There is nothing new under the Sun.... http://counterpunch.org/hudson12232008.html " On May 9, 2006, Spanish police raided 21 homes and offices of Afinsa Fienes Tangibles SA, the worldâs largest postage-stamp dealer, and rival firm, Forum FilatÃ©lico. They charged eleven men with running a $6.4 billion pyramid scheme that (and Afinsa)took in some 343,000 investors â 1 per cent of Spainâs entire population, making the fraud one of the largest in Spanish history." "Escala moved its operations to New York City and listed its stock on the Nasdaq over-the-counter market. Despite the stock marketâs lethargic trend, the companyâs earnings showed such rapid growth that in just three years its share price soared from under $5 to $35, tripling in 2005 alone." "The denouncement came shortly after Lloydâs of London withdrew from a â¬1.2 billion policy to insure Afinsaâs stamps. One of its experts noticed that if $6 billion really had been invested, it would have bought up all the investment-grade stamps in the world many times over. The fact that stamp prices did not reflect any such extraordinary buying implied that few bona fide stamp transactions occurred at all, and there had been a massive over-billing." " The police found â¬10 million in â¬500 banknotes (worth about $650 each at the exchange rate of $1.30 per euro) by breaking open a newly plastered wall at the Madrid home of Afinsaâs main stamp supplier, Francisco Guijarro. What they could not find were any receipts for the stamps that he allegedly bought. And despite the remarkably high markups charged for curating the stamp collection, it was rife with phonies, as Lloydâs had suspected."