Where did the word ‘ponzi’ come from? Today the word means lies, schemes, fraud, deceit, corruption and financial loss for its victims.
In the early 1900’s, a fine-looking young business man, Charles Ponzi, with a love for money came up with a business scheme, sold the idea to investors who, in turn, gave their money to finance the scheme. Their money flowed in. But the business idea failed. When the investors wanted to retrieve their money Mr. Ponzi assured them it was working and they would get their returns on their investments. In order to do this, he found new investors and used a portion of the new money to pay the returns promised to the earlier investors. It is called ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul.’
Ponzi and his wife Rose became rich on the money of their unsuspecting investors – even though the original business idea was a total failure. Eventually it all caught up with Ponzi. As more and more people demanded their money back plus interest, Ponzi could not keep up with it and the big fraud came crashing down. Ponzi was sentenced to prison.
Since then there have been many similar ponzi schemes. The biggest one yet to make the headlines is Bernie Madoff’s. He seemed to be a respectable and trustworthy executive. Mr. Madoff founded the Wall Street firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC in 1960. He was the chairman of NASDAQ stock exchange. He lived the high life with multiple mansions around the world, luxury cars, boats and a $30 million jet. He gave millions of dollars to worthy causes.
On November 30, 2008 Mr. Madoff told his 4,800 investors around the world that their accounts held $64.8 billion. Wonderful! But on December 10, 2008 Madoff met with his two sons, Mark and Andrew and told him there was nothing to it – “absolutely nothing.” The investment business he had run for decades was “all just one big lie.” His boys notified the FBI and their dad was later arrested for using billions of dollars from new investors to pay off old investors.
March 12, 2009 Mr. Madoff pleaded guilty to eleven crimes and he faces up to 150 years in prison. Awaiting sentencing, Mr. Madoff celebrated his 71st birthday not in one of his mansions, or his yacht or in the air on his jet – but in his lonely prison cell.
His victims included world class banks, universities, charities, celebrities, artists, actors and successful business people. Some lost billions while others just lost millions. Some lost their entire life’s savings. Expecting to retire richly, they will now grow old in poverty.
The bitterness of those who fell for his ponzi scam is palpable. One investor said: “Repulsive is mild. Loathsome. This is not humanity. This is not a human being. It’s a sociopath.” Those who had been taken in the scam shed tears of disbelief and anger. Some gathered outside the courtroom to hurl profanities at him when he came out.
Is it possible you are being sucked into a scam far bigger than Bernie Madoff’s? The biggest scam of all is Satan’s scam. He wants you to trust him. Invest 100% in this life. Do not worry about the next. Everything will be okay. The future will look after itself. Focus on the here and now. The returns and paybacks of investing in this life will be huge. Success. Pleasure and fun. Fame and recognition. Immediate gratification. Lasting satisfaction. And everything will be okay.
Satan wants you to believe that many other successful investors have followed his advice. Credible people, professors, scientists, movie stars, singers, executives, athletes etc. have invested in his strategies and look at them today! But what isn’t immediately obvious is their end – their eternity.
The reality is – “it’s all one big lie.”
It’s only a bubble. It will burst far sooner than you expect. It’s only a paper-thin façade; it will quickly be torn away in the big hurricanes of life.
There is nothing worse than finding out you have swallowed a lie. It is even worse when you realize the deception has caused you to lose everything. It’s a bitter experience to discover you’ve ‘been taken’.
Can you imagine the bitter remorse 100 years from now if you have lost your soul and you are lost in the place of conscious eternal punishment called Hell and the Lake of Fire? (Luke 16:19-31; Revelation 20:11-15)
“What shall it profit a man if shall gain the whole world
and lose his own soul.”
The ‘good life’ is to be found in Jesus Christ. You may continue to buy into Satan’s scam at your own peril. Our urgent advice to you is to immediately change your investment strategy.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
“I give them eternal life and they will never perish.”
Christ died for your sins on the cross because He loved you. He took the penalty for your sins. By His death He has made your complete forgiveness possible. God now offers you eternal life through Jesus Christ as a gift. God offers you a home in heaven.
Don’t fall for the biggest scam of all times. Trust Christ as your Saviour today.
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