That Charles Ponzi sure was a sucker. He should have done Credit Default Swaps.
Wanna play? You come up with something you want to insure against, I agree to assume the risk for a premium. If things go well I get money for almost nothing. But if your fears come true and you try to collect from me, I fold up shop and leave you hanging.
The cool thing is, I don't have to do much research. In the worst case scenario, all I need is enough time to get your money out of the country before your catastrophe happens and you try to collect.
Stuart Buck links to this which has a lot more details.