The World’s Biggest Ponzi Schemes in Modern History and How Much They Stole

The World’s Biggest Ponzi Schemes in Modern History and How Much They Stole

  • In April, Nigerians lost a huge amount of money to a Ponzi scheme operated by Ovaioza, who lured them with huge returns
  • Throughout history, scammers have pulled off huge fraud on unsuspecting victims while making away with mouthwatering sums
  • Some scammers who operated Ponzi schemes lured their victims with huge returns with as much as 3000 per cent

Early in April this year, Nigerians woke up to the news that one of the fastest-rising businesswomen, popularly called Ovaioza, operated a bubble which she called Ovaioza Farm Produce Storage Business (OFPSB) and made away with over N4 billion in investors' money.

Ovaioza was said to have hoodwinked her victims with bogus and attractive returns on investment with her farm produce business.

Ovaioza, Ponzi Schemes
The world's biggest Ponzi Scheme operators
Source: UGC

She allegedly bought a house in the US worth over $400,000, exotic cars and did numerous giveaways on social media.

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Where Ovaioza and Chinmark got their ideas from

Before Ovaioza was Chinmark Investment Group which was said to have lured victims with mouthwatering real estate deals.

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While the likes of Chinmark Investment and Ovaioza Farm Produce are Ponzi schemes of recent times, history is, however replete with people who have pulled off huge investment scams on unsuspecting victims.

What these scammers do is look for loopholes and nudge people in order to pull off a scam and earn millions in a short time.

A Ponzi scheme is a form of fraud that is performed by a dummy organisation, built with the sole purpose of defrauding people by luring them into good schemes to get the money and vanish.

These are the biggest Ponzi schemes of all times

Madoff Investment

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Bernie Madoff was a popular American financier who executed the largest Ponzi scheme in history, defrauding thousands of investors of tens of millions of dollars for 17 years.

Madoff was the chairman of Nasdaq in the 90s. He died in prison, serving a 150-year jail term after defrauding victims of $64.8 billion.

What he did was to deposit funds from new clients with which he paid old ones who wanted to cash out.


Sergei Pateleevich Mavrodi was a fraudster who founded the infamous MMM scheme in the late 80s and later in 2017 in Nigeria and parts of Africa.

The MMM scheme was established by Mavrodi with his brother Vyacheslav Mavrodi and Olga Melnikova, who used the initials of their names for the business.

According to reports, they operated a network of businesses importing computers. In 1992, tax police accused the company of tax evasion, which led to the collapse of a part of the scheme, which was a bank, cutting off the company’s financial lifeline.

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It promised investors a 3000 return on investment by offering American stocks to Russian investors.

Stanford Financial Group

The international organisation known as Stanford Financial Group was privately owned.

It had 50 0ffices around the world and its head office in Houston, Texas. The company was seized by the US authorities in 2009. It managed $8.5 billion of assets for about 30,000 clients from 150 countries on six continents/

Caritas Ponzi scheme

The Romania-based Ponzi scheme known as Caritas was active for two years - 1992-1994, defrauded victims of about $450 million while leaving a huge debt.

It attracted millions of investors and depositors from around the country.

It lured victims into investing in what they called ‘mutual aid’, showcasing itself as a business aimed at helping people and offering eight times the capital they invested.

Like Chinmark, investors cry out as another business owned by Ovaioza fails to Pay

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Recall that reported that the CEO of Ovaioza Farm Produce Storage Business (OFPSB), is being called out on social media by myriads of people who say they invested millions into her buying and selling business but have been scammed by the businesswoman.

Social media is awash with the news of Ovaioza, the Chief Executive Officer of OFPSB of her, scamming investors and sending fake alerts to them.

Some who spoke with say she picks up a fight with them at the slightest provocation and dares them to do their worst.


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