The Mediadise Article of The Day for February 9, 2020 is: Adele Spitzeder.
Adele Spitzeder (9 February 1832 – 27 or 28 October 1895) was a German actress, folk singer, and confidence trickster. Initially a promising young actress, Spitzeder became a private banker in Munich when her theatrical success dwindled. Running what was possibly the first recorded Ponzi scheme, she offered large returns on investments by continually using the money of new investors to pay back the previous ones. At the height of her success, contemporary sources considered her the wealthiest woman in Bavaria, although she maintained the persona of a pious Christian woman who helped the poor. Brought to trial in 1872, she was convicted of bad accounting and mishandling customers’ money, since Ponzi schemes were not yet illegal, and sentenced to three years in prison. In her later years, Spitzeder performed as a folk singer, living off friends and benefactors, but never completely left her criminal life, resulting in further trials and periods of incarceration.