Re Madoff Jailed 150 Years For 'Massive' Fraud (online, June 29): The Canadian media will, as usual, overlook the fact that Charles Ponzi, the man who gave his name to the Madoff fraud, learned his evil ways in Montreal. Ponzi was an Italian immigrant to the U.S., but he soon landed a job as a teller in Montreal, where his employer, Banco Zarossi, was ladling in heaps of money by promising, and sometimes paying, an extraordinary return of 6 per cent.
But the bank's owner was stealing most of the money and soon hightailed it for Mexico. Ponzi got caught forging a cheque and served some unpleasant time in a Quebec jail.
Despite that, he soon returned to the U.S. (where was Homeland Security when the Americans really needed it?), where he began the gigantic fraud that was to eventually bear his name (paying old investors with the money of new investors, but stealing most of it).
The crime for which Bernard Madoff is going to jail is not a Ponzi scheme, it's a Zarossi scheme. (I'm assuming that the city fathers would object to the more appropriate title of "the Montreal Pyramid.")