...Securities Exchange Company, no shit! Let's not confuse it with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is a completely legitime and useful organization. Another interesting tidbit of his life: "However it was another prisoner who became a true role model to Ponzi; Charles W. Morse convinced doctors Ponzi was dying by having him eat soap shavings, resulting in an early release." Now this Morse fellow was another interesting character, a speculator "The Ice King". He pulled the same trick later for himself: " In 1912 Morse became ill, and a panel of Army doctors declared that he suffered from Bright's disease and other maladies and would soon die if he remained in prison. Taft signed his pardon, and Morse departed for medical treatment at Wiesbaden. However, it soon became known to the Justice Department that he had feigned illness by drinking a combination of soapsuds and chemicals. Taft later said that the case "shakes one's faith in expert examination."" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_W._Morse He also played by the rules of the time: "Morse helped create a pool of money to drive up and corner the stock of United Copper. On October 15, 1907 this corner failed so spectacularly that depositors with Morse's banks began to pull out their deposits. On October 20, the New York Clearing House, which had a critical role clearing checks between banks, forced Morse to resign from his banking interests. This did not stop the panic, however, which went on to topple the Knickerbocker Trust Company, New York's third largest trust, and led to financial turmoil across the country through November. The Morse-controlled steamship lines went into receivership, for varying periods, in February 1908."