What’s Up With That Wednesday: Ponzi Schemes


Charles Ponzi (March 3, 1882–January 18, 1949)...
Image via Wikipedia

Every Wednesday I’ll write about an issue or event that makes me think “What’s Up With That?” Today I write about Victoria Scardigno, a former airline agent who schemed over $1 million from unsuspecting travelers.

Ponzi schemes are nothing new. They started almost exactly 100 years ago when Charles Ponzi started taking people’s money under the guise of a worthwhile investment, offering exorbitant returns, and rarely making good on his promises. It earned him a place in history. These days Ponzi schemes are rampant, the most notable recent occurrence being Bernie Madoff who ‘made-off’ with a lot of unsuspecting people’s money. I shouldn’t make light of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme since a many people invested their entire life’s savings and retirement funds in hopes of building brighter futures for their families but bear with me.

While I was reading CNN.com a story came up about an airline agent, Victoria Scardigno, who scammed hundreds of people earning herself about $1 million. Her scam was simple, sell fake travel vouchers for $500-600 a pop and then hope that people never try to use them. If they tried (albeit rare,) she would buy tickets out of her own pocket to allay suspicion. Needless to say, the authorities have caught her, and now she has to pay every person involved in the scheme in addition to facing up to 20 years in prison.

Victoria Scardigno, what’s up with you taking people’s hard-earned money and keeping it for yourself? Why would you think it’s ok to just sell fake goods when you could have probably gotten any other job and thrived on it. You spent $15000 on Louis Vuitton items and almost another $1000 on Coach. Was it really worth it? How come you didn’t realize that this scheme was ridiculous when you had to spend over half the amount of money you were making on it to keep it up? What’s up with that? Did you have dreams of making as much money as Madoff or Ponzi? Now instead of being rich and having it all the only thing you’re going to have is a shared cell for the next 20 years. It’s a shame.

This isn’t the only thing that has made me think “What’s Up With That”. Here are some others

AmeriCorps, PBS, NPR, and other essential organizations funding being threatened (thanks Megan Baker)

Proposal by the House of Representatives to redefine rape to include only those incidents which include violence (thanks Kevin Hartman, Ashley Thompson, and Krista Corwin)

South Dakota’s proposed anti-abortion law, complete with ‘justifiable homicide’ provisions for killing abortion providers (thanks Bri Jeffrey)

Do you have something that makes you think “What’s Up With That?” I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s That’s What’s Up Thursday.

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