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Charles Ponzi

1882 - 1949

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Charles Ponzi (, Italian: [ˈpontsi]; born Carlo Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Tebaldo Ponzi; March 3, 1882 – January 15, 1949) was an Italian swindler and con artist who operated in the U.S. and Canada. His aliases included Charles Ponci, Carlo, and Charles P. Bianchi.Born and raised in Italy, he became known in the early 1920s as a swindler in North America for his money-making scheme. He promised clients a 50% profit within 45 days or 100% profit within 90 days, by buying discounted postal reply coupons in other countries and redeeming them at face value in the U.S. as a form of arbitrage.: 1  In reality, Ponzi was paying earlier investors using the investments of later investors. Read more on Wikipedia

Since 2007, the English Wikipedia page of Charles Ponzi has received more than 2,698,556 page views. His biography is available in 32 different languages on Wikipedia (up from 31 in 2019). Charles Ponzi is the 21st most popular extremist, the 558th most popular biography from Italy (up from 566th in 2019) and the 2nd most popular Italian Extremist.

Charles Ponzi was most famous for his 1920s scheme, which he called "the Ponzi scheme." In his scheme, Ponzi promised investors a 50% return on their investment in 45 days. He would use the money from new investors to pay the promised returns to earlier investors.

Memorability Metrics

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    Historical Popularity Index (HPI)

  • 32

    Languages Editions (L)

  • 7.39

    Effective Languages (L*)

  • 2.69

    Coefficient of Variation (CV)

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Among extremists, Charles Ponzi ranks 21 out of 209Before him are Abdullah Öcalan, Zodiac Killer, Ed Gein, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Albert Fish, and Ulrike Meinhof. After him are Ayman al-Zawahiri, John Wayne Gacy, Jim Jones, Carlos the Jackal, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, and Amon Göth.

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Among people born in 1882, Charles Ponzi ranks 27Before him are Abd el-Krim, Abdullah I of Jordan, Mohammad Mosaddegh, James Franck, Zoltán Kodály, and Rodolfo Graziani. After him are Getúlio Vargas, Emmerich Kálmán, Percy Williams Bridgman, Jacques Maritain, A. A. Milne, and Princess Margaret of Connaught. Among people deceased in 1949, Charles Ponzi ranks 9Before him are Sigrid Undset, George Gurdjieff, Georgi Dimitrov, Edward Thorndike, Margaret Mitchell, and Hassan al-Banna. After him are James Ensor, Louis II, Prince of Monaco, Friedrich Bergius, Elton Mayo, August Krogh, and Victor Fleming.

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In Italy

Among people born in Italy, Charles Ponzi ranks 558 out of 4,668Before him are Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909), Charles III of Naples (1345), Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily (1772), Giuseppe Peano (1858), Salvatore Adamo (1943), and Pope Leo VII (900). After him are Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583), Louis II of Italy (825), Antonello da Messina (1430), Benedetto Croce (1866), Giovanni Gabrieli (1557), and Julia the Elder (-39).


Among extremists born in Italy, Charles Ponzi ranks 2Before him are Man in the Iron Mask (1640). After him are Tommaso Buscetta (1928), Vincenzo Peruggia (1881), Patrizia Reggiani (1948), Johnny Torrio (1882), Carlo Gambino (1902), Frank Nitti (1886), Joseph Bonanno (1905), Albert Anastasia (1902), Russell Bufalino (1903), and Matteo Messina Denaro (1962).