "Columbus and Marconi were greater. Columbus discovered America, Marconi discovered the wireless." Hysterical voice from the crowd: "But you discovered money!"

Boston in 1920 was money-mad, and Ponzi had created the madness. Six months before, the 5 ft. 2 "Wizard of Finance" had been a $16-a-week clerk; now he was a millionaire. Ponzi promised to make everybody rich by paying 50%...

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