Were you taken in by a Ponzi scheme this year? Don't be ashamed. You're not alone. After all, 2009 was the year of the Ponzi scheme.
According to an analysis by the Associated Press, tens of thousands of investors lost more than $16.5 billion in 2009 in all 50 states due to Ponzi schemes. More than 150 Ponzi schemes were taken down in 2009, accounting for 21 percent of the SEC's workload. Those numbers are up from 40 Ponzi schemes in 2008 that took up 17 percent of the SEC's workload. But 2008 does win on one count: 2009's biggest Ponzi schemer, Allen Stanford, is a mere pick pocket compared to 2008's Ponzi kingpin, Mr. Bernie Madoff.