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Who Was Charles Ponzi? The Man Behind the Original Scheme. Without Charles Ponzi, we'd have no Bernie Madoff. Learn about his money-swindling ways on this week's episode of 'Dirty Money.'

By Dan Bova

Bettmann | Getty Images

We've all heard of Ponzi schemes, but did you know that there was an actual guy named Ponzi who they are named after?

On this week's episode of Dirty Money, we tell the amazing story of the original swindler Charles Ponzi, a dapper, five-foot-two Italian immigrant who in 1920 raked in an estimated $15 million (now $225 million) in less than a year. Ponzi lured over 20,000 Bostonians to invest in his securities with promises of 50 percent profits in 45 days. Back in the day, he was a hero of people—until a newspaper brought him and his now infamous scheme crashing down.

Listen to this episode of Dirty Money to hear host Jon Small break down all of the grimy details and the legacy Ponzi left behind. And find out if fellow short Italian Dan Bova has any defense for Ponzi's dastardly ways.

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About Dirty Money

Dirty Money is a new podcast series from Entrepreneur Media telling the tales of legendary scammers, con artists, and barely-legal lowlifes who stop at nothing to bilk their marks of millions. Hosted by Entrepreneur editors Dan Bova and Jon Small, the podcast takes a deep dive into the deviants behind the deeds

Dan Bova

Entrepreneur Staff

VP of Special Projects

Dan Bova is the VP of Special Projects at Entrepreneur.com. He previously worked at Jimmy Kimmel Live, Maxim and Spy magazine. Check out his latest humor books for kids, including Wendell the Werewolf, Road & Track Crew's Big & Fast Cars, and The Big Little Book of Awesome Stuff.

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