Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An investment swindle in which high profits are promised from fictitious sources and early investors are paid off with funds raised from later ones.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A Ponzi scam.

Etymologies

After Charles Ponzi (1882?-1949), Italian-born speculator who organized such a scheme (1919-1920).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Charles Ponzi, who famously conducted a pyramid scheme in North America in the early twentieth century. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Mr. Perry is coming under attack for suggesting that not only is Social Security a Ponzi scheme but it is unconstitutional.

    Let's Have a Televised Debate on the Constitution

  • A Ponzi scheme is a fraud that entails paying purported returns to existing investors from new investors' funds.

    Hong Kong Raps Citi

  • A Ponzi scheme is basically using money from new investors to pay the dividends on money from previous investors and also withdrawals.

    Latest news summary

  • VOGEL: Look, I don't know whether the decision for Governor Perry to come out there with the Ponzi scheme line was tactical or whether it was a real-time moment where he threw it out there and now has to walk it back.

    NPR Topics: News

  • That's because if Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, as Perry suggests, he has to support changing it to a different structure - otherwise Social Security would be illegal.

    KansasCity.com: Front Page

  • Perry isn't backing down and sticks by the Ponzi scheme line - which forces Romney to take a more conventional line saying that social security is needed for America's vulnerable.

    The Guardian World News

  • Rick Perry's recent poor debate performance and his comment that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme is causing him some trouble in the crucial swing state of Florida, according to a poll released Thursday by

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • Bernard Madoff's investment-advisory firm was a Ponzi scheme.

    WSJ.com: What's News US

  • A Ponzi scheme is one in which early investors are paid with the money of new clients.

    latimes.com - News

  • A Ponzi scheme pays earlier investors with money deposited by later investors, and eventually runs out of money when it runs out of investors.

    TIME.com: Top Stories

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