Dinnertime at the Smith house: 
Judee: “Ponzi article? Like when Congress spends zillions and passes the bill to the next generation?”

Michael: “Um, close. Perhaps two infamous scammers’ lives can elucidate.”

On April 14, a resident of the Federal Correctional Institution in Butner died after serving just 11 years of his sentence. Since he was 71 when he entered, he would have been 221 had he served out his 150-year sentence. And since he had no assets, he was $170 billion short of the restitution he was ordered to pay.

His name, of course, was Bernie Madoff, undisputed king of scams.

But the undisputed eponym for Bernie’s pyramid-like financial scheme is “Ponzi.” If unacquainted with Mr. Ponzi, allow me to introduce the pint-sized scoundrel.

He was born Carlo (Italian Charles) Ponzi in Parma, Italy,…

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