How to run your own Ponzi scheme

Tom Barlow

Want to make $50 billion? Take a lesson from Bernard Madoff, and you too could be perp-walking into the Attorney General's office. Just follow these simple steps --

1. Establish a great reputation for acumen. Sporting a legendary family name, and serving as the head of NASDAQ are examples of how to burnish your esteem.

2. Immerse yourself in a social circle of rich people that share your background. Be convivial and cultivate strong friendships. In your heart, though, remain committed to ripping them off for all they have.

3. Start small. Offer to invest a few grand from a few friends, with the promise of better than expected returns. Call this the first layer.

4. Invest some of the money and pocket the rest. To make up any difference between actual returns and those that you promised, offer to invest a few grand from more friends, (the second layer), and use this money to supplement the payoff to the first round of investors -- and provide more pocket change for yourself.