AP: 2009 Was The Year Of The Collapsing Ponzi Scheme

Over 150 Ponzi schemes collapsed this year, up from just 40 last year, according to a new and, for TPMmuckraker readers, totally unsurprising tally by the AP.

The wire service reports:

Tens of thousands of investors, some of them losing their life’s savings, watched more than $16.5 billion disappear like smoke in 2009, according to an Associated Press analysis of scams in all 50 states.

The alleged multi-billion dollar fraud of Bernie Madoff, who was arrested late last year, did not count toward the total of $16.5 billion.

The spike in Ponzi collapses was caused by the tough economic situation, which robbed scamsters of new investors and the money necessary to prolong their schemes.

We’ve got your fix on the most colorful alleged schemers: New York financier and Dem mega-donor Hassan Nemazee; ‘Sir’ Allen Stanford; heavyweight Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein; and the godfather of them all, Bernie Madoff.