Charles Ponzi's Money Clip
Money clip deco


Charles Ponzi


Money Clip


Manipulates client finances at will


Causes poverty and despair for whoever possesses it



Collected by

Warehouse 13







Date of Collection

November 12, 1977



Ponzi schemes – the scam everybody and their mother knows about, but only in name. The originator, one Italian émigré searching for the big score on the other side of the Atlantic. After several failed stints as a modest swindler and everyman worker, Ponzi found a system to exploit. In short, consumers could send mail internationally with special stamps that paid for return postage. If bought cheaply enough in one country, there was profit available when sold for more in another.

The Ponzi promise was 50% return in 45 days, or 100% return on investment in 90 days. Clients were merely paid with the investments of newer clients, faking his image of success. At his height, he received millions per week in the summer of 1920 from thousands of hopeful immigrants and bankers. Attempting to actually pay off the accumulated debts would require millions more stamps than there were in the world.

His sudden rise to fortune also attracted immense scrutiny from legal offices and Boston government (both heavily invested with the firm). News broke from the secretary: Ponzi was a cheat without any capital. After surrendering, Ponzi faced 86 federal counts of mail fraud, 22 of state larceny and lifetime behind bars. A decade of incarceration, escapes and failed schemes later, Ponzi was deported. He lived his final years in poverty.

The entire rise and downfall spanned roughly one year.


Lets the user alter client finances at will. They control interest rates and accounting data by rewriting any documentation, making it officially reflect on other institutions. Users cannot control this power for themselves, as all they receive as a severance gift is losing all their property, assets and living poorly for as long as they own the clip.

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