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A fraud disguised as an investment opportunity, in which initial investors and the perpetrators of the fraud are paid out of funds raised from later investors, and the later investors lose all funds invested.
[After Charles Ponzi (1882?-1949), Italian-born speculator who organized such a scheme (1919-1920).]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
a fraudulent investment operation that pays quick returns to initial contributors using money from subsequent contributors rather than profit
[After Charles Ponzi, who famously perpetrated such a scheme in the United States of America in the early 20th century]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014